ROAD WARRIORS: DMV employees travel throughout Western Slope to serve Coloradans


GLENWOOD SPRINGS Wednesday, June 26, 2019 -- May was tough for Licensing Technician Misty Capozzi, of Parachute, Colorado.

The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles civil servant was away from home for three weeks during May and spent 16 hours commuting from one far flung office to another.
"That's not typical," said Capozzi, who's based out of the Glenwood Springs Driver License Office. "Once, or twice a month in the summer, is typical. It seems to be more of a thing only because there are more people taking vacation during the summer."
Capozzi is one of two traveling technicians who fill in at Western Slope driver license offices when needed. The other is Connie Montoya, who is based out of the Grand Junction Driver License Office. They perform normal licensing technician functions such as renewing identification cards and issuing licenses, it's just that, for them, the scenery changes almost weekly.
Their travels, which normally last for about a week, can take them from Cortez in the south to Craig in north and from Frisco in the east to Grand Junction in the west. Suffice to say, Capozzi and Montoya are well-traveled -- they're road warriors.
Both technicians are part of the DMV's Region IV -- the largest of the state's four geographic regions. Just as there are fewer Coloradans on the Western Slope, there are fewer licensing technicians there too, said Region IV Manager Nina Black, who often travels to the offices in her region.
For instance, the DMV's Region I only covers a portion of the Denver metro area and has 136 technicians, while Region IV, which covers most of the Western Slope, only has 42 technicians.
Region IV's geographical size and staffing present some operational challenges because eight of the region's 10 offices have fewer than four employees, Black said, adding her region's two largest offices, Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs would be among the smallest offices in Region I. As of July 2019, Grand Junction has 15 civil servants while Glenwood Springs has seven.
"When a smaller office has someone go on vacation, resign or go on leave for an extended period, Misty or Connie fill in," Black said. "Really all of my employees pitch in when necessary, especially when Misty or Connie need a break, or as staffing needs shift. They all work together to help serve Coloradans and keep the wait times down."
Such service, however, comes with a price. The time away can be rough, Capozzi said, especially since she is a single mother of two boys, 14 and 9.
But it's a sacrifice Capozzi makes willingly, she said.
"It is a sacrifice, especially because I am a single parent," Capozzi said. "Fortunately, my mom helps step in and takes care of my kids when I'm traveling. It's a lot of sacrifice, but it's also a lot of fun."
Montoya echoed Capozzi's sentiments but said the travel isn't so much of a sacrifice because her husband also travels for work and her children are grown.
"I get to see Colorado," Montoya, a California native, said. "It is a very rewarding job because I love helping people. It\'s rewarding knowing I am helping out my coworkers and the people of Colorado."
Capozzi said she enjoys seeing how each office conducts business and what efficiencies she can take back to other offices.
"I kind of go from office to office and share the knowledge," she said, adding that she enjoys seeing how each town's culture differs. "It's also really fun to see the different cultures between the towns, like Durango is more like a college town and Steamboat Springs is more of a ski town."
"It's fun to me, I make the best of it," Capozzi said. "I have friends in New Mexico, and sometimes when I'm working in Durango, they'll come up and we'll hang out."
Perks aside, the purpose is not lost to Capozzi, she understands she's there to serve Coloradans no matter the office.
"We want to serve Coloradans as quickly and efficiently as possible, because even in small towns people don't want to spend all day at the DMV," she said. "And that's what we do as travelers, we help get them in and out so they can get back to living their lives."
Montoya agreed and said being a traveling technician is all about helping Coloradans.
"It's about our customers because when we are short-handed in other offices, we can't help as many people or give them the customer service they deserve. And they deserve the best service possible," she said.
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