Janice Poplin Williams Named First Female Chief Engineer of Louisiana DOTD

AASHTO Journal, 25 April 2014

For the first time in department history, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has a new female chief engineer.

DOTD Secretary Sherry Lebas announced earlier this month that Janice Poplin Williams will serve in that role, vacated by Richard Savoie last month upon his retirement. Williams has been with DOTD since 1985, when she began her career as an engineer in training for DOTD’s Road Design Section. Through the nearly three decades she has spent at DOTD, Williams served as project and program manager for more than 1,000 projects. She most recently served as Chief Engineer of the Project Development Division, a post she has held since June 2010. Williams also previously served as Chief of the Systems Engineering Division and has received the state’s Charles E. Dunbar, Jr. Career Service Award.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Janice as DOTD’s Chief Engineer,” LeBas said in a statement. “Her leadership, administrative abilities and communication skills will be a great asset to the department as we continue to move Louisiana forward.”

In her new role, Williams will lead a staff of more than 500 engineers, engineering technicians, and support staff. She is responsible for establishing engineering standards, policies, and procedures to guide the project delivery, construction, and preservation of DOTD’s transportation systems.

“I am proud to be able to serve in this capacity for such a great organization,” Williams said. “As Chief Engineer, I will continue to work in partnership with all of our stakeholders to ensure the continued improvement of Louisiana’s infrastructure.”

Williams has been involved in various committees and task groups through her career, including serving as a vice chair of the Bridge Technical working group of AASHTO’s Subcommittee on Maintenance. Williams also served on the Federal Highway Administration’s Pavement and Bridge Preservation Expert Task Groups.

Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Louisiana State University.

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