Jay Sween

Jay Sween headshotName: Jay Sween

Title: Supervisor, Motor Carrier Registration Unit

Division: Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

Walk us through your typical day at work.

I can honestly say there is not a "typical day." A lot of my time is spent working with staff, motor carriers, permit services and other jurisdictions (U.S. states and Canadian provinces). This time is focused on either resolving issues that can vary greatly or improving internal processes, policies and online services used by Wisconsin carriers.

What’s something that tends to surprise people to learn about your job?

The scope of the job. We have 5,800 carriers (about 60,000 registered trucks) in Wisconsin that travel interstate and file fuel taxes quarterly.

You came from the trucking industry. How has this experience helped you in your job?

Essentially, it helps me better understand our customer. Having been an operations manager at a trucking company gives me perspective on the difficulties our customers deal with on a daily basis.

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had while working at WisDOT?

I am fortunate in that I get to work directly with 58 other jurisdictions (US States and Canadian Provinces) on a regular basis regarding interstate trucking registration and fuel tax. Over the years, I have had great experiences and developed lasting relationships with my counterparts across the US and Canada. Currently, I am a member of the International Registration Plan (IRP) Board of Directors. We essentially work to set the direction of IRP as an organization, operating in the best interests of the 59 member jurisdictions. Our meetings include organizational financials, strategic planning, plan administration, jurisdictional compliance and guidance to various IRP committees (audit, education, dispute resolution, industry advisory, information technology and peer review).

As a member of the board, I have learned a lot about how a board of directors operates with respect to strategic planning and organizational development. This experience has helped me to be a better manager and more effective at DOT as I have a better understanding of these issues. We’re all dealing with the same things. This, I believe, helps me better serve our customers. Prior to serving on the board, I was the chair of the education committee where we developed educational tools to assist jurisdictions in understanding what IRP is and how it operates. Recently, I was able to travel to Ottawa, Ontario, for our IRP Board of Directors meeting. Before the meeting we toured the Canadian parliament as a group. Interesting and memorable experience.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I coach cross country skiing for the Madison Nordic Ski Team in the winter (and summer for those especially committed athletes). I enjoy riding bicycle in the summer. 

Who has influenced you most in your career? Why?

Gordon Laffin (prior manager during my years at Graebel Van Lines). He was my first boss, and I learned a great deal from his fantastic management style. He is the best listener I’ve ever met and always gave great advice.

What words of advice do you have for young people starting their career?

Never stop learning, be it on the job or on your own. Over a lifetime, you continually develop skills that not only make you more valuable in the workplace but also give you a greater level of personal satisfaction.

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