Minter, Cole Tapped for Top Vermont Transportation Posts as Searles Retires

AASHTO Journal, 21 November 2014

From left: Chris Cole, incoming deputy director; Secretary-designate Sue Minter; Gov. Peter Shumlin; and retiring Transportation Secretary Brian Searles.Photo by Vermont AOT. Some rights reserved.

Gov. Peter Shumlin named Sue Minter to become secretary of the Vermont Agency of Transportation starting Jan. 1, promoting her from deputy secretary as Brian Searles retires as the AOT chief executive. Shumlin tapped transportation policy chief Chris Cole to replace Minter as deputy.

Shumlin unveiled the agency’s new leadership at a retirement press conference for Searles, who leaves at the end of 2014 after the past four years in that job and an earlier stint as secretary in 1999–2003.

The governor praised Searles as an “incredible public servant, trusted adviser and friend to me over the past four years,” and said that “during his long career in public service, he has made a profound impact on the lives of Vermonters.”

But Shumlin added that “while we’re sad to lose Brian, we could not be more fortunate to have Sue Minter as the new secretary and Chris Cole as deputy secretary.”

He said Minter “is driven, dedicated and has a proven record of leadership,” both at the transportation agency where she became deputy in January 2011 and when she was the governor’s choice to take over recovery oversight a year later in response to Hurricane Irene, which had left substantial damage in Vermont when it hit in August 2011.

In September 2013, Minter led a Vermont team to help Colorado respond to severe flooding. She also supported Shumlin’s work on a White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, which delivered its report Nov. 17 to Vice President Joseph Biden.

Earlier, she served six years in the Vermont Legislature, two of them on the House Appropriations Committee and four years on the Transportation Committee.

Cole has been director of the Policy, Planning and Intermodal Development Division for the state transportation agency since 2011. Before that he was general manager of the Chittenden County Transportation Authority from 2001 to 2011, an agency that serves about half of the state population.

He was also a fiscal analyst employed by the Legislature from 1998 to 2001, and had been a policy analyst for committees in the New York State Legislature.

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