Every day, I have thousands of reasons to be proud of the professionals of DOT, who work hard to improve the way we move people and goods. And many in the DOT family take their commitment to service beyond their assigned duties. The Federal Highway Administration's Aung Gye is one of those.
Gye is a Transportation Planning Team Leader for the Office of Federal Lands Highway. Through his 18-year career, he noticed that some assets purchased by DOT--cars, vans, office equipment, meeting rooms--aren't used every hour of every day. Then he thought about how many items might be similarly underused across the entire federal government, and he wondered how to increase their use so we get more value out of these items.
"It's like the airlines," says Gye. "They never keep their planes on the ground if they can help it. They want them up in the air, earning value from their investment. With the current budget situation, we can do the same thing in government."
He imagined a shared inter-agency catalog of assets and their availability. In Gye's model, if a Department of Labor van were sitting idle in a parking lot, it could be signed-out by a group from the Department of Health and Human Services. The more that vehicle is used, the more value our nation gets from it.
Earlier this year, Gye learned about the 2011 Best Idea in Government Merit Awards contest from MeriTalk, a government IT network. "When I heard about the contest, I thought I had a pretty good idea, so I submitted it."
The judges thought it was pretty good, too. Gye's shared database proposal won the awards for Best Back-Office Solution and Best Overall Idea.
I'm happy to hear that the 2011 Merit Award was won by someone from DOT, but I'm even happier to hear Gye's response: "Winning is exciting, but that's not what this was about. I think we can do a better job of leveraging government assets for the country."
That is what we mean by public service. And that is something to be proud of.