Business Center

Spotlight on Innovation: Jamie Ward

By Tiffani Madle, Process Improvement Intern

July 12, 2018

jamie ward

Jamie Ward

Transportation Maintenance-III
Region 1 LEI Lead

Jamie Ward has been with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) for 15 years and is currently a Transportation Maintenance-III in Region 1 which covers the Denver Metro Area. He is also an innovator and a lead for CDOT’s Lean Everyday Ideas program. Jamie is proud of his position and understands the importance of innovation at CDOT. In a recent interview with Jamie, he describes his creative thinking process as well as what inspires him to innovate.

Interview with Jamie Ward

What inspires you to innovate?

“I always try to find a solution to problems I see,” says Jamie. One major problem that he comes across at CDOT is that maintenance equipment tends to have an ongoing rust problem. Jamie was eager to find a solution to this problem and was immediately inspired by a rust prevention product that he often uses to restore old cars during his free time. “I was looking for something that could be done by the people within the patrols. That was a product I had used before and I kind of just adapted it to what we do with our equipment. Being like an engineer and building things, your always looking at a different way to do things and make your job easier.”  

Did you work together with your co-workers to come up with the idea?

Jamie started talking with his co-workers about this great idea and found that they all shared the same hobby of restoring older cars and were very familiar with this product. He says, “We all restore older cars outside of CDOT and figured out we all had that common product in mind and have used it. So, I made the suggestion: ‘why don’t we use it here?’ That’s how the innovation kind of developed and transformed.” You can learn more about Jamie’s POR rust prevention coating here

How was your idea received by others?

Trying to implement a new idea can be challenging, as Jamie explains: “In the beginning, some employees in the field were a little apprehensive on it and asking: ‘Is this something we really want to do at our level?’ After getting the buy-in from a mechanic...everybody, especially in the patrol, became more accepting of trying it out and doing it.” His idea is now being spread amongst several patrols in Region 1. When working on a challenging problem, Jamie warns that “people don’t want to get involved or overstep their boundaries on touching a piece of equipment or making a change to something without someone standing behind them.” People may be more likely to try out a new idea if they have positive encouragement and support from their peers.

In what ways have you encouraged your team to be more creative and innovative?

As a manager and a regional lead for the Lean Everyday Ideas program, Jamie often encourages his team to submit their ideas to the idea database so that they can be shared with other employees. “I’ve talked with some employees that have implemented ideas but haven’t submitted them and it’s like, ‘hey man get the information out, get it into the system.’ There’s a lot of people that don’t want recognition for things they do to make their job easier. The hard part is getting them to stand behind what they’re doing because they don’t want anything out of it. The cool thing about being a leader is being able to notice that someone did something different and that they’ve changed something and made it work for them. It can save everybody a lot of time and money.”


For questions or additional information, email Jamie Ward at [email protected].

Learn more about successfully implemented Lean Everyday Ideas here.

Have a solution to a problem? Want to share your innovation? Submit your ideas here.