KDOT's Julie Lorenz leaves Laura Kelly administration after four years overseeing transportation
Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz is departing state government after leading the agency for four years under Gov. Laura Kelly.
The governor's office made the announcement Tuesday morning in a news release. Lorenz is the first member of Kelly's cabinet to leave since her reelection in November.
"Julie has been a visionary transportation secretary, seeing infrastructure not simply as roads and bridges but as a powerful way to bring people together for the betterment of future generations," Kelly said. "Her ability to envision what could be and her determination to build strong coalitions have been essential to our success in closing the Bank of KDOT, passing a bipartisan 10-year infrastructure program, and coordinating billions of dollars in infrastructure funding. I am thankful for her service to my administration and to all Kansans, and I wish her the very best."
Calvin Reed, director of the division of engineering and design, will serve as interim secretary until a new secretary is nominated by the Democratic governor and confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate.
More:Infrastructure law has sent $1.5 billion to Kansas so far. Here's how it will be spent.
Lorenz has served as Kelly's transportation secretary since her March 2019 confirmation. She has also chaired the Kansas Infrastructure Hub, overseeing Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. The federal funds are expected to include at least $2.8 billion over five years to Kansas for roads and bridges, plus additional money for other projects.
Lorenz's tenure also saw creation of the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program, commonly known as IKE. The agency has more than 1,000 infrastructure projects currently in the works across the state.
She also oversaw modernization of the highway system for electrification and created a division of safety, which the governor's office credited with a 46% drop in workplace accidents.
"I want to thank Governor Kelly for the opportunity to serve Kansas," Lorenz said. "I'm most proud that during my tenure, we were able to craft and implement our new state transportation program, IKE. Thanks to the bipartisan support for IKE, we have rebuilt our infrastructure and modernized how we deliver transportation allowing Kansas to better seize opportunities and meet challenges now and in the future."
Lorenz will return to the private sector. Her final day is Dec. 23.
Before joining the Kelly administration, Lorenz worked for national engineering firms and consulted on transportation projects, while also being involved in research and a national association. She also had a previous stint at KDOT as the director of public affairs from 2003 to 2011, under former Democratic Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson.
In October, Lorenz received the 2022 George S. Bartlett Award for "outstanding contribution to highway progress."
Burt Morey, the deputy KDOT secretary and state transportation engineer, is also resigning. He is retiring after 30 years in the field. Greg Schieber, current director of project delivery, will take over as interim deputy secretary.
"It's been my honor to serve KDOT in multiple capacities throughout my career," Morey said. "Thanks to our team, we've been able to increase highway construction and improve worker safety at the same time, and Kansas is better off because of it."
This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: KDOT's Julie Lorenz leaves Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly administration