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PennDOT Honors Star of Excellence Recipients


The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Yassmin Gramian today recognized 32 PennDOT employees for their outstanding performance with the Star of Excellence Award, PennDOT’s highest recognition.  Two employees from PennDOT’s District 2, which represents Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton Elk, Juniata, McKean, Mifflin, and Potter 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 Janet Caldwell and Adam Bechdel during a virtual ceremony.

District 2 Executive Tom Zurat noted, “District 2 has many hard-working employees, but it is always special to see exceptional efforts recognized”. “Working through the Covid-19 pandemic presented many challenges, but Janet and Adam found ways to ensure that our operations continued uninterrupted. They each went above and beyond to provide a high level of customer service to both our internal and external customers.”

Details of Janet and Adam’s awards follow:

Janet L. Caldwell – Stock Clerk 3
Under normal circumstances, Janet does an excellent job supporting our staff and performing her duties. She is very organized and provides outstanding customer service. When the COVID pandemic changed our way of doing business, Janet identified areas of need and offered to help, without hesitation. Janet worked individually with tele-working staff to ensure their incoming/outgoing communication needs were met. This includes printing, copying, mailing, and
distributing correspondence and necessary documents. Janet also works with staff to research and retrieve necessary papers. Janet's efforts made it possible for District 2 to safely process Right-of-Way clearances, bridge inspections, municipal service activities and purchasing. Through Janet’s diligence, the District continued to meet goals and expectations while tele-working and following COVID protocols. It is estimated that Janet's efforts resulted in a savings of at least $100,000 this past year.

Adam D. Bechdel – Assistant Highway Maintenance Manager
2020 was a challenging year for District 2 and specifically our Maintenance Division. With the retirements of both the District Executive and the Assistant District Executive Maintenance in early 2020, the District was just starting to fill these leadership positions when the COVID pandemic hit. Shortly after that, our Centre County Highway Maintenance Manager retired. As the District looked for ways to address some of these needs, an experienced County Manager in our northern area was assigned to serve as manager in Centre County. Adam Bechdel then stepped up to serve as Acting County Maintenance Manager for Potter and Cameron counties. He returned to his Clinton County position this past April. Adam's efforts allowed the District to continue effective day-to-day operations. Adam has also played a key role in the reorganization of the Centre and Clinton County Maintenance Organizations. Adam’s actions have resulted in a salary savings of approximately $50,000 over 6 months.

The Star of Excellence Awards are presented annually to employees who represent the department’s values of service, performance, and integrity. The recipients represent a variety of organizational positions, spanning from highway maintenance and driver and vehicle services workers, to traffic control specialists, communications staff and design and engineering specialists.

For more information on PennDOT activities in Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton Elk, Juniata, McKean, Mifflin, and Potter counties visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Marla Fannin 814-765-0423

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