Published on Tue, Oct 4, 2011
Read More Local News
A Marysville employee's critical thinking skills has resulted in savings of approximately $300,000 on the 156th Street overcrossing project.
Mayor Jon Nehring on Sept. 26 presented Kari Chennault, a program engineer and surface water supervisor in the city's engineering division, with a 'Dare to Soar' Innovative Service Award for her creative idea that resulted in design changes on the multi-million dollar city transportation project.
The award recognizes an employee who comes up with innovative ideas for conducting the public's business that demonstrate true cost savings or improve service delivery to citizens.
Chennault, who has worked for the city for nearly nine years, was reviewing drainage plans and associated costs for the 156th Street overcrossing project in the Lakewood-Smokey Point area. She noted that there were several expensive aspects of the plan involving large treatment manholes and installation of new infiltration facilities.
Realizing the expense associated with these items, Chennault questioned not only the rationale but the methodology, and ultimately inquired as to whether these expenses could be eliminated by diverting water in the associated drainage area to the city's existing regional pond facility.
After internal discussions, Chennault coordinated with consultant engineering firm Otak to take a look at the feasibility of this option, which ultimately came to fruition and was incorporated as a design change.
Asst. city engineer John Cowling, who nominated Chennault, said her actions led to a project cost savings of about $300,000, as the majority of the proposed new facilities were no longer necessary.
Mayor Nehring noted that Chennault showed the type of ingenuity and creative thinking that government needs and taxpayers should expect in tough financial times.
"Rather than relying solely on top-down, command level instructions, we have encouraged city employees, on their own initiative, to come up with ideas for ways to cut costs in their departments. Kari went above and beyond in meeting this challenge," Nehring said. "It started with stepping back and viewing a major project from a different angle."
Employee-generated ideas in 2011 thus far have resulted in cost savings of $362,000.