Chief Executive Officer/Chief Operating Officer
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the highest-ranking executive in the state DOT. This individual is responsible for overseeing the activities of the entire agency. This person often has the title “Secretary” or “Commissioner.” The Chief Operating Officer(COO) is typically the second-highest ranking executive in the state DOT. This person often has the title Deputy Secretary or Deputy Commissioner. These roles are responsible for overseeing the strategic and high-level operational activities of the entire agency.
Challenges and Opportunities
In your role, what are the most critical challenges and opportunities? Looking across the agency, what capabilities are required to successfully take them on? How can you help build the necessary capabilities? The first step is to understand these challenges and opportunities in terms of the major change forces that are driving them.
Change ForcesChallenge/OpportunityYour Responsibility
Technology AdvancementNew technology impacts the policies and processes for designing, constructing, and managing the transportation system and the potential strategies available to maximize business outcomes.

Technology also impacts the skills and tools needed to plan and program projects.
Technology Adoption. Lead the agency in leveraging available technologies for design, construction, system operations and management; ensure that the agency tracks risks and opportunities associated with emerging technologies.

Aligning Skills to Needs. Lead the agency in creating a strategic vision to adapt staff skills to leverage new technologies and sources of data to inform decisions.
Shift in Role and FocusThe agency’s approach to strategic and high-level operational functions needs to incorporate a focus on multimodal systems management and operations.

This shift in role and focus also impacts the skills needed to plan and program projects.
Operations Focus. Lead the agency in creating an organizational strategy that adapts responsibilities and strengthens collaboration with other organizations and modal partners.

Aligning Skills to Needs. Lead the agency in creating a strategic vision to incorporate hard and soft skills needed to adjust from capital intensive work to an operations focus.
Legislation, Regulation, and FundingNew legislative requirements and changes in funding availability may require rapid shifts in how activities are resourced and in reporting requirements.Agility and Resilience. Maintain active involvement in state and federal legislative and rule-making activities to ensure that the implications of changes are considered. Identify and pursue funding strategies that offer maximum flexibility and minimize risk of disruption.
Public ExpectationsIncreased expectations for transparency and accountability.Transparency. Work with agency communications and performance management specialists to enhance presentation and communication of agency accomplishments.
Strategies and Resources

What strategies can you apply now to meet today’s challenges and prepare for future opportunities? What resources are available to help support these efforts?

Where to Begin

  • Track emerging technologies and work with the appropriate agency leaders and stakeholders to create an implementation strategy and roadmap.
  • Work with the HR Lead to monitor leadership and staff bench strength and provide guidance on organizational adjustments that may be needed to align skills with strategies.
  • Stay in touch with CEOs and COOs in other DOTs to learn about noteworthy practices and lessons learned.
  • Work with agency leaders to develop strategies that will foster a learning organization and accountability for results.
  • Monitor new federal and state requirements, confer with agency policy leaders and assign responsibility for integrating these new requirements with the agency’s strategy, policies and business processes.
  • Create opportunities for ongoing, face-to-face and other meaningful contacts with staff and transportation stakeholders.


Organizational Management

  • Organizational Structure – to improve the ability of the organization to meet new challenges and leverage opportunities to improve
  • Performance Management - to ensure the agency is able to measure and achieve outcomes that make progress toward its evolving goals and objectives
  • Organizational Culture – to provide a foundation for positive organizational strategy adaptation and create a place where people can find meaningful work

Workforce Management

  • Employee Engagement – to enhance agency culture, ensure buy-in for strategic activities and improve productivity and effectiveness to adapt to change forces

Knowledge Management

  • Learning Organization – to align staff activities with agency goals, create a performance system feedback loop and create a culture of transparency and accountability for results


  • Stakeholder Engagement – to ensure buy-in for strategic activities and pave the way for new collaboration opportunities