FLEX Feature: PennDOT with Saxon Daugherty

Last month, we learned about a construction company, and this month we’re excited to hear about the work done behind the scenes for transportation in PA.

Tell us about PennDOT.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) oversees programs and policies affecting highways, urban and rural public transportation, airports, railroads, ports, and waterways. The agency is responsible for nearly 40,000 miles of highway and 25,000 bridges, a system first established in 1911. PennDOT employs more than 11,000 workers and has 11 engineering districts spanning across all 67 counties in PA. Many employees work in design, construction, maintenance, materials testing, environmental review, safety, and traffic engineering. PennDOT also operates 14 Welcome Centers along the interstate highways near the state’s borders.

What is your role at the agency?
I am the District 1 Safety Press Officer responsible for the northwest region, which includes Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Warren, and Venango counties. I serve as the spokesperson for highway safety through various media outlets and public outreach initiatives. Some common topics I address include distracted driving, aggressive driving, impairment, bicycle and pedestrian safety, school bus safety, and more.

What is your favorite part about working for PennDOT?
Like many of my jobs before joining PennDOT in April 2021, I love being able to interact with the community and provide them with information that can keep them safe. Acting as the Safety Press Officer has opened my eyes to new data and trends. I challenge myself daily to come up with unique ways to share a message of safety with the general public and it’s that challenge that motivates me.

What is something surprising about your employer?
Many people don’t realize that PennDOT is utilizing drone technology to accomplish a variety of objectives. The drone program at PennDOT is still relatively new, but provides pilots the opportunity to fly missions at active construction projects to document progress and/or conduct inspections of structures such as bridges to find problem areas. Earlier this year, I became a certified drone pilot through the Federal Aviation Administration and have joined the drone team at PennDOT. It is something I didn’t anticipate becoming such a critical part of my job, but it has been a pleasant surprise and has quickly developed into one of my favorite duties.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
PennDOT is organized into five deputates, including Administration, Driver and Vehicle Services, Highway Administration, Multimodal Transportation, and Planning. Additionally, PennDOT has offices with responsibilities for legal, policy, legislative and communication issues.

Learn more about PennDOT at

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) September 2022 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

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