Talking Michigan Transportation

Meet three leaders in new and vital roles at MDOT

July 01, 2022 Michigan Department of Transportation Season 4 Episode 110
Talking Michigan Transportation
Meet three leaders in new and vital roles at MDOT
Show Notes Transcript

On this week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, conversations with three people recently promoted to major leadership roles at the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). 

First, Beckie Curtis, who is the incoming director of the Bureau of Bridges and Structures, talks about her career path to civil engineering, what she’s learned along the way and why she is especially passionate about bridges. 

Having worked with bridges for more than 21 years, with 15 of those with MDOT, Curtis has served the department as a load rating engineer and bridge management engineer before becoming the deputy chief bridge engineer in 2018. In this position, she served as the administrator for the Office of Structure Preservation and Management and led the teams responsible for the National Bridge Inspection Program and Structure Preservation. 

Curtis discusses the importance of asset management and how she will face the challenges of trying to maintain safe structures after decades of under-investment in transportation in Michigan. 

Later, Demetrius “Dee” Parker, who has been named director of the Bureau of Development, talks about the various positions he’s held at MDOT and how they prepared him for the new post, overseeing everything from the design of road projects to acquisition of real estate, and permitting billboards. 

Parker has worked for the department for almost 30 years and brings a diverse background to the position and has more than 20 years of managerial experience in a variety of roles:

•         Served for the past three years as the University Region engineer.

•         Previously appointed as the Southwest Region engineer, administrator of the Contract Services Division, and manager of the Jackson Transportation Service Center. 

The final segment features a conversation with Brad Wieferich, who has been named MDOT’s chief operations officer and chief engineer. He recalls how he began to explore civil engineering at the suggestion of a high school physics teacher.  

Wieferich also talks about how his decades of experience with MDOT, and in the private sector, prepared him for the new position. Beginning in 1995, he held positions in MDOT's Bay, University, and Southwest regions. He also served as engineer of design and then director of the Bureau of Development.


Jeff Cranson: Hi, thank you again for tuning in to the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast. I’m your host, Jeff Cranson.


Cranson: Today, I’m going to be introducing three people who have recently been elevated to new positions at the Michigan Department of Transportation. And I say introducing; two of them are actually veterans of the podcast and people you've heard from before. But one will be a first-time guest. First, I'll be talking with Beckie Curtis, who is recently named the director of the Bureau of Bridges and Structures. She was previously the deputy director, and she's been on occasionally to talk about bridge bundling and some other innovations. Next, I'll be talking with “Dee” Parker, who was previously the University Region engineer for the department and has been named director of the Bureau of Development, which oversees, as the title suggests, the development of projects, design of various road and bridge projects, as well as the unit that deals with acquisition of real estate, and another that deals with the permitting process. A lot going on under that umbrella. And then lastly, we'll talk with Brad Wieferich, again, a veteran of the podcast. And he has been promoted to chief operations officer at the department, and he's got a lot going on, needless to say, with all of the road and bridge projects and the other challenges. So first, we'll be with Beckie. So once again, I'm with Beckie Curtis, who is recently named the director of the Bureau of Bridges and Structures at MDOT. She previously was the deputy, and she has a lot of experience building and maintaining bridges. Beckie, thank you for taking time to talk today.

Beckie Curtis: Always happy to be here.

Cranson: So, let's talk a little bit about you and how you got into engineering and then specifically into bridges. And kind of your career trajectory and when you decided you had a real interest in transportation and civil engineering.

Curtis: Sure. So actually, when I went to college, I was civil engineering. The reason I like civil engineering was because it's something that you need everywhere. I liked the idea that I could live anywhere, I could do anything, and it's a part of life that everybody needs. So you're really fulfilling a good purpose. I was originally environmental, and it wasn't until my senior year that I took my first structures class. It really clicked, and I was like wow, this is where I really want to be. And since I was environmental focus for undergrad, I ended up deciding to go to grad school to get my Master's in engineering with a focus in structural engineering.

Cranson: So, what have you found, I mean, you've been at this long enough to have seen some changes, certainly you faced the glass ceilings that women do in all professions, but especially in engineering. And things have changed, hopefully for the better, and we've made progress. Do you think we've got a ways to go?

Curtis: There just really has been a change, and I don't know that I’m always really aware of some of those challenges. It's probably just the way that I’ve been raised. My dad was an engineer, and he always encouraged me to be an engineer, and so I grew up like that. But there was a moment when I was younger, I was interning for a city, and that was when I made the decision to get a Master's. One of the people I was working with said, wow, that’s really impressive that you're going to get a graduate degree in structures, especially since you're a woman. And I think he had the best intentions in what he said. I sort of shrugged it off, but later on, one of the women, because it's a cube environment, one of the women who heard that was really bothered by it. We ended up addressing it like a good office structure would, and he apologized and explained. He learned that maybe his phrasing wasn't correct. But it really struck home to me that some of these things growing up in a really supportive household that maybe I took advantage of. It's important to make sure that like all women can feel that same support. You can go into a very technical field, and it's not, “great, it's so great for you because you're a woman”. It's just like no, that's what your strengths are, and so you should be able to pursue that if you want to.

Cranson: Well so, a few years ago, when the governor was first elected and was carrying through on her fervent pledge to fix the roads, obviously, that includes fixing the bridges, and you appeared at a number of events with her explaining to the media why one bridge or another needed to be rebuilt or needed some serious rehabilitation. And she started referring to you as Beckie the bridge builder. Talk about what it means to you to be so involved in bridges and given their importance in the entire transportation system?

Curtis: Yeah, so the thing about bridges that I think make them so special is that they're all about connections. Even looking back in history, bridges allowed people to build towns and cities around waterways and make use of the whole land system. They've always been important to the way we live. A lot of bridges end up having really special meaning to the communities, like the Houghton Hancock bridge just received an award this summer. And it's an important landmark for that area. It solves a difficult problem of getting people safely over some sort of a divide, whether now, it's our highway system, or in the past if it was a waterway. The transportation system's important for people to get goods, to quickly get to their job, which might be miles away. But that same transportation system tends to divide neighborhoods. So we need bridges to solve the problem that our transportation system can create. That's why we have a lot of local agency roads that MDOT maintains over our highway. That's to make sure that this system we're building to make people's lives better, we want to ensure that we're not causing different problems with it. So that's one of the problems that bridges solve.

Cranson: Well, you're coming into this job at an unprecedented time in terms of the money that's being put into the system, but also with the stone-cold sober reality check that we've got a long ways to go. You just are not gonna fix decades of under investment, especially when it comes to bridges, overnight. And we've still got a lot of challenges ahead. So what keeps you going, what keeps you from getting discouraged about that future with the—we don't have any reason to believe that we're going to have a sustainable source of funding anytime soon. How do you stay focused?

Curtis: So, my family lives in Michigan. So we're using these roads, we're going over the bridges. It affects our quality of life, the condition that they're in. And so what keeps me going is this commitment to do my best, to make sure that we use the limited resources. Whatever the people in Michigan and our elected officials determine is what they want to spend on bridges, we're going to do the best we can to make sure that we spend it most effectively, that we do it as equitably as possible. And when we get to the point where we don't have enough funding, that we're going to make the right decision, and we're going to prioritize safety. And we'll close the bridge if we have to. 

Cranson: I really appreciate what you said about your commitment to the state and how this, managing the funds, doing whatever we can to keep a system that works and is safe. And you think of it, you see it as a parent and somebody who is raising children and probably wants them to stay in Michigan. And I think that all of us think that way, that the message that we send, the condition of our infrastructure and our literal foundation says a lot about what we think of ourselves as a state.

Curtis: Yeah, um— 

Cranson: There's not really a question in there. 

Curtis: [laughing] Okay, good. 

Cranson: So yeah, talk a little bit about what you hope to do in the new job. Matt, your predecessor, Matt Chynoweth, really good, strong communicator, very innovative thinker, was willing to try new things, a lot of things that you had to work closely with him on and be a big part of helping to implement. So where does the bureau go from here? And I should also mention that the bureau itself is not that old; that's a recently established thing, to really put more of an emphasis on bridges and structures. And I think it was a great idea, and I think it's working really well. But you're coming along at a time when you're really still kind of defining and shaping the bureau's mission.

Curtis: Right, and as you mentioned previously, we've got the largest program for bridges dollar-wise that we've had so far to date. And so, with my asset management background, the focus is to make sure that we do a great job delivering this large program, that we're doing it not just with the point of, we have project, must build bridge, but how do we build the best bridge that's going to last longest, that's going to make the most efficient use of our resources? How do we leverage all these innovations to meet our challenge, which our biggest challenge is a lack of resources. And so we have this large program currently, we have the ability to make a big impact on a portion of our inventory. We need to make sure that that impact is the best it can be, because we know, following on the heels of this large program, is a return to the days of not enough investment and struggling to make decisions to keep mobility while making sure that safety is our number one priority.

