President Obama nominates civil engineers to agency posts

President Obama nominated two civil engineers and a transportation professional to administrative positions within the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), respectively.

Victor M. Mendez, former director of the Arizona Department of Transportation was nominated for FHWA administrator. According to a White House press release, Mendez has extensive experience in transportation, including innovations in the areas of funding and financing, technology, infrastructure, research, planning, and internal operations. He served as a past president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and in 2008 he was selected as Leader of the Year in Public Policy in Transportation by the Arizona Capitol Times. Previously, Mendez was deputy state engineer leading implementation of the Phoenix area’s multi-billion dollar freeway system. Mendez earned a master of business administration degree from Arizona State University and a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Peter S. Silva, P.E., a civil engineer with nearly 32 years of experience in the water and wastewater fields, was nominated for EPA assistant administrator for Water Programs. Silva has served in varying capacities in the public sector specializing in water resources policy with extensive experience in U.S.-Mexico border issues. He currently is a senior policy advisor for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Prior to this he was the vice-chair of the California Water Resources Control Board for six years. Silva was appointed by President Clinton to serve for three years on the board of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC). He also served as the BECC deputy general manager for three years in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Additional experience includes 10 years at the city of San Diego, four years in charge of the International Boundary Water Commission, San Diego office, and five years with the California Regional Water Quality Control Board in San Diego.

Peter H. Appel, a principal with global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, Inc., was nominated for DOT administrator, Research and Innovative Technology. Appel has led business improvement initiatives for clients in the private and public sectors, with a focus on transportation and infrastructure. He has more than 20 years of experience in transportation, and has supported organizations in the railroad, trucking, airline, and ocean shipping industries with growth strategy, supply chain improvement, post-merger integration, public-private partnerships, and other business and policy issues. Previously, Appel served as the special assistant to the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, and as assistant director for Pricing and Yield Management at Amtrak. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University in economics and computer science and a master of science degree in transportation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


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