Business Center

Innovation and Improvement Lead of CDOT - Employment Highlight with Geneva Hooten

By: Sydney Lund, Transportation Demand Management Intern

February 20, 2020

Geneva riding home after work at CDOT’s Denver Headquarters.

Geneva Hooten served as the Innovation and Improvement Lead in the Office of Process Improvement at the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) for two years. During her time at CDOT, Geneva led the Lean Everyday Ideas program and worked on a number of initiatives including the Everyday Counts Program, the Division of Maintenance and Operations restructure, and the Division of Engineering Restructure, among others.

One of Geneva’s favorite projects at CDOT was the Everyday Counts Program, which is the Federal Highway Administration’s deployment of innovation through state Department of Transportations (DOTs). As the statewide coordinator, Geneva “worked with innovation champions across the state and learned about interesting improvements such as using unmanned aerial systems for survey and 2D hydraulic modeling for bridge projects.” Geneva was able to use her skills and the knowledge that she learned in the Office of Process Improvement to help leverage each project managers’ skills while engaging executive sponsors along the way.

Another impactful project was the creation of the Division of Maintenance and Operations, an effort that came together in the spring of 2019 to provide better services to regional customers. Geneva enjoyed working on this challenging project because “our team got to meet so many different people face-to-face and work together on how to move an organization chart around to make sense for the organization and employees.” Geneva worked on many influential projects while at CDOT. She says, “I am most proud of the work that our office has done in building relationships across the state and helping as many customers as we could.” Geneva was able to work with innovators from all over the state through the Lean Everyday Ideas program. She “had an impact on how people do their work by helping people feel like innovation is very much within reach.”

Throughout her time at CDOT, Geneva gained valuable skills in Change Management and the ADKAR method to change, including how to engage sponsors, teams, and management through organizational change. After taking CDOT’s 3-Day Management Course, Geneva became certified to teach others about change management.

Geneva also served as a mentor for nearly 30 interns in the Office of Process Improvement. For Geneva, co-leading the Internship Program was, “such a great opportunity for me to mentor and feel connected to people who are early in their careers. I learned from all of the interns in our office and the experiences they brought into our team.” Additionally, Geneva learned from Gary Vansuch and Michelle Malloy in the Office of Process Improvement, two of her mentors while at CDOT.

Geneva is an active bicyclist and brought a unique perspective to CDOT since she does not own a car and her primary mode of travel is biking.

Geneva brought a unique perspective to CDOT, as she has never owned a car and biking is her primary mode of transportation. Through this position, Geneva was able to flex her previous bicycle planning muscles by, “pushing the needle and changing how we do things here, even if it's in a really small way. It's been a humbling experience of learning how to work in an organization and see the progress towards making the state better for walking, biking, and transit.”

Geneva will continue serving the citizens of Colorado through her new role as Senior City Planner working in the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. Geneva will be using her experience and knowledge she gained at CDOT to apply change management best practices to planning projects. She plans on, “using lean tools and visual management to help make the work as visual as possible.”

At the end of her service at CDOT, Geneva was given a blue traveling hat, with the color blue signifying leadership, and a CDOT Leader Traveling Coin #833. Additionally, Geneva is also a Finalist in the “Next Generation” category of the 2019 Route Fifty Navigator Awards for her excellence in continuous improvement, innovation, and leadership during her time at CDOT. Thank you Geneva for your leadership and commitment to serving the great State of Colorado through your role as the Innovation and Improvement Lead for CDOT.