Two Area Men Receive PennDOT Star of Excellence Award

| October 13, 2021

OIL CITY, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Yassmin Gramian today recognized 32 PennDOT employees for their outstanding performance with the Star of Excellence Award, PennDOT’s highest recognition.

(Pictured, left to right: Zachary Miles and Mark Nicholson)

Two employees from PennDOT’s District 1 which represents Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango, and Warren counties were among the honorees.

“These employees represent the incredible people on the PennDOT team,” Gramian said. “With a focus on innovation, customer service, mobility and connectivity, they work tirelessly each day to provide safe and efficient transportation for Pennsylvania’s residents.”

Gramian and other department executives honored winners Mark A. Nicholson, P.E., and Zachary Miles during a virtual ceremony.

Nicholson serves as the District 1 Bridge Engineer. His work accomplishments include championing costing saving bridge programs such as link slab bridge and deck waterproofing innovations. Prior to becoming the Bridge Engineer, he managed the Bayfront Parkway Central Corridor Improvement Project, the largest design project in District 1. His comprehensive community and stakeholder engagement are recognized by the state as a best practice. In his current position, Nicholson led the response to two major bridge hits on Interstate 90 in less than a year.

“Among his colleague, Mark is known for his strong work ethic, willingness to help others, and partnerships with the communities throughout the northwest region,” McNulty said. “PennDOT is lucky to have someone with his knowledge of bridges and focus on good stewardship of the limited financial resources allotted to transportation.”

Nicholson resides with his family in Titusville, where he is a volunteer coach of the high school football team and an active member of the Free Methodist Church in Titusville.

As an assistant county manager, Miles is an integral part the success of PennDOT’s Mercer County facility. His leadership helps the county maintenance motivate and empower employees, provide a safe environment for staff and the public, and manage and balance its funding to give Pennsylvania residents the best value possible for their transportation dollars.

To achieve this, he participates in local transportation planning organization meetings, contributes to the PennDOT county safety committee and training days, and plays a major role in Mercer County maintenance’s agility program. He frequently tries to integrate new technology into his daily work activities, such as working with the bridge unit to develop an improved dewatering process for a major box replacement using an aquadam.

“Zach is known for his professionalism when handling customers and his knowledge when discussing Mercer County transportation efforts,” McNulty said. “He is well-versed in the maintenance needs of the communities he serves and is as a great ambassador for the department.”

Miles resides in West Middlesex with his wife Hillaree and their children Kameron and Carter. He volunteers as a youth baseball and football coach.

The Star of Excellence Awards are presented annually to employees who represent the department’s values of service, performance, and integrity. The recipients represent a variety of organizational positions, spanning from highway maintenance and driver and vehicle services workers, to traffic control specialists, communications staff and design and engineering specialists.


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