Meet three leaders in new and vital roles at MDOT
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.