President Trump intends to nominate J. Brett Blanton, a senior engineering manager with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, as the next Architect of the Capitol, the White House has announced.
The AOC's office is responsible for design, construction, maintenance and operations of the U.S. Capitol, and such other nearby landmarks as the Library of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court building and Senate and House office buildings—more than 18.4 million sq ft of facilities in all.
The previous AOC, Stephen T. Ayers, retired in November 2018. The acting AOC is Thomas J. Carroll III, an 11-year veteran of the office.
The Senate Rules and Administration Committee is moving quickly: it has scheduled a confirmation hearing for Blanton on Dec. 12.
Blanton had a long career in the Navy, serving for 22 years, before retiring in 2015, and was a member of the Navy's Civil Engineer Corps, where he oversaw major infrastructure projects, according to the White House's Dec. 9 announcement.
According to Blanton's LinkedIn page, he has held his present post at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) since January 2017. Before that, he was a vice president with ATCS PLC, an engineering firm based in Herndon, Va.
Roger Natsuhara, the authority's senior vice president of engineering, said in a statement to ENR that Blanton "is a valued member of the airports authority team, overseeing a number of key projects."
Jeff Urbachuk, a spokesman for the American Council of Engineering Companies, said in an email, "Our members in the greater Washington, D.C., area have worked with Brett in the past and we've heard he is smart, fair, professional and comes to the table with an inherent understanding of the client-consulting engineer relationship."
The LinkedIn page also says Blanton, a Naval Academy graduate, was the Joint Chiefs of Staff's Joint Engineer from 2011 to 2014. Before that, he was executive assistant to the Navy's assistant secretary for energy, installations and environment.
Story updated on 12/10/19 with comments from MWAA and ACEC.