Serving Future Transportation Needs: Strategies to Improve AK DOT&PF Professional and Support Staff Recruitment and Retention

Abstract and project information last updated: 1 March 2011. Project updates are dated below.

Robert A. Perkins (UAF)

US Department of Transportation (RITA)

Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities

1 August 2009
End Date
1 March 2011


The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities continually loses professional and support staff, both seasoned and young, a problem experienced by other agencies state- and nationwide. Besides losing the
valuable expertise of professional and support staff, the agency loses organizational wisdom and historical knowledge of project history — often important elements in designing and constructing roads, airports, structures, and marine facilities. This project describes the best ways to improve recruitment and retention of the ADOT&PF workforce, including specific management and organizational tools to help minimize these problems. The project team includes Professor Perkins, Professor Emeritus Larry Bennett, and ADOT&PF engineer Bob McHattie; together they have over 90 years of experience dealing with management and professional issues in Alaska. All current and former employees in engineering job categories or other professional job types that directly support the engineering process were surveyed. A novel technique was used to improve survey response. First, the ADOT&PF commissioner e-mailed the agency’s employees and wrote a letter to former employees, asking their cooperation. Then, the research team met with individual employees and called former employees, personally asking their cooperation. The response percentage was about 80%, which is outstanding for this type of survey. Responses to individual questions are currently being organized. Although individuals will remain anonymous, the survey results can be ordered by region and job type, to better help improve the retention process. The results are intended to help ADOT&PF secure a sufficient workforce for the future.