The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced Thursday that engineer Kasandra Kim Rice has been promoted to deputy commissioner, a position held by Pat Kemp before his elevation to commissioner last month.
Rice, who has been with the DOT&PF since 1977 and serves as design and construction director for the Central Region — which includes Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, the Kenai Peninsula and Southeastern Alaska — will start as deputy commissioner next Wednesday. Her office will be based in Juneau.
“I’ve lived all over the state, I love Alaska, I love the people of Alaska, so it was just another opportunity to serve,” said Rice.
Of her appointment to the position, she said, she is still “trying to wrap my mind around it.”
Rice was a finalist for the Alaska Engineer of the Year award in 2001.
With her experience in the DOT&PF, Rice said, she has “strong working knowledge of what our mission is, and how the inner workings work.”
“I’d like to bring leadership to all the different parts and pieces and have us all working together better for the good of the general public,” Rice continued. She added, “It is exciting, and it’s a huge opportunity and a huge challenge, and I just hope I’m worthy of it.”
In a written statement, Commissioner Kemp praised Rice.
“I am extremely pleased to announce Kim Rice as the department’s deputy commissioner,” said Kemp. “Kim has a wealth of knowledge about transportation issues in Alaska and extensive experience in multiple engineering disciplines within the department including bridge design, environmental engineering, right-of-way, preconstruction and construction.”
Kemp is on vacation this week, but DOT&PF spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said he has continued to correspond with the department while he is away. Woodrow said Kemp made the Rice appointment Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, in his role, you don’t get to take a full week off when important things are happening in the state,” Woodrow remarked.
Rice’s appointment comes days after the announcement that Michael Neussl will step down from the DOT&PF as deputy commissioner for marine operations. Neussl acknowledged Wednesday that Kemp had requested his resignation.
No announcement has been made yet on Neussl’s successor.
• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.