Wright to retire from AASHTO; group seeking replacement

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WASHINGTON – Frederick G. “Bud” Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, plans to retire at the end of this year, as AASHTO begins a nationwide search to replace him.

Wright announced his retirement at AASHTO’s Spring Meeting in Franklin, Tenn., after informing the group’s board of directors of his plans.

John Schroer, AASHTO’s president and Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Transportation, said the group will begin the search for a new executive director.

Wright, who has spent 43 years working in the transportation sector, became the 104-year-old association’s seventh executive director in November 2012. He broadened the group’s focus to include all modes of transportation, among other things.

Prior to that, he was a consultant based in Alexandria, Va. He was executive director of the Federal Highway Administration from 2001 to 2008, helping the administrator establish policies and programs for the $40 billion federal-aid highway program.

From 2001 to 2002, he was FHWA’s program manager for safety and before that, was director of the agency’s Office of Budget and Finance, where he worked on the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).

He began his career as an economist in FHWA’s Office of Planning in 1975. In 1986 he served with the Senate Appropriations Committee staff under a congressional fellowship. In 1989-1990, he was on the National Transportation Policy Team under former Transportation Secretary Samuel Skinner and after that he was a special assistant to FHWA’s executive director.

In 1992, Wright was the first non-engineer to serve as an FHWA state-level (Nevada) division administrator.

Wright received numerous government awards during his career. He has a B.A. in economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va.

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