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ALDOT agronomist honored with national award

Steven Drake poses beside a tractor.
Agronomist Senior Steven Drake poses beside a tractor.
Mar 22

Steven Drake doesn’t like to talk about his accomplishments. It’s just not his nature.

The seven-year agronomist senior would rather talk about how his 18 employees throughout the West Central Region should receive praise and how they make him look good. However, Greg Wall, representative for Helena Chemicals was determined to showcase Drake’s work.

Putting in the work and seeing the direct results of your work is fulfilling.

Steven Drake, Agronomist Senior for the Alabama Department of Transportation

Wall nominated Drake for the National Roadside Vegetation Management Association (NRVMA) award, which recognizes individuals who have excelled in their efforts to maintain the nation’s roadways. Individuals are nominated based on their overall program results, individual efforts or leadership qualities.

Drake received the award at a celebratory luncheon in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“Greg saw my work and was impressed,” Drake said. “He felt the need to recognize me even though I told him it wasn’t necessary, but he insisted. Honestly, there are so many other people who deserve this. I don’t deserve it. My guys deserve the award because they do all of the work.”

Vegetation management is the process of promoting stable, low-growing plants and stopping weeds or unwanted growth. If Drake and his crew do their jobs, it saves the state money by eliminating mowing cycles and improves site-distance for motorists.

“Having someone outside my organization notice the work we’re doing with the vegetation program means a lot,” Drake said. “Proper vegetation management reduces the risk for overturned tractors and makes it safer for everyone, too.”

Drake said he’s not satisfied, even though he won the award. He wants to continue learning different tips and techniques so he can apply those within the region and have the vegetation program grow even more.

“We’re always looking to get better,” Drake said. “Putting in the work and seeing the direct results of your work is fulfilling. I want to see what other agencies do and see how we can incorporate any cost-saving or time-saving measures into what we do.”