Business Center

Intern Success Story: Rebecca Tate

By Vivian Engen, Process Improvement Intern
Posted: April 27, 2018

Rebecca Tate

Rebecca Tate

Rebecca Tate remembers her internship at the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) as a time of “empowerment” and “rapid improvement.” Now Rebecca works in continuous improvement at the Regional Transportation District (RTD). She credits the skills and expertise cultivated at CDOT to the success of her current position.

Passion for the Process

Rebecca joined the Office of Process Improvement (OPI) as an intern in the fall of 2014. Following an internship at RTD, she was initially drawn to CDOT for its leading role in transportation. From work on an external consulting project to develop business processes for Bustang, to managing the early days of the Change Agent Network (CAN) for OPI, Rebecca soon developed a passion for process improvement and change management programs.

This complemented her previous interest in the planning process – a process refined by a double master’s degree in Business and Urban & Regional Planning from the University of Colorado Denver that she completed during her internship. From her perspective, incorporating change management to consider how people transition through a project is essential to successful processes planning. “I spent a lot of my time at CDOT helping people manage the current state of affairs and bridge the gap to a solution,” she said, “which is not all that different from what I do now with RTD.”

New Perspectives

CDOT gives interns the opportunity to tailor the internship to their professional goals. “I was blown away by how much respect I received as a CDOT intern,” she said. “I never felt overlooked and people were always eager to hear what I had to say.” With that confidence, interns provide fresh eyes for continuous, and meaningful improvement.

For Rebecca, the autonomy of the internship allowed her to develop a new multidisciplinary career path. “I realized that I love public speaking, the facilitation element of planning, and working in teams,” she explained. “It quickly became evident that I didn’t want a job where I sat at a desk all the time, and this internship opened my eyes to opportunities where I could achieve that.”

Culture of Innovation

While Rebecca continues to focus on the people side of change in continuous improvement at RTD, the most valuable takeaway from her internship was “the understanding that organizations are not static and that you can create change.”  She also highlights questioning why processes are in place and pushing to make processes better as important takeaways from her time at CDOT.

Today, Rebecca applies these same principles at RTD, where she focuses on continuous improvement and wears many hats as a lean project manager. Some of her current projects include a strategic improvement to RTD’s invoice system, a hiring improvement event and crafting Intergovernmental Agreements. Her favorite part of the job is going out to garages across the state to get feedback and build connections with RTD bus drivers. Rebecca’s goal is to include more people in RTD’s decision-making process and “change the culture into a culture of innovation.”