August 6, 2019 -- Stephanie Palmer of Grass Lake has received the 2019 Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Director's Award - the department's highest employee honor for outstanding service. MDOT established the annual award more than 30 years ago to recognize those who exhibit leadership and exemplary public service.
"Stephanie is a prime example of MDOT employees focusing on the customer and constantly striving to improve the transportation system. With great skill and professionalism, she serves the department with distinction," said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. "Director's Award recipients like Stephanie stand out because they are nominated by fellow MDOT staff for this special recognition."
Palmer, honored in the professional, supervisor category, served as the project manager for the information technology portion of MDOT's innovative US-23 Flex Route project north of Ann Arbor, the first to be used in Michigan. The Flex Route uses a lane control system comprised of overhead signs, cameras, and electronic message boards mounted on large gantries. The system manages freeway traffic more efficiently during peak hours by opening and closing the median shoulders to traffic. Palmer was responsible for the development of the Active Traffic Management (ATM) software used for the Flex Route. Leveraging her national contacts, she was able to ensure software experts were involved throughout the entire conversion process. Palmer also ensured operations staff knew how to use the software and worked with management to identify staffing, equipment, and budgetary needs for operating and maintaining the system for years to come. When the US-23 project was complete, the software was ready on time.
The Director's Award program represents the various work categories within the department. While MDOT employees nominate their peers, committees comprised of workers from each category make the final recommendations to the department.