Cranson: Yeah, well said. Good luck, again. Congratulations on taking on this role, and I always appreciate your passion and commitment to what you do, but also your willingness to come out and talk about it and help people understand why you do what you do.

Curtis: Yeah. Thanks, Jeff, and as most people know, I’m always happy to talk about bridges. 

Cranson: Stay with us; we'll have more on the other side of this important message.

[construction noises]

Narrator: Hey, did you see that sign on the side of the road? What about those workers? Are you even paying attention to how you're driving? Work zone awareness takes all of us.

[construction noises]

Cranson: Okay, so I’m back with Dee Parker, as promised. Dee has recently been named as the director of the Bureau of Development at MDOT. And that is a big bureau that takes in a lot of work, a lot of the work ahead of time on the projects that you eventually see on the roads. But it also includes oversight of real estate acquisition, and permitting billboards, all kinds of things. Dee is a veteran of the department; he's done a lot of different things. So, he brings a range of experience to this. Dee, thanks for taking time to do this, and tell me what you're thinking about this new job.

Demetrius “Dee” Parker: Thank you very much, Jeff. I’m excited for this opportunity to help continue to move the department forward and looking forward to working with the awesome staff there and in the bureau of development. So, I’m definitely looking forward to it and excited for the opportunity.

Cranson: Talk about your career trajectory because you've been a Transportation Service Center manager, you've worked as administrator of contracts, which is a job full of its own challenges already, and then you've been region engineer in two different regions. How did you get into engineering, and civil engineering specifically, and what provoked your interests?

Parker: Actually Jeff, back in high school, when I was a senior, MDOT had come to my school down in Detroit there, and they were looking for individuals, basically, who are interested in civil engineering, or if not, engineering. At the time I did not know much about civil engineering, and I said, sure. I talked to my counselor, she thought it was a good idea. And so as a result, I was part of a program called the ACE program, which is Aiming for Civil Engineering. It was a program that basically showed high school students some components of engineering as far as working for MDOT. It was weird, Jeff, because just as soon as I— let's see…I think I went to prom on Friday, and then Monday, I started with MDOT right out of high school. And so that was exciting for me. I worked down in the Metro Region office, and I worked for a guy named Tim Smith down there, a traffic technician. And so he kind of showed me the ropes, and we had to travel around southeast Michigan, just kind of working on traffic issues and signage and things like that. So, that's how I got started with MDOT. And then after that, I just began to co-op each summer with MDOT. That's where I met a Maxine Duffy and also Sally Oh as well. And so they were huge champions for me as far as coming to work for the department, and that's pretty much what I did, and that's kind of how I got started with MDOT.

Cranson: What high school was that?

Parker: The high school I went to was actually Murray-Wright High School, down in the west side of Detroit. 

Cranson: Yeah, so, that's great; you were part of MDOT's kind of, I think, aggressive recruiting, even then. That's a great payoff. So talk a little bit about since then, how you've done different things in the department, and it's kept you interested and enough to take on this, which is a tremendous opportunity but also a tremendous challenge.

Parker: Yeah. I started in design division there, worked there for several years, and then I became a cost schedule engineer at the Lansing TSC. And then shortly after that, Jeff, I became a role consultant project manager as well, where I worked in the consulting coordination unit. From then on I went back to the regions, where I was the Jackson TSC manager, where I had some experience working with the different counties. And probably my biggest partnership at that time was working with the Michigan International Speedway. Just working with them and trying to work in their one-way patterns, inbound and outbound traffic patterns, for their race weekends there. And then after that, I became the administrator for contract service division where I worked in there. And then after that, I was moved over to the Southwest Region; I was promoted to the Southwest Region as a regional engineer there. And then with director Ajegba moving on to his position over in Metro, then I was provided the opportunity to come and be the University Region engineer. And now today, I’m the director for the Bureau of Development. And so through each stop, each place I went, there's definitely some amazing folks there that I got a chance to work with and learn from and grow from as well. And so it definitely was a learning opportunity for each area that I went to, and I’m just so appreciative of all the folks that I’ve had a chance to interact with throughout my career. So I truly appreciate that as well. I love the interaction with people and, again, all the good times that we had together. 

Cranson: Put a little bit finer point on that discussion about Michigan International Speedway, because I grew up in Coldwater, and just to show how old I am, we would go to Tigers games on US-12 and drive through Irish Hills. And I can only imagine what it must be like on those race weekends to try to manage traffic. So, how did you do that?

