Jodi Pavek Wheatley


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Highwaywoman


She’s a writer, speaker, trainer, and information specialist who credits Trinity for instilling in her the sense of pride in learning and tackling a good challenge.


By Donna Parker

 

Jodi Pavek Wheatley On life's winding road, Jodi Wheatley, who received a degree in Journalism, Broadcasting, and Film from Trinity in 1975, is squarely in the middle of the action, literally and figuratively. As the I-35 information specialist for the Texas Department of Transportation, she ensures groups, individuals, and businesses remain informed of the massive interstate highway construction projects.

"I just presented to the City of Belton's economic development corporation briefing them on the projects closest to them," explains Jodi.

"Tx DOT has 64 miles of highway construction in our district including three counties, 10 cities, nine police departments, three sheriffs' departments, The Department of Public Safety and a huge number of the driving public, including long-haul truckers."

Jodi's position calls upon her past experience in local television, college course content, and video production to get the job done. She has truly enjoyed an extensive and varied career since graduation including writing the book Tech Careers: Aviation Pilots which offers prospective commercial pilots a glimpse of life in the cockpit.

"When I got the assignment to do the Aviation Pilots book, the publisher told me that he'd had several people do a book but only one had ever been asked to do a second one. I was asked to do 23,000 words and gave them 30,000 because that's what it took to do it right. After he read over it, he told me that based on that work he'd love to have me do another one," says Jodi.

The penning of this book followed time she spent writing and editing course content for wind energy for Texas State Technical College/West Texas when she wrote on fiber optics, induction, welding, and the elements of how technicians maintain the wind turbines to do the job, among other things.

"I think learning is the most fun there is!" laughs Jodi. "The second is helping people learn."

Jodi says her quest for knowledge was fueled while a Trinity student where students were encouraged to be creative, solve problems, and write - succinctly.

"David Burkett, department of Journalism, Broadcasting, and Film, was the reporting professor. I actually started as a print journalism major and then switched. Dave had extremely high standards and it was a challenge to aim for his standards. On the other hand, you begin to expect this excellence from yourself. Plus, if you survived him, you could survive anything!" jokes Jodi.

Jodi says the real world experience of the Trinity professors was invaluable and set her course of getting the job - any job - done well.

"This is a lot to keep up with but a very fun challenge and fascinating to learn all of this engineering stuff. It doesn't leave much time for play but reading is still one of my great pleasures and I love to see good movies. Mostly, in the creative writing area, I'm doing acrostics - poems using each letter of a name - and giving them as baby presents for my friends."

"The pride in what I accomplished through Trinity has not dimmed. That challenge of learning never got watered down and it prepared me to face the ups and downs of the economy and life in general."

"I'm customer-oriented, dedicated to serving the public and just want to give people what they need."

You may contact Jodi at Jodi.Wheatley@txdot.gov.

Story posted:  November 2012