La. DOTD Secretary elected First Black President of national organization

Lafayette Parish

Official Photo – Dr. Shawn Wilson

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Press Release

WASHINGTON—The board of directors of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials today elected Dr. Shawn Wilson, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, as the first African-American president in the association’s 107-year history.

The board also elected Roger Millar, secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation, as AASHTO vice president.

“This is truly an honor that I approach with tremendous humility and excitement,” Dr. Wilson said. “I am looking forward to an incredible year with AASHTO and the great people I’ll be working with at state departments of transportation around the country. One of the significant advantages of serving as AASHTO president is that it gives me a platform to address issues that matter.”  

Dr. Wilson, who served as AASHTO’s 2020-2021 vice president, has served as secretary of the Louisiana DOTD since January 2016. He manages a workforce of 4,200 employees and a $2.7 billion budget. When he joined the AASHTO board of directors in 2016, Dr. Wilson recalls being the only African-American seated at the table. Today, he is among six African-American board members – a board that now also includes 13 female members. Dr. Wilson said that while those numbers are improving, his presidential emphasis areas address the need to do more. Entitled Pathways to Equity, Dr. Wilson said this emphasis area is designed to intentionally expand opportunities within the state DOT community by creating a culture that identifies, trains, and empowers individuals in under-represented populations covering age, gender, ethnicity, and race.

“I’m interested in how we sustain that opportunity to achieve equity,” Dr. Wilson said. “How are we, as state DOTs, building a bench of leaders that reflects the population in the communities we serve? How do we diversify, not just with race, but with gender, with disciplines? How do we change what we do as a department of transportation in a way that opens up the opportunity to recruit and retain a more capable, qualified, and inclusive professional workforce?”

Dr. Wilson’s second emphasis area, Partnering to Deliver, is an AASHTO and state DOT initiative designed to create partnerships with non-traditional organizations transportation-related and non-transportation specific. The idea is to embrace the richness of differing perspectives represented in the broader transportation community, enhance awareness and strengthen understanding.

Dr. Wilson has a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Louisiana, a master’s degree in public administration from Southern University, and a doctorate in public policy from Southern University. A native of New Orleans, Dr. Wilson and his wife, Rocki, live in Lafayette, Louisiana. They have two adult children and two grandchildren. To learn more about Dr. Wilson, view his Presidential Profile video and read more about his 2021-2022 emphasis areas.

AASHTO Vice President Roger Millar has led the Washington State Department of Transportation since his appointment in August 2016. He is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He also serves as vice-chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Transportation and Development Institute and vice-chair of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America’s board of directors.

Millar is also a member of the National Complete Streets Coalition Steering Committee, chair of the AASHTO Council on Public Transportation, and co-chair of the Cooperative Automated Transportation Coalition. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1982.

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