When did you start with DDOT?
Bernard Jackson started with DDOT back in 1965 when it was the District Department of Highways and Traffic. At that time, Mr. Jackson’s father had just completed 30 years with the Department of Highways and Traffic Mobile Equipment Division. Mr. Jackson was encouraged by his mother to follow in his father’s footsteps and so he started his career as a laborer in the District’s Mobile Equipment Division. Today Mr. Jackson serves as an Engineering Equipment Operator in DDOT’s Transportation Operation Administration (TOA).
What positions/roles have you held at DDOT?
Soon after Mr. Jackson started with the Mobile Equipment Division he was detailed to various posts in other departments. His assignments included stints in the mail house, shuttle bus operations and serving as the personal driver for then Deputy Mayor Gram Watt. Mr. Jackson at that time had a young family and found himself working long extended hours that pulled him away from family. To help restore balance between work and family Mr. Jackson returned back to the Mobile Equipment Division after completing his detail assignments. There Mr. Jackson was mentored by his colleagues about the many facets involved with the machinery he was tasked with operating. He learned fast and took on a great appreciation for the skill set he developed over the years. Mr. Jackson explained his skill set includes the ability to address unique circumstances and issues with practical and logical approaches derived from the experience and knowledge he has gained over the years at DDOT.
Mr. Jackson also takes great pride in mentoring new equipment operators. For the past eight years he has been instrumental in conducting the training program for front end loader operators. He enjoys passing on skills and teaching key basics. He challenges those that he mentors and trains to not only do it his way but to also add their own touch to it. Mr. Jackson stressed the importance of loving and liking what you do and noted “your work is your signature”.
Key accomplishments you have achieved at DDOT.
Amongst Mr. Jackson’s key accomplishments achieved at DDOT are the countless contributions he’s made over the years to ensure the Districts infrastructure network remains safe for all that use it.
Such contributions included the critical role he played when a pedestrian bridge over Kenilworth Avenue collapsed after a vehicle struck its main support system. Mr. Jackson was on his way to return a front loader to storage, shortly after completing his shift, when he was called upon to provide emergency assistance at the scene of the bridge collapse. With the right equipment on hand Mr. Jackson was able to expeditiously clear the entire bridge from the six travel lanes on Kenilworth Avenue that day to maintain a safe passageway for the traveling public.
The day of the WMATA Metro train derailment accident in 2009 Mr. Jackson was called onsite to create the makeshift road used by emergency response teams to access the scene of the accident. It took Mr. Jackson over six hours to accomplish this task amidst the scene of a great tragedy.
Mr. Jackson’s contributions have not gone unnoticed. He’s received numerous accolades and acknowledgements for his contributions from DDOT and other agencies. He treasures the letters he has received from various directors at DDOT to thank him for his service and congratulate him on his contributions. He’s received numerous certificates over the years for length of service, appreciation for service, excellence in training and public service to name a few.
Greatest influences / role models in your career?
Mr. Jackson attributes much of his success to his co-workers and the leadership at DDOT. Mr. Jackson acknowledged the special bond and type of working relationship that he and Mr. Thomas Bell have developed over the years on various projects. During snow operations he and Mr. Bell have together tackled some of the busiest shifts at the salt dome on W Street. Their team approach allows them to get the job done in a safe and efficient manner.
Mr. Jackson shared he has worked with over six directors at what is now DDOT and that each of them have contributed something unique to his experience. For example, former Director Dan Tangherlini acknowledged his skill set and his volunteer efforts associated with river clean-up activities. Mr. Jackson shared that this support from leadership influenced him to give his best both at work and in the community.
What do you appreciate the most about DDOT?
Mr. Jackson said he is proud of the respect he has gained from his colleagues and leadership at DDOT for doing what he loves.