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MDOT’s Huff Has Designs on the Future
Detroit, MI native Shandre Huff is a transportation design engineer for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).
“I provide detailed plans, calculations and cost estimates that are used to construct highways, bridges and other road-related construction projects,” he explains.
“I primarily work with MicroStation - a program like AutoCAD - and a team of engineers to make it all happen.”
Huff has been with MDOT for 5 years. “Everyone uses highways and transportation systems to navigate from point A to point B. I love knowing I’m helping people get around more safely and efficiently, which helps improve quality of lives.”
At an early age, a young Huff enjoyed drawing, puzzles and building things. As a teen he enrolled in the Detroit-Area Pre-College and Engineering Program (DAPCEP), where he participated in a variety of STEM-related activities. He also enrolled in youth programs at Michigan Technological University, where he later attended college.
“Being there reinforced my belief in the importance of engineering,” recalls Huff, who’s worked on many road-related construction jobs through the years.
“Currently I’m working on a freeway reconstruction and resurfacing job along I-94 in Jackson, MI,” he reports. “It has a little bit of everything, including roundabout construction and bridge replacements.”
His last major project was Michigan’s first Flex Route along US23 in Ann Arbor.
“It was also a reconstruction, resurfacing and bridge replacement job. However, it had a twist: construction of a new, innovative lane control system,” he notes, describing how it utilizes “gantries mounted with symbols, cameras and electric message boards [to] create a warning system that’s currently cutting travel time for drivers in the area in half.”
Huff doesn’t always work on site. “But when I do,” he says, “it’s great to check out the progress of construction-related [areas in relation] to the estimated critical path, and verify the completed construction areas reflect what’s shown on plans.”
His advice for aspiring engineers is to work hard, and have fun. However, make sure to also take advantage of the opportunities that are available.
“Also, get to know yourself, who you are, and your strengths and weaknesses,” he adds. “Your journey may be more complicated than your counterparts, but reject any doubts or insecurities that may arise.”
Huff also offers this encouragement: “If things seem unbearable, then don’t be afraid to seek help. Other people have faced similar struggles and they're willing to help, if you’re willing to listen. Although you may be different than others, that doesn't mean you don't belong. Be yourself, but be willing to adapt, too.”
Make your way to michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-9623_38029---,00.html and michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-12967-27955--,00.html for MDOT jobs. Connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
Lansing, MI-based Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is responsible for Michigan's 9,669-mile state highway system, comprised of all M, I and U/S. routes. MDOT also administers other state and federal transportation programs for aviation, intercity passenger services, rail freight, local public transit services, the Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) and others.
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