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New Chief Operating Officer, Chief Engineer Also Named

RALEIGH – A new transportation secretary and others in key leadership positions at the N.C. Department of Transportation officially began in their elevated roles this week.

Joseph R. “Joey” Hopkins, the former chief operating officer at NCDOT, is now the transportation secretary. Former transportation secretary Eric Boyette retired in September after serving in state government for more than 27 years.

Hopkins has worked at NCDOT for more than 30 years in a variety of capacities, including deputy chief engineer, division engineer, deputy division engineer, division maintenance engineer, and division operations engineer. He graduated from N.C. State University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.

Hopkins was a member of the Department’s Transformation Management Team and was instrumental in developing the Strategic Prioritization process. Strategic Prioritization is the forerunner of the Strategic Mobility Formula – a data-driven process currently used to help prioritize transportation projects in North Carolina.

Taking over as NCDOT’s chief operating officer is Chris Peoples – the agency’s former chief engineer.

Peoples graduated from N.C. State University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and began his 28-year NCDOT career in 1995. He held various management roles within the Materials and Tests Unit, including state materials engineer. He went on to join the chief engineer’s office and serve as the director of field support and deputy chief engineer prior to being named chief engineer in May of 2022.

The new chief engineer is Lamar Sylvester, who most recently served as the deputy chief engineer. He is NCDOT’s first African American chief engineer.

Sylvester began his NCDOT career in June of 1995 as a Transportation Engineer Associate after graduating from N.C. State University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He served as an assistant resident and resident engineer in Division 5 and had a brief stint working for Raleigh before he returned to NCDOT as an airport project manager for the Division of Aviation. Sylvester returned to the Division of Highways in 2005 and never left. He held positions as estimates and claims engineer in the Central Construction Unit, state roadway construction engineer, and state construction engineer before joining the chief engineer’s office in 2020 as the director of field support.

The department also recently announced Ryan Brumfield advancing from his role as the director of the agency’s Integrated Mobility Division to director for the Office of Strategic Initiatives and Program Support. In this position, he will lead a team of researchers, program managers, and data analysts to identify trends affecting transportation in North Carolina, lead statewide strategy and solution planning, and help NCDOT leaders prepare for the future of mobility.

Brumfield has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from UNC-Charlotte. He worked several years with the Federal Highway Administration and served as senior transportation advisor for the Appalachian Regional Commission prior to joining IMD in 2020. At IMD, he served as innovations and data branch manager before he was promoted to lead the division in January 2021. He will start his new role on Oct. 16.

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