LOS ANGELES — Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced May 9 the appointment of Ford Fuchigami as interim director of the state Department of Transportation.

Fuchigami's nomination has to be confirmed by the state Senate.

He would replace Glenn Okimoto, who has served as DOT director since 2010.

Fuchigami was appointed DOT deputy director in December 2010 to oversee the state's 15 commercial and general aviation airports. Tasked with the development and improvement of a safe, attractive and efficient airports system, he has played an important role in bringing new airlines and new direct routes to Hawaii, according to a release.

"Ford has done a tremendous job over the past three years as chief executive of the state's airports system by collaborating with major stakeholders and partners," Gov. Abercrombie said in a prepared statement. "This dedication, along with his experience and skills, will go a long way in improving all spectrums of Hawaii's transportation network."

Okimoto is returning to the University of Hawaii, where he formerly served as the university budget director. His new position will be administrative affairs program officer where he will be in charge of capital improvement and repair and maintenance for the UH Manoa campus. He will report to the vice chancellor of administration, finance and operations.

"Glenn is an amazing leader and has done great work moving the DOT in the right direction," Abercrombie said. "He has laid a solid foundation for the department to build upon and improve our airports, harbors and highways."

As director, Okimoto has been instrumental in moving projects forward across all divisions, according to the governor's office. This year has been a record-breaking year for DOT with more than $869 million in projects out to bid and approximately $500 million in construction.

Working for more than three decades in the hospitality industry, Fuchigami has extensive experience in business development, employee relations and operations management.

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