Transportation News, Volume 18, Number 11, July 1993 Page: 1
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T-News this month is full of firsts:
The first business logo sign in Texas
was unveiled near Ozona June 17.
The signs will appear along Inter-
states in counties with less than
20,000 people. Page 2
The first Great Colorado River Canoe
Challenge was taken up by 18
TxDOT employees. They didn't win
the race, but they helped show the
river is a fun place to relax. Page 5
The first complete rewrite of the
standard specifications book has
been issued. The sixth edition of the
'yellow book' took five years to
complete. Now it's blue, by the way.
The first emergency call boxes in
Texas were installed as part of a pilot
project on parts of Interstate 27 in
Hale County, US 77/83 in Cameron
County and 1-30 in Tarrant County.
On our Covers
The Continuous Improvement logo is
one you'll be seeing a lot of. Find out
what the big deal is on pages 8 and
9. On our inside cover, Richard G.
Sanders, left, of the Austin District
explains an Austin-area hazardous-
materials retention pond to Executive
Director-elect Bill Burnett.
by the Division of
Travel and Information,
Texas Department of
Transportation, 125 E. 11th
Street, Austin, Texas 78701-2483.
Manuscripts, photos, news tips
Invited. Send submissions to above
address or telephone the editors at
512/463-8588 or TexAN 255-8588.
Executive Editor .....................................Al Zucha
Editor............Gina McAskill Scherffius
Associate Editor.............Jeff Carmack
Graphic artist.............Susan Hodgson
Staff writers.............Cheryl Converse,
Roger Poison, Victor Rodriguez,
Meredith Whitten, Emily Willingham
Staff support .............Pam Bias-Swain,
Kerry Kutch, Diana Ward
Staff photographers..........Geoff Appold,
Jack Lewis, Gay Shackelford,
Griff Smith, Kevin Stillman
Photo librarian ....................................Anne Cook
Burnett interested in getting
results, having fun doing it
William G. Burnett, district engineer in El Paso,
will become executive director of the department
Oct. 1. At 44, he will be the youngest executive
director since Dewitt Greer. He was last inter-
viewed for Transportation News in the October
1989 issue. In this interview, seven T-News staff
members questioned Burnett to elicit a glimpse into
the personality and goals of TxDOT's new leader.
Transportation News: You've taken a lot
of interest in training young employees to take on
responsibility early. How do you think that is best
Bill Burnett: With young talent-young being
new on the job, not physical age-the more you
challenge them, the more they will rise to the task,
the more they will advance their careers and the
better they will accomplish the department's goals.
TN: In your 1989 Transportation News conversa-
tion, you said, "I will try to operate under the
philosophy of keeping stress out of my life. When I
go home I actually do turn the department off until
the next morning." Do you think you will be able
to maintain that philosophy in your new job?
BB: Yes. I don't need stress in my life. It serves no
purpose. If you can control some of the arena you
operate in and some of players, and try to be up-
front and straightforward, I think you can run your
job without a lot of stress.
TN: Who will be your primary sources of advice?
BB: I'm going to need a lot of help. Advice and
good information are spread throughout the depart-
ment. If you need to know how to handle snow, the
best people to talk to are the folks in Amarillo. If
you want to know how to handle evacuations along
the coast, talk to the people along the coast.
You've got to tap the proper people for the proper
This not a one-man show. I work for 15,000
people now, besides the citizens and the Legisla-
ture and elected officials. In Abilene, I worked for
402 people. In El Paso, I worked for 381, and
Oct. 1, I work for 15,000.
TN: In your previous interview, you also said, "If
I've got one management flaw, it's that I'm over-
involved in some things." Have you gotten better
BB: I hope so. When I went to El Paso, my admin-
istrative assistant, Brenda Mitchell, told me, "Bill,
quit messing with the little stuff-let the people
take care of that."
See Burnett, page 10
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Texas. Department of Transportation. Transportation News, Volume 18, Number 11, July 1993, periodical, July 1993; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth576325/m1/1/: accessed August 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.