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Name: Mendez, Victor
Current Position: Former Administrator

Running the state of Arizona’s transportation agency has become something of a stepping-stone for recent appointees to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). At the beginning of George W. Bush’s first term, Mary Peters, then-director of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), was chosen to run FHA (and later became Secretary of Transportation under Bush). And now President Barack Obama has looked to Arizona for his own FHWA administrator, Victor M. Mendez.

Mendez attended college at the University of Texas, El Paso, earning a Bachelors of Science in civil engineering. He went to graduate school at Arizona State University, where he received his MBA.
He worked as a civil engineer for the U.S. Forest Service in Oregon and Flagstaff, AZ, before joining ADOT in 1985. Mendez spent the next 24 years rising inside the agency, starting as a transportation engineer, then up to engineering supervisor, assistant state engineer with Statewide Project Management, and deputy state engineer for the Valley Transportation Group, putting him in charge of Phoenix’s multi-billion dollar freeway system.
In 1999 Mendez became the No. 2 official at ADOT when he was named deputy director, during which he oversaw the widening of the Superstition Freeway.  Two years later, he took over the state’s transportation agency when Peters moved to Washington to take over FHA under Bush. After serving as the acting director for four months, Mendez became the permanent head of ADOT in November 2001.

In 2007 Mendez served as president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. In his earlier activities for the organization, he served as chair of the Standing Committee on Research, chair of the Operations Council of the Standing Committee on Highways, and chair of the Transportation Research Board/National Cooperative Highway Research Program oversight group for the Long-Term Pavement Performance 20-year program.
A registered professional engineer in civil engineering with the state of Arizona, Mendez is also a member of the American Public Works Association.
Mendez had two things going for him in being considered for the FHA post. First, he served under Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, who was tabbed by Obama to run the Department of Homeland Security. Second, he directed public outreach as a member of the Obama transition team on transportation.
Mendez was confirmed by the Senate July 10, 2009.
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