Philip A. Shucet, executive vice president of Michael Baker Corp., has been named commissioner of the Virginia Dept. of Transportation. Gov. Mark R. Warner (D), who announced the selection April 10, said Shucet (pronounced Shoo-KETT) was chosen from 125 candidates. Shucet started his new job on April 15.

(Photo by Virginia DOT)

Under the state's organizational structure, the VDOT commissioner is in charge of roads, bridges and tunnels and reports to the governor, says Frank Dorman, a VDOT spokesman. Virginia also has a Secretary of Transportation, Whittington W. Clement, who oversees all transportation modes. In addition, there is a 17-member Commonwealth Transportation Board, which approves VDOT contracts. Clement chairs the board and Shucet is vice chairman.

Among the challenges facing Shucet is a tight state budget that has caused VDOT to reduce the scope of its six-year plan and put a hold--now being lifted-- on some projects. He also must keep a close watch on the huge "Mixing Bowl" interchange project in Springfield. In March, VDOT said that project could cost $650 million to $700 million, or 10% to 19% more than it had estimated just four months earlier. The 1994 project estimate was $350 million.

Warner praised Shucet as "the clear choice to bring accountability to this agency, as well as the right blend of public and private sector experience."

Shucet joined Michael Baker in 1989 and had been general manager of the firm's buildings engineering business, president of its environmental unit and senior vice president and manager of transportation in the South region. In that position, he was in charge of the team that did initial design on the Hampton Roads third crossing tunnel. In April 2001, Shucet was named Baker's executive vice president and chief resource officer.

He was with the West Virginia DOT from 1972 to 1984 and the Arizona DOT from 1984 to 1988. Shucet is a native of West Virginia and has a bachelor's degree in history from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

John Carney, a spokesman for the American Council of Engineering Companies, says Shucet's appointment is "good news for the industry" in that he "understands these problems...from the private engineering perspective."