If there is one word that characterizes the PennDOT career of District 1 Planning and Programming Manager Courtney Lyle, it would be non-traditional.
The 18-year PennDOT employee rarely sits still and is not afraid to take on a challenge, another similarity among the variety of positions she's held.
"It's never been boring, and I hope it stays that way," Lyle said of her time with the Department.
Lyle started as a Business Intern in 2001, working out of the Clarion County office. Then a senior at Clarion University, she co-created the first winter materials database alongside Andy Firment.
"It was eye-opening because I had no idea what PennDOT did before I started," she said.
Following her 2002 graduation with a degree in Information Systems, Lyle joined the District 10 staff full time as an IT Technician, which was then part of the Design unit. At the time, PennDOT was not operating on a network that connected the counties, the district offices and Central Office.
"We used disks. People shared email addresses," she recalled with a laugh.
It didn't take her long to feel the tug to return to the Clarion County maintenance office. In August 2003, she transferred to a Roadway Programs Coordinator position at that facility, bringing her closer to family.
"To me, maintenance feels like home. It did then too," she said.
After 10 years working at the county level, including time as PennDOT's first county-level business manager, Lyle knew she was ready for another set of challenges. Through a statewide committee, she had the opportunity to network with the former District 1 Executive Bill Petit. He made her aware of an opportunity to apply for the district's unique Information Data Management unit, a job that was a perfect fit for someone looking to venture in a new direction.
Lyle was chosen to lead the unit, which focuses on creating and managing information to help other units with decision making and information sharing internally and externally.
During her nearly five-year stint with the unit, the married mother of two thrived on the opportunity to create new internal programs, develop presentations, and increase communication efforts.
"I went out and met with every maintenance employee," Lyle said of the efforts as IDM manager.
Despite the rewards of the challenging position, she continued to seek out other opportunities within the Department.
"I decided to make a complete turn and go back to design," she said of her latest move to Planning and Programming. "I wanted to experience something new while at the same time doing something familiar to me. I like fitting all the pieces of the puzzle together."
Lyle describes her career with PennDOT as eclectic and rewarding; and admits she's applied for positions she did not receive and accepted jobs that were not necessarily promotions in order to gain experience.
So what strategy does she offer to those looking for career development advice?
“Be open to all possibilities. Sometimes you move sideways to move up. Don’t be your own roadblock to success,” she said.
To start your own career with PennDOT, visit our employment page at PennDOT.gov/jobs.