On July 17, 2009, Victor Mendez was sworn in as the Federal Highway Administrator – the 18th person to hold the position. In this role, he oversees the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) 2,900 employees in Washington and field offices across the country and provides executive guidance on strategic initiatives and policy.
As FHWA Administrator, Mendez directed the Agency’s implementation of President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which made $26.6 billion available for bridge and highway projects across the country, helped revitalize the Nation’s infrastructure and created jobs through more than 13,000 projects. Under his watch, states met all milestones outlined in the Act, which were very ambitious. In addition to putting people back to work, these projects helped make communities safer, greener, more livable, less congested and economically stronger.
Administrator Mendez parlayed his lifelong interest in innovation and technology into launching the Every Day Counts (EDC) initiative. He launched EDC early in his tenure – November 2009 – and identified three areas for initial focus: Shortening Project Delivery, Accelerating Technology and Innovation Deployment, and FHWA’s Going Greener initiative, which is focused on how the Agency can improve the environment through internal operations. EDC gives states a range of tools to streamline construction projects and make them more cost effective – all while drawing upon new and established technologies and working within current legal requirements.
Prior to joining FHWA, Mendez served on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team.
Previously, Mendez served as Director of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). He has more than 20 years of State DOT experience, having worked at ADOT since 1985. As Director, Mendez worked to improve the Agency’s customer service in its highway and motor vehicle divisions. Under his leadership, ADOT built the Regional Freeway System in the Phoenix area six years ahead of schedule and consistently delivered statewide construction programs on time.
In 2006, Mendez was elected president of the Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, its national counterpart. He chaired its Standing Committee on Research, the Operations Council of the Standing Committee on Highways, and the oversight group for the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Long-Term Pavement Performance program.
Mendez earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso and later earned an MBA from Arizona State University.