On Friday, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez announced Irene Rico, recently named to head the Virginia division of the Federal Highway Administration, will become the first Latina woman in the agency's history to hold such a position.
"Irene has distinguished herself as a leader and a valued member of the FHWA," said Administrator Mendez. "Her experience - both as a skilled engineer and a talented manager - make her the right choice for this important position. She puts people first and is a great role model for public service."
Rico will oversee the state's use of more than $1 billion in Federal aid and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for highways and bridges. She will also serve as the FHWA's local representative to state and local officials, as well as numerous stakeholder groups.
"Virginia has been a national transportation leader, and I hope to help it remain that way," Rico said. "We all play a role in getting America's economy moving again, and I look forward to continuing that work in my new role."
Rico begins her new position in January 2010.