Five questions for Kevin Gregg

VDOT’s Chief of Maintenance and Operations

In July of 2019, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Commissioner Stephen C. Brich, P.E., and Chief Deputy Commissioner Robert H. Cary, P.E., L.S., announced that Kevin Gregg had been selected as the agency’s new Chief of Maintenance and Operations. Gregg brought over 39 years of international, domestic, and state surface transportation expertise in both the public and private sectors, including 25 years with VDOT at varying locations and levels.

His primary responsibility is to provide strategic oversight of significant programs across the Commonwealth’s extensive roadway network, including asset management, traffic engineering, maintenance, operations, and land use.

Virginia Asphalt Association sent Gregg five questions to give you, the reader, an inside view of his thoughts and motivations.

VAA→ Over the last 10 years, you have served in various roles within VDOT and private industry. What attracted you to the Chief of Maintenance and Operations position?

GREGG→ I saw this as an opportunity to make a difference in the organization I believe in, to influence change, to help chart the course for the future, and to begin building a bench of future leaders at VDOT. This position also allowed me to continue the partnership with my good friend Bart Thrasher. With Bart as Chief Engineer, I knew we could continue to build on the partnership we started in the Richmond District, to share common ideas, to instill an agency-wide sense of urgency and purpose, and to build ownership and teamwork.

Kevin Gregg competes in the Executive Competition at the 2019 Statewide Roadeo and Safety Training Banquet. (Photo by Tom Saunders, VDOT)

VAA→ As the Chief of Maintenance and Operations, you will be presented with challenges and opportunities. What do you see as the two or three biggest challenges and opportunities facing VDOT and the transportation industry?

GREGG→ A major challenge facing our industry is the safety of our employees and all workers out on the road. With the surge in distracted driving and the increase in work zones and night work across the Commonwealth, keeping all our folks safe is so important. Another challenge facing both our organizations is finding young folks interested in our industry and willing to put the time in to learn. VAA has done an excellent job with the VECAT program, and I believe this is paying big dividends for all in our industry. Last, but extremely important, is pavements with better ride quality, longer performance, longer life, and more sustainability, all at a lower cost to the taxpayer.

One of the major opportunities that I’m excited about is data analytics. VDOT has massive amounts of data on file. Now, with better data gathering and organizing tools, our scientists can comb through this information, organize it and show us historical and future trends, and provide data to make better decisions. We also have the opportunity to mine the data to understand better service life and materials used, to identify the best time to perform work, and much more.

VAA→ VAA is a technical association working to make the asphalt industry and the industry’s clients successful. Jointly, VDOT and VAA have worked on numerous initiatives to increase asphalt materials and pavement quality. Recently, the use of incentives and disincentives tied to mixes and density should provide long-term returns on investment. What area or areas are your top priorities to continue this partnership?

GREGG→ Quality pavements and markings, durability of pavements and markings, sustainable paving program into the future, and continuing our partnership with VECAT.

VAA→ What is one thing people who do not know you will find interesting?

GREGG→ I grew up in Bedford, nestled in the mountains of Virginia, but in the mid-1980s, I moved to the Hampton Roads area as part of the VDOT Engineer Training Program and loved being on the coast. I relocated again after completing the Training Program but moved back to the Hampton Roads area later when I was promoted to Resident Engineer and have been there ever since. I enjoy the water and the beach, I am a certified SCUBA diver, and I get out on my paddleboard and kayak whenever I can year-round.

VAA→ Any other thoughts you would like to share with our readers?

GREGG→ This as a great time to be in this industry. We all have many challenges ahead, but also many opportunities to advance the quality and durability of our pavements. VDOT has set in motion a sustainable paving program that should level out the ups and downs of pavement funding and provide predictable funding to meet established targets. We won’t always agree. But, if we are all committed to the highest quality, the safest roads, and open dialogue, we will build strong partnerships that allow us to meet the many challenges and opportunities ahead.