By Taylor Dorman (Intern - Public Information)
The Florida Department of Transportation employs thousands of people throughout the state. The District Seven headquarters alone contains hundreds of staff members. For an employee in District Seven, it can become a challenge to make connections with every single person in the various departments. As a way to help minimize this problem, “Getting To Know” chooses a different staff member each newsletter to interview. This gives people the opportunity to gain knowledge about their fellow employees on a more personal level.
Employee: Claudette Collier, Contractual Services Administrator
Department: Procurement Services
So, how long have you been working for District 7?
Approximately 24 years.
What made you want to work for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)?
My entire career has been contracts. I started working with the county for the Board of County Commissioners in 1974, so I’ve been doing contracts for almost 42 years. I loved working road construction and they were doing some changes at Polk County, including a bunch of layoffs, so I applied for a Contract Administrator job at DOT. I got the job and started working for DOT in February of 1993. I just love dealing with projects, road construction, and stuff like that. It’s very interesting to me.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Dealing with my staff, and also with the customers. I really love people so I like to give them great customer service and coordinate between the customer and staff. Basically, I’m a people person. I like to make people happy and give them good service. It’s also nice that I work with such amazing people and my supervisor, Becky Schwarz, is terrific.
So, out of all the years you’ve been with FDOT, what is your favorite memory from working here?
We had a project where we had to do some work on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and we had a pre-proposal meeting out there. I went all the way to the top of the bridge with the project manager; that was the highlight of my career. Also, going underneath the bridge to actually see the generators, and the lights, and how everything works together. I even got to write my name and the date on the bridge itself.
If you could travel to one place in the world, where would it be?
I would love to go to Tahiti.
What is your lifelong dream?
(Laughs) To go to Tahiti.
If you were stranded on a deserted island and only had 5 items of your choosing with you, what would they be?
Water, my bible, a book, a notepad and pen, and either a friend or family member. Does a pen and pad count as one? (I decided to be reasonable and let the notepad and pen count as a package deal.)
So, there’s no friend or family member in particular you would want on this deserted island with you? (Side note: The woman I’m interviewing is my aunt.)
(Smiles) You, of course.
Describe in 3 words what it’s like working at District 7.
Interesting, awesome, and exciting.
Is there anything you personally would like to add that you want to be featured in the article?
Well, most people know that I’m in the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP). My DROP date is April 28, 2016 and it’s been a great career. The thing that I will miss the most is the people around here because it is truly a family and I’ve come to love these people and think of them as my family. So, that’s what I’ll miss the most… the people.