BRADENTON, Fla. - Important decisions lie ahead in 2014 for the high-profile Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority in central Florida, including hiring a new executive director.
The authority board meets in special session Jan. 7 to consider four candidates whose names were culled from more than 30 applicants.
Those in the running for the job include a state representative, a chief operating officer for another expressway authority, a national infrastructure firm consultant, and an asset management and engineering firm official.
The new director will replace Max Crumit, who left several months ago after the board voted in August to search for a new executive director.
After the new director comes on board it is expected that a permanent chief financial officer will be hired to replace former CFO Nita Crowder, who resigned in June.
Those vying to become the new executive director include state Rep. Steve Precourt, R-Orlando, who is also an engineer and president of Precourt Solutions LLC, an Orlando-based transportation and infrastructure consulting firm.
Precourt represents portions of Orange County. He served as the Republican majority leader during the 2013 legislative session. He will chair the State Affairs Committee for the 2014 session, which would be his last because of term limits.
If Precourt is chosen as the new director, questions have surfaced about whether the new job might violate the state's ethics law, which prohibits former lawmakers from lobbying their colleagues for two years after leaving office.
Robert Reardon, who has been COO at the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority since 2008, said he would move to Orlando for the job.
Prior to working in Tampa, Reardon was director of public works for Wrentham, Mass.
Another applicant to be considered Jan. 7 is Jorge Figueredo, a senior vice president and director of national tolls at Atkins North America, an infrastructure firm with offices across the U.S, Canada, and in Trinidad.
Figueredo previously was executive director for the North Texas Tollway Authority and director of operations for the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority.
A fourth candidate under consideration is Phil Stevens, an engineer and COO at Infrastructure Corp. of America in Brentwood, Tenn.
Prior to ICA, Stevens worked at a number of private firms mostly in Florida, and was a project manager for the Florida Department of Transportation from 1991-1999.
The Orlando Expressway Authority has $2.6 billion of outstanding debt.
The bonds are rated A by Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's, and A2 by Moody's Investors Service.
The authority has a $706 million capital improvement plan, and expects to be in the bond market in 2014.