Parker: Well, what we did was for each race week—cause at the time they had three race weekends. I think one in June and in July and August, and usually the June and August were the largest race events that they had. And a lot of folks have said that the dollars that they brought in were actually equal to—actually, I think more than a super bowl event. So, usually have a couple hundred thousand people as far as in attendance. Again, some folks were inside the racing area, then others were just outside just having a good time. That was a partnership where we work with MIS as far as on their traffic pattern. We work with the state police, and also with Poco, who was the local traffic and safety company that provided the barrels for MIS. Again, working with, at the time, was Brett Shelton and also Barry Gibson as well with MIS, where we had meetings with them on a regular basis, just making sure that we were all set. And of course, statewide, or more so down in southeastern part of the state as well as our Southwest region, we made sure that we didn't have any construction going on during race weekends because we wanted to make sure that the other folks had a safe travel to and from the racing event. And like I say, it was just a partnership that we built, started with Kirk Branson, and I just extended that partnership is all that I did, as far as working with MIS. And probably the biggest thing we did there, Jeff, was that we extended their one-way patterns, distance wise, another mile. When I became the Jackson TSC manager, just by working with them, my staff as well as the MIS staff, we kind of put our heads together, and we came up with a plan to extend, like I said, all the traffic patterns by another mile. And so that helped out. And what that did, Jeff, that allowed folks to get home quicker. I think one person emailed us and said it normally takes time probably about six hours to get home, but in this case, I think that after we extended the patterns by one mile or so, that person said that it took them probably two hours to get home. 

Cranson: Wow.

Parker: So, just by extending out the limits of the one-way patterns, I mean, that just eliminated a lot of the traffic congestion inside the MIS stadium. In this case, it allows folks to get out and basically be on the road a lot quicker and sooner. And so yeah, it definitely helped out immensely. Today, of course, MIS is still functioning. They may not have three races, but yet they're still functioning down there with different race weekends, as well as other events that they also host as of today. 

Cranson: Yeah, I just, I love that because it's an example of the things that the department does that you just wouldn't think about. You think about building roads and maintaining roads and bridges, but those kinds of collaborative relationships with various people and special event planning, basically, is all part of it. It's definitely part of a TSC manager's life; one of the most important jobs in the department, I think, in terms of the grassroots work contact with the community. So, that's a great example. 

Parker: Yes sir, I agree.

Cranson: So, talk about what you're taking on now. We have an unprecedented program—you're coming in the middle of the peak, really, of the bonding plan, and the Rebuilding Michigan, and all the road work we've got going on. That's going to taper off in a couple years if we don't have a long-term funding strategy. We're back to trying to piece it together through asset management. That affects, certainly, what you do in planning projects and design. I guess I could ask you this way; why would you take this on?

Parker: Well, I think, Jeff, that this is an opportunity to just continue to help add to the department, and more importantly, just to help the department grow. This is a challenge in historic times for us as far as a number of projects that we're putting out. I mean, staffing concerns as well from a resource standpoint. We also are having budget issues as far as with the cost of projects increasing so drastically. This definitely has an impact on our program. I see this as an opportunity just to come in and provide my two cents, for lack of better words. Again, just trying to help the department out to basically see this through. Because this is definitely a challenge for us, again, my concern is the staffing as far as the from a resource standpoint. Everybody's busy, everybody's swamped, and so what we're trying to do is look at ways that we can help staff out and still get the program out as well. And so that's one of the reasons why I definitely am excited as well as taking on this challenge, as far as being the next director of the Bureau of Development.

Cranson: Well, thank you, Dee. Congratulations again, and I look forward to working with you in the new capacity and, certainly, I'll do everything I can to help. 

Parker: Thank you, sir; I appreciate it. Thank you very much. 

Cranson: We will continue the conversation right after a quick break.


Narrator: If you need to get out and stretch your legs, don't forget about the annual Mackinac Bridge walk. Make your plans to attend the walk on Labor Day and take in some of the best views in the state of Michigan on the mighty Mac. For more information, go to


Cranson: And for our third segment today, as mentioned earlier, I'll be talking with Brad Wieferich, who was recently named chief operations officer at MDOT. This is after a few years directing the Bureau of Development at MDOT. Before that, he was engineer of design. He's been a manager of Transportation Service Centers, which is a very important job at the ground level, dealing with the communities in terms of people that we have to work with to get things done and, really, kind of a grassroots job. He's been in and out of the public sector, working also in the private sector and consulting and then returning to MDOT. So, Brad, thanks and congratulations again.

