2022 Innovation Challenge Showcase

This year’s 6th Annual Innovation Showcase held on July 22nd at the Nebraska Department of Transportation’s Central Headquarters in Lincoln was a great success! The event wrapped up another exciting year with 19 outstanding submissions and a spirited competition, with only 8 votes standing between first- and second-place winners. The Culvert Inspection Vehicle submitted by District 8 was named this year’s Innovation of the Year.


NDOT’s Innovation Challenge recognizes employees for going above and beyond in their jobs to improve the department and make a positive impact on their communities. After a month-long series of face-offs in weekly head-to-head battles, eight finalists were invited to display their innovations at the Innovation Showcase and the winners were announced. Cash prizes were given to innovations in various categories, including the Elite Eight and Director’s Office Picks.


Here are the top three innovations:

1st Place - Culvert Inspection Vehicle

Innovation Description: The District purchased a remote-control vehicle and modified it to carry a Go-Pro camera and LED light. The crew is now able to inspect and video the interior conditions of the complete culvert. The video can be sent to the District and Design for determination of culvert replacement for upcoming projects.


District 8 Innovation Team Members: Justin Ripley, John Raymond, Eddie Vodopich, Bo Painter and Carl Hart

2nd Place - Plow Protection System

Innovation Description: NDOT team members designed a sensor that attaches to the back of the plow to let the operator know that the plow blades need to be replaced. This helps operators because they don't have to constantly check plow blades for wear, and it protects the plow from being damaged. This innovation impacts the department by saving money, reducing equipment down time, and reducing shop labor


District 1 Innovation Team Members: Curt Steiner / Don Warnke / Andy Stander / Carl Rorie

3rd Place - Weather Event Mobile Application

Innovation Description: A mobile GIS application has been created that allows district workers to capture and send in data right from their phone using current GIS technology. All the information that headquarters needs can be captured (including precise location, pictures, damage details) and electronically sent in so data can be analyzed in real time, creating a single source of truth. Once data is collected in the field, the damage locations can then be viewed in real-time (if the field users have cell service) using the Weather Event GIS application in the office.


Innovation Team Members/Divisions and Districts: Matt Samuelson and Gene Colfack – District 3; Mark Kovar – District 8; Matt Baker, Jesse Schulz, Jessica Sherwood, and Julie Greenwood – Operations; Kirk Harvey, Corvin Hinrichs, and Claire Inbody –  BTSD; Julie Ramirez – Roadway Design.