Guccione creates website to keep drivers, business owners in the loop
John Guccione, project manager with the Village of Deerfield, goes over a map of the construction that will take place along Lake Cook Road at his office February 22, 2013. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 5, 2013 11:10AM
DEERFIELD— Having been dubbed the liaison between the community members of Deerfield and the Cook County Department of Transportation (CCDOTH), John Guccione knew that both parties needed a more efficient method of communication for CCDOT’s upcoming 2013 Roadwork Plan for Lake Cook Road — so he developed the website lakecookroad.com.
Guccione, Deerfield’s Public Works and Engineering Department Project Manager, developed the site to help keep the residents of Deerfield, Highland Park and Northbrook informed about how and when the spring construction will affect the area’s traffic and business. It also encourages residents to help support businesses whose sales might otherwise take a hit, as a result of people taking alternative routes to work or other destinations to avoid traffic.
Guccione said that the website will be a great resource for residents during the construction, which is slated to be completed on Oct. 26 this year.
Q: Where did you grow up and go to school?
A: I grew up in Buffalo Grove and Arlington Heights area and went to Buffalo Grove High School. I currently live in the same area and my children attend the schools I went to as a child, and in some cases, have some of the same teachers!
Q: How many kids do you have?
A: I have two children: I have a 17-year-old daughter that is currently attending Buffalo Grove High School and I have an 8-year-old son attending Longfellow middle school in Buffalo Grove.
Q: How long have you been working with Deerfield?
A: I’ve been here six years — going on seven.
Q: Where did you work prior to Deerfield?
A: I worked for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). Prior to that I was studying to be an audio engineer and was into recording and music, within that time period I ended up getting a job at IDOT. As I began there, I started to kind of climb through the ranks and work a variety of positions first in materials, then in administration and spent a majority of my time at IDOT in the Bureau of Construction as a construction auditor where I was responsible for ensuring compliance with federal documentation regulations. Any process that has federal or state money in it has a very strict process as to how the project is managed. One side of the project is building the road, and the other side is the paperwork. I worked on projects like the Dan Ryan Expressway reconstruction, which was a multi-year project that exceeded $120 million. So within one year at IDOT when there were only two of us auditors, I had millions of dollars’ worth of construction to be responsible for on oversight of the documentation.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for lakecookroad.com?
A: I was assigned to being the liaison between the community and the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways. The preceding project on Lake Cook Road provided a glimpse as to the challenges presented when working on a main route such as Lake Cook Road. The next portion of Lake Cook Road they are working on will dramatically impact businesses, and the village wanted to have a stronger hand in the project by making sure we addressed all of the business owners’ concerns and maintained driveway access. When I worked at IDOT, they sometimes had a website people could go to for information about any major construction projects that impacted commuters or businesses. For the Lake Cook Road Project, there are three communities being impacted by this project that’s managed by Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways, and knowing that I was being assigned to the position as a liaison, I thought a stand-alone website for the Lake Cook Road project would prove useful.
Q: What inspired you to pursue your current position as project manager of Deerfield’s public works and engineering department?
A: Having left a large agency like IDOT, I had a very good perspective on how projects were managed on a very large scale. When I came to Deerfield, I was the guy in the field working on the projects, doing the paper work and being audited. I kind of went from being more of an administrator to the hands-on parts of projects, and it’s a lot more fulfilling when you walk away from a construction season and you have actual subdivisions and roads that you’ve built—things that are physical, where you can say “hey, I accomplished this last year,” rather than when I was at IDOT and could only say “look at all these boxes of reports and audits that I made.” It’s more fulfilling for me to know that I’ve built something that the community will enjoy for years to come.
Q: What do you like about your job?
A: I enjoy communicating, and I like being in the field with contractors and residents. In addition to all of the capital projects that I manage, I also do all the plan reviews; if someone here in Deerfield is planning to put an addition on their house or if they are knocking down a small home and building a bigger one, I do all the plan reviews to make sure they are conforming with our ordinances and requirements. I’ve grown a lot as a person and as a professional; I like that here in Deerfield’s Engineering Department we budget, design, and build various types of capital improvement projects, while also providing customer service to residents on a wide range of items. We have to be aware of every facet of our projects instead of just working on auditing and having blinders on with regards to one small part of a larger project with IDOT. For a small town we have quite a bit going on!