Joel DeNunzio, Charlottesville Residency Administrator
Where were you born (and raised, if different)?
I was born in Potsdam New York and lived there for about 8 years. My family then moved to Defiance Ohio, then on to Pittsburgh, PA and finally Richmond VA. I normally consider myself to be raised in Richmond.
When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?
I initially came to Charlottesville to attend UVA. After I graduated, I moved back to Richmond and worked in the VDOT Central Office. During my training at VDOT, I was assigned back to Charlottesville on a construction project that built the bridges on Route 29 over the South Fork Rivanna River. I finally relocated permanently to Charlottesville when I got married and my wife and I decided to come here.
What neighborhood do you live in now?
I live in a subdivision in Albemarle County just south of the City of Charlottesville.
Family (spouse, kids, etc.)?
I am married and we have two children. My daughter is three and half years old and my son is 9 months old.
What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?
I graduated from UVA in 2000.
What were you doing before you came to work for VDOT?
I have worked at VDOT since the week after I graduated high school. So I guess the answer is that I was going to High School.
Your job title is Charlottesville Residency Administrator – what, in your own words, would you say you do?
The Charlottesville Residency office is responsible for the maintenance of public roads in Albemarle, Greene, Louisa and Fluvanna Counties. We have eight Area Headquarter offices who area responsible directly for the maintenance of the area roads. My job involves managing the residency to make sure that we are adequately maintaining the roads and spending the maintenance funding appropriately. I also work with the localities as their main point of contact for all road related issues.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
The best part of my job is working with the local government and road users on road related issues and making sure that we can meet the needs of the traveling public on a daily basis. The most challenging part of my job can be determining priorities for maintenance or improvements while working with limited funding.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
Everyone in some way uses the roads whether it’s to drive to work, get dropped off at school, deliver goods that we use on a daily basis or to go somewhere for recreation. It is my responsibility that they get to their destination in a safe manner.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with VDOT?
While in Richmond I had the opportunity to work on a number of projects in the Williamsburg area. I designed the part of the Capital to Capital Trail starting in Jamestown and ending in Charles City County just on the west side of the Chickahominy River. I was also the road engineer for the Route 5 bridge over the Chickahominy River that included a section of the trail. It was a very unique and rewarding project experience to be on the design team for the trails and the bridge. There is a great deal of history in the area and a lot of the preliminary work included an archeological site close to the river and a Revolutionary War battlefield in Green Spring. We had a number of requirements to ensure that we preserved the historical nature of the area and I learned a lot of history of the area during the projects.
What is a little-known fact about you?
My initial career goal was to be a musician and tour the country but at some point I decided to stick with engineering. I still like to play the drums out and about when I have the opportunity.
What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc.?
I like to play music, brew beer, spend time with my family and build any little project that I decide will be fun.