As the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) implements the largest reorganization in its history, approved by the General Assembly in 2015, it has announced the appointment of 10 individuals to join the Department's senior leadership team.
The new hires represent a wealth of experience in project management, planning, administration and communications. Five of the positions were filled this spring, and the remaining individuals either began working this month or will do so in the coming weeks. Collectively, they will aid RIDOT's administration to effectively and efficiently manage and deliver transportation projects on time, on budget and with the highest quality while improving transparency, responsiveness and accessibility.
"As we work diligently to improve our roads and bridges, we are working hard to rebuild RIDOT itself, creating a more robust, accountable and efficient organizational structure for this agency," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. "We are getting our house in order and restructuring RIDOT to ensure we can fulfill on our promises of delivering projects quickly and effectively, and maintaining our infrastructure to the highest standards possible."
The reorganization is bringing many new faces into RIDOT, and none of these positions are held by the same persons as compared to early 2015, when RIDOT's new leadership arrived. Roughly 75 percent of the senior management team includes people new to RIDOT and also includes an inclusive and diverse workforce. Collectively, RIDOT's new senior management team has national and local experience, in excess of 350 years of professional experience. Funding for the positions are included within RIDOT's existing budget and do not represent an increase in the number of budgeted FTEs.
The Department is led by RIDOT's executive leadership team, which includes:
Peter Alviti Jr. P.E. – RIDOT's Director, appointed in February 2015 to serve as chief steward of Rhode Island's transportation program. He brings an extensive background in engineering and public works administration to the Department, serving as Director of Programs for the Laborers International Union of North America - New England Laborers' Health and Safety Fund, Director of Public Works for the City of Cranston, and principal owner of Hudson Place Associates, a private civil and environmental engineering firm.
Peter Garino* – RIDOT's Chief Operating Officer and is one of the 10 new appointments. Hired in February 2015 as the department's Deputy Director, Garino brings to RIDOT 24 years of public and private sector experience, including 16 years New Jersey Transit. He will be responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of the Department, and assists the Director with overall assistance and support with the planning, coordination and implementation of all departmental activities.
Celia Blue – RIDOT's Chief of Staff, hired in February 2016, has more than 25 years of experience working in both the private and public sectors, 18 of which include leading and managing high-performing teams and business units. She comes to RIDOT from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, where she was the Registrar/CEO of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. She is responsible for overseeing personnel, the re-organization initiative, helping to rebuild RIDOT, transforming it into a highly efficient and effective state agency, with the ultimate goal of making it the best DOT in the country.
David Fish – RIDOT's Acting Chief Engineer, a 32-year veteran at RIDOT, who recently served as Acting Administrator of Project Management, and previously served as Managing Engineer in charge of RIDOT's Bridge Engineering division. His is responsible for planning, coordinating, implementing and controlling the Department's infrastructure program, including the Division of Highway Operations & Maintenance, the Office of Stormwater Management and the Office of Safety.
The appointments include:
John Travassos* – RIDOT's Administrator of Project Management, will be responsible for implementation and management of RIDOT's Transportation Capital Program. Travassos brings 25 years of experience in the environmental and engineering consulting field, and recently came from Arizona where he was Co-General Manager of Johnson Camp Mine, overseeing the development of the copper mining operation valued at $2 billion.
Meredith Brady* – RIDOT's Administrator of Planning, has been employed at RIDOT for 5 years as Budget Administrator, most recently serving as Acting Policy Director. Brady previously served as a legislative analyst for the Rhode Island Senate for 11 years. She will be responsible for the administration, development and implementation of transportation planning including performance metrics, capital programming, bridge and pavement planning, drainage planning and environmental review and real estate and economic development. Brady also will lead the development of RIDOT's 10-year transportation plan, as well yearly coordination with the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program process.
Stephen Devine* – RIDOT's Administrator of the Office of Transit, New Starts, Operations and Transit Alternatives, is a 29-year veteran RIDOT employee, who previously served as Chief of Intermodal Planning. Devine will be responsible for the administration, formulation and development of various intermodal transportation and transit plans and programs, and management of the operations of the state's commuter rail and related systems.
Robert Rocchio, P.E.* – RIDOT's Acting Chief Safety Officer, has worked for the Department for 23 years, serving as Managing Engineer of RIDOT's Traffic Management and Highway Safety section. Rocchio is responsible for overseeing and administering the operation of a comprehensive statewide transportation traffic management and safety program and to plan, program, design and implement transportation infrastructure safety improvement projects.
Brian Moore, P.E.* – RIDOT's Administrator of Stormwater Management, comes to RIDOT from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM). A 24-year veteran of DEM, he most recently served as Chief of Groundwater and Wetland Protection. Moore will be responsible for the administration, development and implementation and management of the transportation component of RIDOT's 10-year stormwater369 management plan and program. His efforts include ensuring RIDOT's compliance with federal and state water quality standards for permitting and compliance requirements and judicial orders. (Starts June 26)
Lisbeth Pettengill* – RIDOT's Communications Director, who brings 34 years of experience in communications and public affairs, working in governmental, private, educational and business organizations. Pettengill will be responsible for developing and maintaining an overall communications program, which includes media relations, public affairs and community relations. (Starts July 18)
Pamela Cotter* – RIDOT's Policy Director, has 25 years of experience working in media, including the Providence Journal. Cotter will be responsible for supervision of RIDOT's Office of Policy, which includes overseeing policy development and implementation with a focus on expanding and enhancing customer service.
Joseph Baker, P.E.* – RIDOT's Manager of Project Management, is a 13-year veteran of RIDOT who formerly led the Department's Construction Management and Highway & Bridge Maintenance divisions. Baker will be responsible for oversight of the project management program within the Transportation Capital Program.
Richard Bernardo, P.E.* – RIDOT's Manager of In-House Design Engineering, brings over 36 years of experience in the civil engineering field, specializing in civil, transportation and environmental engineering. He also served as Director of Public Works for the City of Cranston and the Town of Burrillville. Bernardo will be responsible for overseeing the administration and operation of the project management divisional transportation engineering programs for in-house design and survey, and to ensure effective design and engineering for projects requested by project management. (Starts June 26)
* = Indicates a new hire/appointment as of Spring 2016
Loren Doyle – RIDOT's Chief Financial Officer, was appointed in August 2015 and rounds out RIDOT's management team. She has 9 years of experience working at RIDOT, serving most recently as Assistant Director, Financial and Contract Management. She is responsible for overseeing all phases of the financial administration of RIDOT, including budgetary, expenditure control, financial planning and program evaluation.
As RIDOT continues with its reorganization, it intends to hire more individuals for its project management administration. A chief focus of RIDOT's reorganization is a move to a project management approach for oversight of all its projects – an industry standard in construction used by the best-run departments of transportation in the country. Approximately 20 individuals will be selected as project managers this summer. In addition, as RIDOT moves to finalize its reorganization, additional positions will be advertised for a public hearing this summer.
Contact: Charles St. Martin (401) 222-1362, Ext. 4007