The retirement of Jim Ross as chief engineer in December challenged ITD Director Dave Ekern to find a suitable replacement. The process to find a permanent replacement will begin in March.
Ekern recently announced that Charlie Rountree has been promoted to Deputy Director/Chief of Transportation Planning and Programming. “This is consistent with the approach used in which Jim served as Deputy Director/Chief Engineer,” Ekern said.
Steve Hutchinson will assume the interim position of Acting Chief Engineer/Division Administrator (Highways) during the transition period. Ekern expects the expanded responsibilities to continue until early June.
“The next few months will be filled with much activity and questions about the next generation of the department,” Ekern said in announcing the temporary assignment. “We intend to move carefully to ensure that we maintain the strengths and improve for the future.”
At the same time, Ekern expressed his appreciation for Ross’s contributions the past 35 years.
“We all know how much effort, commitment and sacrifice it takes to serve in this business. Jim and his division have helped transform the department and established a firm foundation for us to build on.”
Several other key positions have been filled at ITD recently.
Bill Shaw has been named Enterprise Architecture group manager (see separate Transporter story), and Gail Ewart was selected to be the department’s Transportation Enhancement Program coordinator. Since joining ITD last March, she has made important updates to the application process, updated the enhancement program Web site and is managing all activities of the program. She can be reached at 334-8469.