DelDOT's Secretary Bhatt Leaving for Colorado Agency - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DelDOT's Secretary Bhatt Leaving for Colorado Agency

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DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt
Jennifer Cohan Jennifer Cohan
WILMINGTON, Del - Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt is leaving Delaware to head the Colorado Department of Transportation in mid-February, he said Monday.

Bhatt has served as secretary of the Delaware Department of Transportation since 2011.

"Shailen has done an excellent job enhancing the state's transportation network while earning the respect of his colleagues and the trust of our citizens," said Gov. Jack Markell. "The agency faced numerous challenges over the past several years, including the need to address a significant debt load and respond to severe weather events, but under his leadership DelDOT tackled those challenges with dedication and professionalism. While this is a big loss for the State of Delaware, I am happy he'll have the opportunity to work with one of the best governors in the country and am confident Shailen's experience and leadership skills will have a positive impact in Colorado." 

Following this announcement, Gov. Markell announced Monday he is nominating Delaware's DMV Director, Jennifer Cohan, to take Bhatt's place.

"Jennifer's proven leadership skills have played an integral role in the transformation of the Delaware Department of Transportation over the past eight years, particularly as it relates to improved services and supports within the Division of Motor Vehicles," said Governor Markell. "She has worked her way up through the ranks of state government, starting as a casual/seasonal front-line worker to Director of DMV, gaining extensive knowledge and experience that will make her an ideal candidate to serve as the state's transportation Secretary."

Cohan, whose state public service career spans over 25 years, was appointed Director of the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in 2007. She has held an array of leadership positions within the Delaware Department of Transportation in the areas of Planning, Finance and Motor Carrier Safety. Previously, she worked in the capacity of Financial/Program Manager at the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) managing the states Clean Water Program. Cohan also worked with the Delaware State Legislature within the Office of the Controller General.

"I am deeply honored to be nominated by Governor Markell to lead DelDOT," said Cohan. "If confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to building on the incredible progress we've made to improve the state's transportation network while strengthening the public's trust.

Cohan's nomination must be approved by the Delaware State Senate.

Bhatt was appointed by Markell in 2010. Prior to his term as Delaware's Secretary of Transportation, he served in several leadership roles throughout the country, including associate administrator at the Federal Highway Administration in Washington, D.C., deputy executive director with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and drector of the Bowling Green/Warren County Metropolitan Planning Organization. 

"Throughout my career I've tried to go where I felt I could do the most good, looking for opportunities to make meaningful contributions as a public servant," said Bhatt. "I appreciate the opportunity Governor Markell gave me and I will always treasure the time I've spent in Delaware. It's been an honor to lead Team DelDOT. I'm very proud of the people I served with and appreciate their unwavering support and enthusiastic commitment towards improving Delaware's transportation system."  

DelDOT says some of the accomplishments Bhatt made during his tenure included work on the Indian River Inlet Bridge, improvements to Route 54 in Sussex County, the opening of the Interstate 95 and State Route 1 interchange, completing the I-95 and Route 202 interchange, and much more.

In his new role, DelDOT says Bhatt will lead the department in planning for and addressing Colorado's transportation needs. He will oversee 3,300 employees statewide and an annual budget of approximately $1 billion to help CDOT continue its mission of providing the best multi-modal transportation system for Colorado that safely and most effectively moves people, goods and information. 

The outgoing director of the Colorado Department of Transportation, Don Hunt, is returning to private industry.
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