Brad Wieferich: Thanks Jeff, I appreciate it and appreciate you having me back.

Cranson: So, just talk a little bit about your career trajectory, and how you got into transportation to begin with, and what's kept your fires burning all these years?

Wieferich: Well, I'm going to take you way back, back to high school even, when I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do. And my parents ended up going to a parent-teacher conference with my physics teacher, and he's the one that recommended to them that I think about engineering. So, it's interesting that that little comment that he made 35 years ago, I think, has kind of put me on that path. But I got into school not really knowing what sort of engineering, but as I learned a little bit more about the discipline, civil really kind of spoke to me because I like to build things. I like to see tangible things that you can take a look at for many years. I did leave the state, like you said, went to work in Chicago for a while for a real small firm, getting some good field practical experience. Doing a lot of material testing, construction inspection, out on the roads, out on-site developments and whatnot. So, that really kind of solidified why I went into engineering. And I took a job with MDOT so I could move home. I love Chicago, great area, but I missed being around friends, families, and all the other outdoor things that Michigan provides. So, not really knowing what my career trajectory would be when I got to the department. Eventually, after working in design and being a project manager, I knew that that was kind of something that I was really interested in. That led me to working in three different Transportation Service Centers. I worked in Mount Pleasant, I worked in Lansing, and I ended up managing the Marshall TSC. And that's kind of where I got a lot of good administrative experience there, and a lot of experience dealing with the public: dealing with legislators, dealing with local officials, dealing with the general public, and our customers. And I realized I really like that, too. That led to my dream job, which was the engineer of design. I was not doing engineering or much design at that point, but I actually got to work in that realm that I was really comfortable and passionate about; that and project management. But opportunities at the department just kind of seemed to be available at the right time for me. And I think the diverse background that I had kind of set me up for moving on. And, like you said, I was the director for the Bureau of Development. Again, kind of all things program and project related pre-construction. Not really knowing if that would be my final position at the department, when lo and behold, this opportunity came up. So, I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to kind of advance in the department, and I really appreciate the fact that I'm able to really influence how things get done. And I think with my background and the experience that I’ve had puts me in a good position to do that.

Cranson: Interesting that a long-ago physics teacher at Dewitt High School, I assume, is the reason that we have you now.

Wieferich: Yes, and the even more ironic thing is that my two older boys had the same teacher. So, I was able to go back and tell him that story a few years ago. 

Cranson: Oh that's cool, that's really nice. What teacher wouldn't want to hear that?

Wieferich: Yeah, exactly. 

Cranson: So, talk about engineer design. I think, to a lot of people, they think since we're not building a lot that's new, mostly we're rebuilding, trying to maintain the system that we have, and that's been the case for several years. I think M-6 across southern Kent County and a small part of Ottawa County is the last freeway MDOT built, and that's 20 years ago now. So, what is involved in design when you're—I mean, it sounds like, well, those roads are already designed. So, explain really what that means.

Wieferich: Honestly, I got the opportunity to work on a couple of small pieces of new freeway, but most of my career, like you said, has been in kind of the rehabilitation realm; the capital preventive maintenance and rehabs, where we're taking existing roads and trying to improve them to the best of our ability using our asset management principles. But I’ll be honest, I think designing the new roads is easier. You have a clean slate, you have the ability to decide where that alignment's going to be, where the curbs are going to be, where the hills are going to be. When we're working on existing infrastructure, it's built. So, especially when you get into reconstructing those facilities is where things get challenging, because now you have a built environment. Now you have the constraints of access points, crossroads, driveways, whatnot…all the utilities that are there, a lot of the traffic that's there already. So, it takes quite a bit of engineering and skill to be able to develop a plan that, one, most effectively uses the money for that piece of road, but also does it within the built environment.

Cranson: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I think the clean slate thing is probably something we all aspire to, rather than trying to work within the confines of something else. So, as chief operations officer, you've got a lot of responsibility. You're over that Bureau of Development that you used to head up, you're over the Bureau of Bridges and Structures. And we've spoken with Beckie Curtis, who was newly named to head that bureau. And you're over the Bureau Field Services, which handles all the construction. So, it's a lot. It's pretty much anything and everything that has to do with actually building and maintaining the roads and bridges. When you say that your dream job was engineer design, that sort of doesn't mean that this new job isn't a dream job, too, right? 

