Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

Dec. 6, 2013

Orange barrels on a highway

Nelrae Succio and Jean Ryan are recognized with the Toward Zero Deaths Kathy Swanson Outstanding Service Award


ROCHESTER, Minn. –  Two recipients were presented with Kathy Swanson Outstanding Service Awards at the Statewide Toward Zero Deaths conference. This year’s conference was held Nov. 14-15 in St. Cloud, with more than 900 traffic safety professionals attending.

The Kathy Swanson Outstanding Service Award recognizes an individual, or individuals, who have shown exceptional leadership in efforts to improve traffic safety in Minnesota, build partnerships, and mentor others in the field. This individual will also have demonstrated a long-term passion, dedication, and commitment to reducing the number of deaths and injuries resulting from crashes on Minnesota roads.

The first recipient of this year's Kathy Swanson Outstanding Service Award is Nelrae Succio, former District 6 engineer at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). She is a Rochester resident.

“Nelrae has been a staunch supporter of the TZD program for the past eight years and was instrumental in the creation of TZD regional partnerships,” said Kristine Hernandez, State Toward Zero Deaths coordinator. “In 2005, she spearheaded a three-year pilot of the first Minnesota TZD regional partnership program in southeast Minnesota.”

Succio led the development of the program by assisting with the regional structure, forming regional partnerships and formulating the first regional workshop. She also used regional annual reports to educate current and new state legislators about TZD efforts, and she was always a TZD champion and mentor internally at MnDOT.

The second recipient of this year's Kathy Swanson Outstanding Service Award is Jean Ryan, former impaired driving coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). Jean worked for DPS for more than 35 years (13 years at OTS), where she made significant contributions to traffic safety.

During her tenure, traffic deaths in Minnesota declined dramatically, partially because of the programs that Ryan created and supported.

Throughout her career, Ryan worked effectively with Minnesota law enforcement agencies, NHTSA, the Minnesota Legislature, and the courts. Her many accomplishments include: working on the ignition interlock program, creating the Driver's License Sanctions Committee, and developing an online DWI processing program to assist law enforcement officers with DWI arrests.

Past Recipients include: Major Mike Asleson, Minnesota State Patrol (2012); Bob O'Brien, Department of Public Safety and Brad Kollman, Department of Public Safety (2011); Sharon Gehrman-Driscoll, Minnesotans for Safe Driving (2010); Anne Beers, Minnesota State Patrol (retired) and Carol Bufton, Minnesota Safety Council (2009); and Bernie Arseneau, MnDOT (2008).

The Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program is an interdisciplinary partnership between the Departments of Health, Transportation and Public Safety. This collaboration began 10 years ago and since then has assisted in decreasing roadway fatalities by nearly half.

A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.

You can learn more about TZD at: www.minnesotatzd.org/



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