Business Center

Intern Success Story: Marcus Ritosa

By Corey J. Niemeyer & Michael J. Shull, Process Improvement Interns
Posted: Nov. 12, 2017

This is the third in a series of articles that will feature CDOT's collegiate interns.

marcus ritosa and michael shull

Fellow former CDOT Process Imptritorovement interns Ritosa (left) and Shull (right)

Marcus Ritosa was a Process Improvement (PI) intern at CDOT's Denver headquarters in 2014 and is now working for the Denver Department of Human Services (DHS) as a Lean facilitator. Ritosa facilitates focused workshops driven to consolidate best practices already in use and spreading those practices to the rest of the organization.

Ritosa's goal is to ensure that everyone within the DHS possesses similar Lean cognitive concepts and tools, giving them the ability to deliver equally high levels of value to their clients. Ritosa boasts that his internship at CDOT has helped successfully position him to reach this goal.

Continuing to Build Strengths

Ritosa discovered the PI internship while pursuing a graduate degree at the Colorado School of Mines. He believed the internship would help him by "…continuing to build on my strengths, but also diversifying my skills within the government sector."

Prior to interning at CDOT, Ritosa gained several years of experience as a process, manufacturing, and industrial engineer. He describes the common thread of his previous career duties as "…identifying a developing opportunity for improvement and empowering people to be innovative with their challenges."

Bringing Innovative Brainstorming to CDOT

Ritosa enthusiastically explained that PI interns are critical in making each improvement project reach as many people as it can.

"...interns act as amplifiers and help shed new light to old challenges," Ritosa said.

Such experiences derive from the intern's current academic research and studies, which employ modern problem-solving tools. CDOT's PI Director Gary Vansuch boasts that "collegiate interns bring a wealth of new knowledge and energy that helps drive better solutions to problems that past generations have endured for centuries." Additionally, employing interns forges a strong connection between CDOT and academia, propelling projects with innovative brainstorming and research-based solutions.

Key Components that Propelled Ritosa's Career

According to Ritosa, the most important part of the internship was assisting with the facilitation of two rapid-improvement events (RIE).

One focused on an interdepartmental statewide print shop improvement. Ritosa specifically outlined that learning how to identify problems, opportunities, and stakeholders—as well as how to have and encourage the right conversations—were paramount to moving a project forward successfully. Furthermore, Ritosa identified these fundamental values as key components that have propelled his career.

One of the largest challenges Ritosa faced during his time as an intern at CDOT was the fact that there are so many different voices and perspectives within CDOT to be heard. The question of "is there really a process owner?" was sighted by Ritosa as one of the toughest questions to answer. Ritosa's advice to new and current interns is to form a coalition of sponsors at the birth of every project. Sponsors will become your resource for key background information and help propel the project in the right direction.

Ritosa feels fortunate to have worked with a group of dedicated professionals who were always willing to lend a hand and mentor him during his tenure at CDOT. This amplified Ritosa's confidence and success during various projects while also providing a strong foundation for his career.

"If something is going to make a positive change, it deserves your energy," Ritosa said.

How Do I Hire Interns?

Learn about how to utilize CDOT's internship program in your division by referencing the CDOT Collegiate Internship Handbook.