i-4 Ultimate

April 2021

* I-4 Ultimate Deputy Project Manager Closes Out 32-Year Career With FDOT
* Drive Safe, Work Safe, Save Lives During Work Zone Awareness Week
* Employee Spotlight: Greg Howell
* I-4 Ultimate Helps Communities Get in Touch with Their Artistic Side

I-4 Ultimate Deputy Project Manager Closes Out 32-Year Career With FDOT

Click on image above to view video.

Jennifer Vreeland didn’t spend much time in bulldozers or backhoes during her long and distinguished career at the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), but she broke a lot of new ground just the same.

Vreeland, who is retiring this year, helped pave the way for several major projects at the agency, including FDOT’s early efforts at using design-build strategies to safely accelerate construction and the huge I-4 Ultimate Improvement Project – the largest-ever infrastructure project in Florida’s history.

Some members of the public may know her as a contact point for questions and concerns, but colleagues know her as an accomplished civil engineer with a love of transportation and the people who work to improve it. Those same colleagues are taking time not only to praise her work, but to celebrate the person they’ve come to admire.  

They recall dependability, calmness and an attitude that met each new challenge with a determined, “I am on it,” four words that always reassured Loreen Bobo, P.E., Director of Transportation Development for FDOT District Five.

She described Vreeland as “the perfect balance of someone that you want to have on your team. As Jennifer and I embarked on getting I-4 Ultimate off the ground and then running, I was so glad to have her expertise.”

Quiet Strength, Impressive Record

Paul Wabi, P.E., who is the I-4 Ultimate Construction Program Manager, said that, at first, he only knew Vreeland as someone who made sure everything in a project was on track. No small task, to be sure.

“The glue that binds together all aspects of a project before it’s sent out to construction,” he said of Vreeland. “When I joined the team on I-4, I learned about her career and the person that she is.” 

The more he learned of her accomplishments, the more he realized there was a strong drive under that calm demeanor. Impressed, he ticked off several projects to which Vreeland contributed greatly before taking on I-4 Ultimate, including:

  • Three pedestrian bridges, on Clyde Morris Boulevard in Daytona Beach, U.S. 17-92 in Maitland, and Fay Boulevard in Brevard County.
  • The Equestrian Bridge over I-95, the Lake Panasoffkee Bridge on I-75, and the I-4 bridge replacement over the St. Johns River.

All were successful. “This was only possible through her unrelenting dedication to her work and exceptional personality,” Wabi said.   

From Army Brat to Top-Notch Engineer

Vreeland knew she wanted a career that would allow her to help others and leave a positive mark on the world. Discovering it, though, was not exactly a precise science.

“I pretty much stumbled into engineering,” she said. “I took a drafting class and I loved it, and that led me into engineering. I took transportation classes and I loved them. That led me to the Florida Department of Transportation. And I’ve been there ever since.”

Though seemingly accidental, perhaps managing road-improvement projects was a perfect career choice for someone who traveled around a lot while growing up and had little say in the matter. “I was born in Virginia. But I was an Army brat, so I was raised everywhere.”

When she arrived in Central Florida, she put down roots. Graduating from Lyman High School, she attended what is now Seminole State College and earned an engineering degree from the University of Central Florida.

“I was so fortunate to work with some of the best managers at FDOT,” Vreeland said. “They all gave me something. Mostly confidence and support. The consultants I worked with were all super. They taught me my job.”

Some colleagues say the same about her. “She taught me most of what I know about project management,” said Beata Styś-Pałasz, P.E., FDOT Senior Project Manager. “When Jenny moved to the I-4 Ultimate team, we kept in touch – lunches, some personal and some professional.”

Goodbye Work, Hello Future

As Vreeland readies for retirement and looks forward to spending more time with her husband and their family, John E. Tyler, P.E., who is FDOT Director of Transportation Operations, articulated many of his colleagues’ thoughts about her.

“She is truly special and completely dedicated to improving the lives of Central Floridians,” he said. “We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Jennifer’s talents and commitment part of FDOT’s largest project of all time!”

Vreeland said she’s happy about the work they did together. “I think what I’m most proud of with the I-4 Ultimate, at this point, is the fact that we’ve taken out all of the outdated design elements. The Fairbanks curve has been fixed. Our travel times are better.”

She also knows the story doesn’t end there. “Transportation will always be a part of our lives. It will grow and change just like it has for the past 100-plus years. There will forever be innovations evolving.”


Drive Safe, Work Safe, Save Lives During Work Zone Awareness Week


Everyone plays a role in work zone safety and preventing work zone collisions.

In 2019, 842 men, women, and children lost their lives in work zone crashes nationwide. According to the National Work Zone Safety Clearinghouse, 135 of them were workers, while most people killed in fatal crashes were motorists, passengers, and pedestrians.

Work Zone Awareness Week, observed April 26–30 this year, is the 21st annual occurrence of a nationwide public awareness campaign aimed at encouraging safe driving in construction zones to ensure everyone gets home safely at the end of each day.

Governor Ron DeSantis extended greetings and best wishes by signing an official proclamation recognizing Work Zone Awareness Week with the goal of protecting vulnerable workers as they build and maintain Florida's transportation future.

National Work Zone Awareness Week is made possible through a partnership of state departments of transportation, national road safety organizations, government agencies, private companies, and individuals.

Every state has its own work zone laws. In Florida, drivers are expected to yield the right of way to a pedestrian worker, flag person or escort vehicle. Drivers should also obey the posted speed limit and put their phones down when in a work zone.

The entire 21-mile length of the I-4 Ultimate Improvement Project is still an active work zone, so motorists should always slow down, follow all posted signs, be alert, and remain calm. Remember, when you are behind the wheel, you hold everyone’s lives in the palm of your hands.


Employee Spotlight: Greg Howell

Click on image above to view video.

Closures are necessary at night and sometimes during the day to continue improvements on the I-4 Ultimate project. Check out how Greg Howell, Maintenance of Traffic Supervisor, and his team help keep you on the go during construction.


I-4 Ultimate Helps Communities Get in Touch with Their Artistic Side

Conceptual rendering of “Nurture,” a sculpture to be installed at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs as part of the I-4 Ultimate art endowment program.

The I-4 Ultimate Improvement Project introduced an art endowment program to give surrounding communities an artistic flair.

The I-4 Ultimate concessionaire’s initiative set aside $1.5 million to fund permanent art installations in various cities and counties along the corridor.

Each beneficiary is responsible for commissioning its own project, giving communities the freedom to imagine a piece that captures the essence of their area – or is simply an eye-catching conversation starter.

One example is a 19-foot-tall metal sculpture called “Nurture,” currently being built for Altamonte Springs. The sculpture will depict a mother crane tending to her baby. It will become a permanent feature of Cranes Roost Park – a popular landmark for the city.

Read a short description and see renderings of the other art installations by visiting our website. In the coming months, we will feature interviews and insights about each artwork and the inspiration behind it.