The Idaho Transportation Board selected David Ekern, assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, as the new Idaho Transportation Department director. He replaces Dwight Bower, who retired in January after nine years as head of the transportation department. Chief Engineer Jim Ross has been acting director since Jan. 3.
Ekern assumes responsibility for a department that has 1,838 employees statewide and an annual budget of nearly $450 million. He will begin his new duties on July 15.
Ekern brings to Idaho more than 30 years of experience in engineering, administration and transportation-related legislation. He has served in numerous positions within the MDOT and was involved in transportation issues nationally through the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials and the Transportation Research Board.
Ekern has been involved in initiatives such as intelligent transportation systems, asset management and defining the role of transportation departments in the 21st century.