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MnDOT wins National Partnership for Highway Quality Awards

The National Partnership for Highway Quality has awarded the Minnesota Department of Transportation two silver awards for its Ombudsman Office services and its Snow Plow Operator Training Program. Both won in the "Making a Difference" category.

NPHQ award winners must demonstrate improved quality or customer service related to highway planning, project delivery, highway maintenance, safety, congestion management, workforce training, environmental stewardship or highway operations.

MnDOT's Ombudsman Office was established in 2008 to serve as a resource for citizens who have a conflict that they have been unable to resolve using standard methods. Ombudsman Office staff works with citizens to find fair and consistent solutions. Resolution can range from education about the issue and MnDOT policy and processes to making a change in a MnDOT policy because it creates unintended effects.

"Listening is a key component to good leadership. It is critical that MnDOT listen to what the public has to say," said MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel. "The ombudsman offers citizens an excellent alternative when other routes are not satisfactory. We are pleased with the recognition this award provides, but are more pleased with the fact that we are better able to serve the public using the ombudsman's efforts."

MnDOT developed SPOT to provide consistent, up-to-date training for all new MnDOT commercial motor vehicle drivers. The curriculum includes training on safety, plowing techniques, new equipment and procedures related to winter highway maintenance operations. Training includes classroom instruction and field exercises where trainees hone their snow plow driving skills.

"MnDOT puts a high priority on making our roads safe for motorists," said Deputy Commissioner Khani Sahebjam. "Our Snow Plow Operator Training Program is one of the reasons we continue to improve our snow and ice removal operations."

NPHQ is a national coalition of public highway agencies, industry organizations and private firms founded in 1992 as the National Quality Initiative. For more than 15 years, NPHQ has brought public highway agencies and private industry together to lead the advancement in highway quality, safety and service to the highway users. For more information on the NPHQ and its awards program, visit: