WHEN YOU APPROACH YOUR JOB FROM THE POINT OF BEING TEACHABLE, OR “MENTOR-ABLE” AS THE CASE MAY BE, YOU WILL FIND THAT THE SUCCESS OF OTHERS WILL POSITIVELY IMPACT YOU, AND JUST LIKE A ROAD, YOUR OWN CAREER WILL BE BUILT FROM A STRONG FOUNDATION UP.
In 1962, right after college, Doyt Bolling came west to build roads. He spent 32 years with the Federal Highway Administration and supervised road construction on thousands of miles of asphalt pavement, from the interstate system to the roads through the country’s western National Parks.
After he retired from his position with the Highway Administration, he spent 15 years as the director of the Utah LTAP Center, which is an integral part of a nationwide Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP). The Center bridges the gap between research and practice by translating the latest state-of-the-art technology in transportation into implementable products and information for the special use of local transportation agencies and personnel.
Additionally, he spent two years with the National Center for Pavement Preservation, until he retired for the last time in 2011.
Throughout his 50-year career in the asphalt paving industry, Doyt was a mentor to many, paying back the industry for the relationships that helped his own career to advance. Doyt is quick to mention that anyone serving in a leadership capacity learns quickly that their job simply can’t be done without staff that’s proactive, dedicated and capable. Part of any super-visor’s job description is to mentor people.
Doyt’s philosophy can be summed us as follows:
- Pay attention to detail. Just like a road, an organization needs to be built from the foundation up, and for the foundation to be strong, you have to pay attention to what you are doing.
- Use the best materials available. It’s simple; you can’t produce a quality product with sub par materials. It’s just not possible.
- Listen to fellow workers. Learn to collaborate and be open to the ideas of others.
The asphalt pavement industry is one where new and better ways of doing things are constantly evolving, and according to Doyt, being open and willing to listen and learn will serve you well. When you approach your job from the point of being teachable, or “mentor-able” as the case may be, you will find that the success of others will positively impact you, and just like a road, your own career will be built from a strong foundation up.