VDOT Commissioner to Speak on Role of State Transportation Agencies in 21st Century

April 13, 2007 -- David S. Ekern, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation, will present a speech entitled “At the Crossroad — Building for the Next Generation” on Tuesday, April 17, at 3:30 p.m. in the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia.

Ekern’s presentation, which is part of the Spring 2007 Distinguished Speaker Series organized by U.Va.’s Center for Transportation Studies, is free and open to the public.

The speech will explore the way in which the essential role and purpose of state departments of transportation is changing from builders of infrastructure to providers of services to enhance mobility. The presentation will also examine how VDOT is delivering 21st century services through a strategic focus on improving project/program delivery, improving safety, enhancing system operations, planning and innovative finance, and organizational development.

Appointed by Gov. Timothy Kaine as VDOT commissioner in September 2006, Ekern had previously been director of the Idaho Transportation Department. Prior to that, he served 33 years with the Minnesota Department of Transportation as assistant commissioner, assistant chief engineer and as a district engineer. He also held positions in environmental policy, project development, planning and operations.

From 2001 to 2003, he was on assignment to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Offices. In that role, he focused on initiatives and policy developments that are changing the face of transportation agencies in the United States.

Ekern is a member of numerous professional associations and societies and has earned the standing of Fellow in the American Society of Civil Engineers. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota and his Masters of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas.