Transportation innovator and manager Will Kempton has been named executive director of the state’s leading transportation education and advocacy group, Transportation California. Kempton joins the nonprofit coalition March 18.
Kempton, 2009-13 executive director of Orange County Transportation Authority and 2004-2009 director of Caltrans, has 40 years’ experience in transportation, public service and government affairs.
“Will’s experience in infrastructure financing and project delivery is critical right now for transportation planning in the state,” said John Franich, chairman of Transportation California. “California’s aging infrastructure requires greater amounts of costly maintenance, and our recovering economy urgently needs more efficient, modern transportation infrastructure. We believe Will Kempton’s vision and collaborative style will help forge solutions to long-term funding and other transportation challenges.”
Kempton has been credited with rebuilding Caltrans’ reputation through rapid project delivery, moving stimulus dollars into needed transportation projects and instilling a more businesslike approach at the state transportation planning agency.
Kempton has moved between public and private posts throughout his varied career, which began at Caltrans in 1976. As chief of the Office of Revenue Management, Kempton oversaw California’s capital highway budget and later, as Assistant Director in charge of Legislative and Congressional Affairs, he secured passage of numerous pieces of legislation that benefited the state.
In 1985 Kempton became executive director of the Santa Clara County Traffic Authority, managing its billion-dollar highway construction program, the first of its kind in the state. In 1992, Kempton became a partner of Smith, Kempton & Watts, a Sacramento advocacy firm, where he consulted in programs and policies to enhance effectiveness of public and private resources. In 2002, he became Assistant City Manager of the City of Folsom, and was recruited to head Caltrans in 2004.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who appointed Kempton to head Caltrans, credited him with being an “incredible driving force” in the state’s efforts to rebuild its transportation infrastructure.
“Throughout his career, Will has focused on meeting the public’s need for reliable transportation services and systems by emphasizing efficiency and best management practices,” Franich said. “We look forward to Will applying his energy and passion to create new transportation solutions that will benefit all Californians.”