DUNMORE -Recently, PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch recognized 30 PennDOT employees for their outstanding performance with the Star of Excellence Award, PennDOT’s highest recognition. Two employees from PennDOT’s District 4, which represents Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming counties were among the honorees.

Among them is Jeff Luongo, Acting Manager of the Pike County PennDOT office.

"I am honored to present the Star of Excellence Award to our employees who embody the drive and dedication that are so vital to keeping PennDOT moving," Schoch said. "While they work in every area of the department, they have the common goal of achieving excellence and are an example for the rest of us."

Local winners Jeff Luongo and Joseph Antosh were honored Wednesday afternoon at an awards luncheon at the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg.

"Jeff and Joseph work hard and are deserving of this award," District Executive George Roberts said. "We are fortunate to have them as part of the PennDOT team."

--- Jeff Luongo

While acting as county manager, Jeff Luongo put together an extremely aggressive work plan for Pike County. He implemented the use of a Gantt chart that allows employees to keep up to date on scheduled tasks and completion dates. In addition to his regular summer maintenance activities, he took time to focus on areas where winter ice conditions had created concerns for the traveling public. Jeff assumed the role of acting manager during a time when his county was struggling to fix its failing infrastructure.

He was faced with a tornado, two hurricanes and at least one major tropical storm. Jeff used his prior experiences to foster respect between management and employees alike. He has shown care and compassion for his employees and keeps his internal and external lines of communication open. Jeff Luongo epitomizes the qualities of an outstanding PennDOT employee.

--- Joseph Antosh

Joseph Antosh is the Information Technology Coordinator for District 4.

Joseph came to PennDOT during a busy time in the Information Technology Department. He only had three months to become familiar with the organization before three major IT rollouts took place over a four month window. These large initiatives converted the entire phone service to Voice Over IP (VoIP), replaced every computer and consolidated all printers in the entire district. Joseph successfully coordinated VoIP and replaced 170 telephones during the month of September alone! In November, he replaced 217 computer systems across six county offices with assistance.

In December, he replaced another 207 computer systems in the district office, all with minimal interruption. Based on his work ethic and motivation, Joseph has demonstrated his leadership and communication skills effectively. These large IT projects required him to understand the needs of each business community at PennDOT. Without his commitment, the equipment would not have been deployed with minimal interruption to operations.

To see the complete list of winners statewide, visit www.dot.state.pa.us and click on "News Releases."

The Star of Excellence Awards are presented annually to employees who represent the department’s values of service, performance and integrity. The recipients represent a variety of organizational positions, spanning from highway maintenance and driver and vehicle services workers, to programming specialists, communications staff and design and engineering specialists.