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PennDOT Honors Star of Excellence Recipients


Uniontown, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Yassmin Gramian recently recognized 32 PennDOT employees for their outstanding performance with the Star of Excellence Award, PennDOT’s highest recognition. Two from PennDOT’s District 12, which represents Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland counties were among the honorees.

“These employees represent the incredible people on the PennDOT team,” Gramian said. “With a focus on innovation, customer service, mobility and connectivity, they work tirelessly each day to provide safe and efficient transportation for Pennsylvania’s residents.”

Gramian and other department executives honored winners Melissa R. Maczko and Michele DeFrancesco during a virtual ceremony.

“We are so fortunate to have so many dedicated and hard-working employees in District 12.   I am pleased to recognize these two outstanding employees who have gone the extra mile in serving the residents of Pennsylvania. They exemplify the values and standards that we strive to achieve in District 12” said William Kovach PennDOT District 12-0 Executive.

Melissa R. Maczko
Administrative Assistant 1

Melissa has demonstrated dedication to the Department, successful use of innovation, excellence in customer service, and problem solving in many ways in 2020.

Melissa championed a successful recruitment fair in Fayette County for temporary winter operators and duplicated it in the remaining counties. At least one other District and Central Office attended subsequent events to learn how the events were structured. 

In June 2020 a new District Executive was named to the District. Establishing effective communications with Legislators, Customers, and Employees during COVID was critical to the success of the District.    Melissa worked with the IT unit to innovatively use virtual platforms to organize meetings and events to achieve the needed connections. She researched platforms that could handle large events, and found that, "TEAMS Live Event" could accommodate larger groups.  With this format, we held events that covered Employee Recognition, Safety Stand-down meetings, and the Veteran’s Recognition event using a hybrid of TEAMS and in person.   Melissa produced each event.  Estimated District savings in travel time and expenses were a conservative $30,000.00 over the course of 2020.

Melissa was the “State Employee Combined Appeal” (SECA) coordinator for the District, so that campaign was weaved into each of the above referenced events as well.  SECA is a statewide campaign to raise funds for charitable organizations.  This campaign was also successful, and District 12 was the leading District within PennDOT in both participation and donations. 


Michele DeFrancesco
Clerk Typist 3

Michele went above and beyond her daily duties after the fire destroyed our Greene County Maintenance facility in May of 2019. The county organization was temporarily reassigned 30 miles to work from the computer lab in district office. Michelle continued timekeeping and clerical duties without any change and took on additional duties related to the tracking of equipment and supplies lost in the fire.  During this time, she did anything necessary to keep the operations in the County working seamlessly.

When the Clerical Supervisor retired, Michele took the duties of that position in addition to her work.  She processed request to post vacancies, prepared interview packets, set up interviews for Winter Temporary positions, drivers tests, and drug testing; along with all the paperwork and on-boarding of new employees. She helped Greene County reached our compliment of temporary as well as filling full-time vacancies. The additional duties were expected to be short term but continued for over one year. (Overall Cost Saving: $45,000.00)

In addition to always striving to make the Greene County Maintenance organization successful, Michele is a very caring person. The County received a call from a motorist concerning an individual setting up a campsite along Interstate 70.  Michele was directed to call the Pennsylvania State Police, who helped the individual get to the next exit, where the person again set up camp under a bridge. Michele called the homeless shelter of Greene County to assist this person.  Additionally, Michele stopped twice a day to give her food and water and check her wellbeing for the next few days.  She ultimately helped her find more permanent assistance.

For more information on PennDOT activities in Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland counties visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Jay Ofsanik, 724-439-7135

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