Hoff, Hubbard and Barrus lead District Engineer transitions,
replacing five decades of leadership
A change unprecedented in recent department memory will replace nearly 50 years of experience in the top spot in three districts over the next few months, as new District Engineers are put in place in Lewiston, Shoshone and Pocatello.
ITD Chief Operating Officer Travis McGrath said ITD engaged a broad cross-section of department employees and supervisors in the selection process. In early April, members of ITD's Senior Leadership Team (SLT) screened the full applicant pool to identify a short list for more-detailed interviews. Those more-detailed interviews were conducted by three panels, consisting of 1) current District Engineers and the Headquarters’ Highways Business Operations Manager, 2) employees and supervisors from Districts 2, 3, 4, and 5, and 3) the Executive Leadership Team.
“This approach allowed us to incorporate a diverse set of perspectives in the selection process," McGrath explained.
Doral Hoff will become the new DE in Lewiston June 3 replacing Dave Kuisti, who departed D2 in early March to become the new Division of Engineering Products and Plans Administrator in Boise. Hoff has served in District 2 since 1997, the last five years as Engineering Manager. He was the Acting District Engineer for Kuisti numerous times in Dave’s absence during his five-year tenure.
In District 4, Devin Rigby retires in mid-June after 22 years at the helm, and Jesse Barrus comes to Shoshone from District 6 in July. Barrus has served in numerous positions for ITD, including a stint as State Traffic Engineer during Kevin Sablan’s AASHTO Fellowship to Washington, D.C. Barrus became the Operations Engineer for D6 in August 2016, then became Design/Construct Engineer in July 2018.
Todd Hubbard, who has been in District 4 for 10 years, will take over in District 5 in mid-July. Hubbard has been the Plans and Engineering Services Manager for several years in Shoshone. He takes over for Ed Bala, who has been the District Engineer in D5 since 1998 and will retire in a month after more than 34 years with the department.
The exact start dates for Hubbard and Barrus are still to be determined, since they’ll both need time to relocate their families. Both will be conferring with their predecessors before they take the reins, however.
Both Hubbard and Barrus were in the first class of Emerging Leaders that graduated in 2016, when it was only an initiative at the Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (WASHTO) level and hadn’t yet come to ITD officially, even though Department Director Brian Ness created the program. Both WASHTO and ITD now have Emerging Leaders programs.
"I had two primary goals for this selection process, which I believe we met with our new DEs,” McGrath explained. “The first was to provide each district with a capable leader and a good culture fit. The second was to maintain a good balance of ITD experience and forward-thinking capability on our statewide teams - the Highways Leadership Team (HILT) and SLT."
While the department is excited to see new leadership in key positions, McGrath also wanted to take the time to recognize the contributions that set a foundation for Hoff, Hubbard and Barrus to work from.
"I want to express my sincere appreciation to the outgoing District Engineers. They all served their employees and ITD with distinction, and I am grateful for their support during my first two years at ITD. Dave Kuisti led District 2 well before assuming leadership of one of Highways' HQ Divisions in April. The HILT and I are glad to still have Dave's experience and penchant for detail on the team. Devin Rigby is retiring in mid-June after almost 22 years as District 4 Engineer. We will miss his caring attitude and calming nature. And Ed Bala is retiring in mid-July after 21 years as District 5 Engineer. I'm not sure we can replace Ed's creativity and positivity through any single person — it'll be a team effort!"