Wieferich: [laughing]

Cranson: So, talk about what excites you about this, and what stokes your passions even further.

Wieferich: Yeah, and I did say engineer design, that was my dream job you know probably 15-20 years ago. And like I said, I feel pretty fortunate to be in the position that I’m in now. And again, just being able to use the experience and the wisdom that I’ve gained over the years to try to help our department run as efficiently as it can. And we're in some pretty interesting times right now with everything we have going on with the program, and the bond program; we're putting out MDOT's largest program in history right now. And it's amazing. It's amazing to drive through the jobs, to see how much work is going on. But I think one of the things that's on my mind the most is really how we do this most efficiently. Our people are busy. They're extremely busy, and in many cases, they're more than busy. And I realize that. And I want to be able to do everything we can to support our employees and the industry so that, collectively, we can be successful in delivering these projects to the public.

Cranson: Yeah, I don't think you can overstate the stress that people have been under already with, like you said, an unprecedented program. I mean, which is a good thing. We've been talking for so long, and you were heavily involved in the asset management council. So you know the needs, and how long we've been underfunded, and how much we need to do. So getting a bonding program and getting the governor's commitment to spending this money and rebuilding as much as we are is a great thing. But then comes a pandemic, then comes inflation that was driven by national, international things that are out of our control. And you've got labor shortages that the contracting community has to deal with, you've got materials shortages which drives at prices, and like you said, your people are already overworked. So it's a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety to manage. And it's amazing to me how well people are doing, and how much they're getting done in spite of all that.

Wieferich: Yeah, I can't say enough for our staff right now delivering this program, like you said, over the past couple of years with the pandemic restrictions. And that's everybody in the department, from the folks doing the development piece, but also our folks in construction. They work through it. Our folks in maintenance, the folks out there maintaining the roads, plowing our roads; they worked through it. And we've been successful. And it's quite amazing. But like you said, I recognize how difficult it's been, and how stressful this has been for a lot of people. And we really need to look for ways that we can continue to be most efficient with our time and with our resources to minimize that stress.

Cranson: Well, you've always struck me as somebody who does really well and works really hard to manage your work-life balance. I know how early in the morning you start. But you've managed to raise three boys and keep all those things in check and keep those things in perspective. So, talk a little bit about how you do that.

Wieferich: Yeah, that's a huge issue for me, especially when the boys were young. Like you said, I got three boys. They're grown up now; they're 17, 20, and 22 now. But yeah, trying to have that balance and be there, whether it's at their performances or the ball games I coached for many years. That was important. It still is important to me to be able to do that, and in going back to all of our staff, I want to make sure that they have the same opportunities that I did to be able to balance that work.

Cranson: Yeah, you and I are traditionalists; both hope to be coaching baseball for a good long time. And I can't think of a much sadder day than when I realized that I coached my son's last little league game because he was going on to high school, and I wasn't going to coaching there. But you had to take a bit of a turn because your boys got into lacrosse instead. 

Wieferich: Yeah, that's why I giggled when you said coaching baseball. I did that for about nine years until the boys threw me a curveball and decided that they were going to play lacrosse. So, I pretended to be a lacrosse coach for another five years. 

Cranson: [laughing]

Wieferich: I think I faked it okay, but once they got into high school, I think my ability was kind of maxed out at that point. But I’m in my last summer right now of travel ball for my youngest. And I can kind of see the end of that coming, and it's bittersweet because it takes a ton of time out of our summers, and our falls, and our springs. But I'm kind of hanging on to it as hard as I can right now because when it’s over, it’s gonna be over.

Cranson: Yep, I know that feeling. Well, thanks, Brad, for taking time to do this. Good luck, obviously, we'll continue working closely together, and we've got big challenges as the bonding plan continues and all the other things we talked about, the obstacles that seem to get thrown in our way. And you and your team just seem to keep plowing ahead, so that's great.

Wieferich: Yep, thanks for that. And I’ll tell you another thing; I wouldn't have even attempted to take this job if I didn't think we had the team that could support it. And that goes all the way from leadership down to the staff level, the folks that are really doing the work. We've had a lot of change lately, obviously, with these dominoes kind of falling in the different positions, but I know we have the capacity, like I said, both at the leadership and at the management and at the staff level to deliver.


Cranson: Thank you again for listening to this week's edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast. I would like to thank Randy Debler and Corey Petee for engineering this week's podcast. To subscribe, to show notes, and more, go to Apple podcast and search for Talking Michigan Transportation