Paul Wiegand
Paul Wiegand

SUDAS Program Director
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
Employees: 2
Budget: $360,000

Think how efficient your team would be if all local governments used the same specifications for common public works projects. If technical and operational standards had been vetted by engineers who know the vagaries of infrastructure projects. If the information was maintained, updated by, and available from a single, reliable source.

Iowa’s well on its way to statewide urban design and specifications (SUDAS), which the Institute for Transportation at Iowa State University estimates could save cities, counties, special districts, and townships $16 million a year. Since the early 1980s, when the state’s largest city (Des Moines) and surrounding communities began consolidating specifications, more than 300 stakeholders have contributed.

Clearly communicate your plan of action.

Paul Wiegand joined the fray as program director in 2010. He’d spent almost two decades overseeing engineering, streets and utilities, traffic engineering and control, solid waste, site review and subdivision development, and an airport for the City of Ames, home to his alma mater Iowa State University and 60,000 year-round residents.

That made him the ideal person to integrate Iowa DOT specifications.

They were developed for highway construction in rural areas, not primary highways and federal-aid projects in metropolitan areas. Wiegand’s multiyear, multiphase project to identify and reconcile DOT and SUDAS differences produced uniform specifications, figures, and design sections.

Wiegand thinks communication is key to any successful working relationship.

“Of course, bad news isn’t easy to share,” he says. “But it’s important for officials to know how your group is going to address the problem.”