TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The owner of a McPherson construction company is the new head of the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Gov. Sam Brownback introduced Mike King as his choice for the post Friday in a Statehouse news conference.
King has more than 30 years of private sector experience in transportation and energy construction. He's grown his company from a local concrete contractor to a premier player in the oil and gas industrial marketplace.
Brownback says King's knowledge of the industry - having "sweat in Kansas roads" - will help him successfully lead KDOT.
"KDOT plays an important role in growing our state’s economy, overseeing the infrastructure that businesses depend upon to get their products to market,” Brownback said. “As KDOT Secretary, Mike will bring a fresh perspective. He understands the meaning of hard work and has had the blisters to prove it. Mike’s hands-on experience and construction knowledge will be instrumental as we work to maintain our nationally recognized highways and implement T-WORKS.”
King says his company isn't involved in any state highway projects and concentrates on projects for the oil and gas industry. However, he said, he will put his interests in a blind trust.
“This position allows me the opportunity to serve my state and the people that make Kansas a great place to live and do business,” King said. “My experience in the construction industry and as a business owner provides me with the knowledge and understanding that I believe can be beneficial to KDOT in the improvement and expansion of the state’s infrastructure. I am excited to work with lawmakers, other state agencies, and the current employees to achieve the goals set forth by Governor Brownback through his Roadmap for Kansas.”
King's appointment requires Senate confirmation. He'll replace Barb Rankin, formerly KDOT's chief counsel, who became acting secretary in December following the resignation of Deb Miller. Miller stepped down after nearly nine years as secretary to take a private-sector job.
Brownback also reiterated his commitment to fully funding planned state highway projects, saying he won't raid transportation funding to balance the state's budget.
“Completing T-WORKS will provide safety enhancements, improve commute times, and make the kind of infrastructure improvements that will help spur economic growth and create jobs,” Brownback said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.