Title: Senior Vice President and Strategic Development Director
Firm: AECOM Capital
Samara Barend’s expertise in social infrastructure, transportation and utilities projects and her efforts in aiding legislation supporting tax-exempt financing has helped bridge the divide between public and private markets and has earned her recognition as an innovative thinker and coalition builder.
In her position as senior vice president and strategic development director at AECOM Capital, where she has worked for five years, Sam focuses on deal development – sourcing and origination – within public-private partnerships and national infrastructure financing for the Los Angeles-based investor and developer of infrastructure, renewable energy, and real estate projects.
Prior to AECOM, Sam was the executive director of the New York Commission on State Asset Maximizations, which was charged with exploring P3s.
Early in her career, Sam spearheaded the I-86 campaign to convert New York State's Route 17 into Interstate 86 – creating over 8,000 new jobs and more than $3 billion in economic development. She also founded the Performance Based Buildings Coalition, an advocacy group in federal tax-exempt bond law for the private financing of public infrastructure.
Sam’s leadership with the PBBC demonstrates her “endless creativity in putting forth actionable solutions to the infrastructure challenges plaguing our country,” said Martha Wooding of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The bill creates $5 billion in private activity bonds for public buildings. “Sam’s work in leading the PBRC has brought a voice to this federal need,” Wooding added.
“Congressional lawmakers have made progress toward legislating PABs issuance for vertical infrastructure projects as a direct result of Sam’s tireless work and active leadership,” said Tim Wilschetz of KPMG LLP.
Sam is also no stranger to politics as one of the youngest women to run for federal office as the Democratic candidate in New York's 29th U.S. Congressional district race in 2004. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Sam received her Master’s in public policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
When she isn’t involved in deal origination, Sam is a lifelong Buffalo Bills fan who resides in Bronxville, N.Y., and is mom to a three-year-old toddler and newborn.
“Leaders in all of the professions involved in P3 project development recognize Sam's unique combination of insight, enthusiasm, team building skills, and strong determination to take on a significant challenge and surmount obstacles and work steadily and untiringly toward a successful conclusion. She believes strongly in the public purpose underlying the need for infrastructure development and for new tools and approaches to achieve this key societal imperative.” Eric Petersen, Hawkins, Delafield & Wood LLP