Onsite. Shucet (left) inspects Wilson Bridge progress with project manager Nick Nicholson. (Photo by Aileen Cho for ENR)

Shucet, appointed to the job by Gov. Mark Warner (R), came into an agency plagued by controversy, including budget overruns on major projects such as the $650-million Springfield Interchange. He initiated Project Dashboard, a Website that shows the cost and schedule status for every VDOT project, and a new cost estimating system that reduced error margins from 147 to 30% (ENR 1/10, p. 48). VDOT projects overall have gone from a less than 50% on-budget average to 85% and from less than 20% on time to 81%.

"At the end of June, we are going to launch Dashboard 2," says Shucet. "It will give you a look not just at active construction but completed construction, maintenance programs and finances. It will take transparency to a new level."

After faulty paving design on a stretch of Interstate 64 resulted in a $2.7-million repair tab and the forced resignation of a VDOT chief operations engineer in 2003, Shucet decided that all district chiefs would begin reporting directly to him–and eventually would meet with the heads of contracting firms as well.

"The idea of quarterly meetings with chief executive officers of contractors grew out of the problems on I-64," says Shucet, calling the roundtables his most important accomplishment. "It brought VDOT face to face with our partners."

W. Barry Bryant, president of Bryant Contracting, Toano, Va., likes the process. "He brought in the district administrators and the construction engineers. It was a great forum to talk about our concerns," says Bryant. "One of our concerns was...getting a [timely] response from the owner when you requested information. We worked together on a template for different types of questions and the corresponding times that the questions should be answered in." He adds: "Philip tackled industry problems and was open to everyone’s point of view."

Shucet says he may eventually return to the private sector but may end up somewhere outside of the transportation market. However, "as Citizen Shucet I’ll continue to have a thing or two to say about it," he adds.

Shucet’s replacement is to be announced this month.

lthough there is still work to be done on improving costs, schedules and the way of doing business at the Virginia Dept. of Transportation, outgoing commissioner Philip Shucet says that he is "comfortable with the checkmarks alongside the major elements" of the to-do list. After three years, Shucet will leave his position July 1 to spend more time with his family.