Iowa seeking new Department of Transportation director

The state of Iowa is advertising for a new Department of Transportation director, about a week after Governor Kim Reynolds requested the resignation of current Director Mark Lowe.

Lowe announced on December 13 that he would step down, effective January 10. The job listing enclosed below says applications will be accepted through January 9 for the full-time position, based in Ames. The annual salary range is $100,840 to $154,300.

Why Reynolds was dissatisfied with Lowe’s work is unclear. In a statement provided to the Des Moines Register’s Barbara Rodriguez, the governor’s spokesperson said she “decided to seek a change in leadership as she continues to build her administration.”

Staff for Reynolds did not answer Bleeding Heartland’s follow-up questions about whether the governor had a policy-related disagreement or was unhappy with Lowe’s work in some other respect. The director’s told DOT staff in a December 13 email, “Let me start by assuring you there are no complaints or investigations that preceded this and that should not be a worry for you as a member of the agency.”

Not all top positions at Iowa state agencies are publicly advertised. The job listing that appeared this week could indicate that Reynolds does not already have a candidate in mind to replace Lowe. Former DOT Director Paul Trombino, who is now chief operations officer on the governor’s staff, will presumably influence the decision.

The appointee will be subject to Iowa Senate confirmation and needs a two-thirds vote in the upper chamber. Rarely has a transportation nominee been controversial.

Job listing from the Iowa state government jobs website:


The State of Iowa is seeking candidates for the position of Director of the Iowa
Department of Transportation (DOT). This position is appointed by and reports to the
Governor and is subject to confirmation by the Iowa State Senate.The DOT is responsible for the planning, development, regulation and improvement of
transportation in Iowa. The department is organized with the following divisions:

  • Highways (highway operations, maintenance, design, and construction)
  • Motor Vehicle (driver licensing, vehicle and motor carrier services)
  • Planning, Programming, and Modal (Five-year Transportation Program,
  • transportation system plans, modal areas of rail, aviation, and public transit)
  • Information Technology (internal support services and automation)
  • Strategic Performance (performance and process improvement, and
  • transportation asset management plan)
  • Administrative Services (finance/budget, human resources, and facilities)

The Director of DOT leads and assures the effective administration of the department
and its programs and services as well as all federal-state agreements in accordance
with applicable State and Federal laws.


  • Oversee the development, refinement, implementation, transparency, and
  • monitoring of strategic and operational plans, management goals and objectives,
  • and internal policies and procedures.
  • Develop and oversee strategic business initiatives from development through
  • successful execution focused on operational improvement and efficiency.
  • Provide information and guidance on state policy in inclusive manner to benefit
  • state agency customers.
  • Improve current processes and coordinate organizational procedures for optimized
  • efficiency and productivity for the benefit of state agency customers.
  • Monitor and provide recommendations related to emerging issues or developments
  • at the federal government level which impacts DOT programs or services.
  • Implement robust collaborative working relationships with other state agency
  • directors to aid in solutions for complex policy issues.
  • Represent the Department with constituents, public and private organizations, and
  • industry groups.

Competencies Required

  • Possess proven understanding of business and management principles involved in
  • strategic planning, policy development, financial management, resource allocation,
  • and human resources
  • Demonstrate a high level of leadership ability, and proven abilities to work and
  • communicate effectively with persons and organizations of diverse opinions,
  • positions, and background.
  • Possess an agile business mind with a focus on developing creative solutions.
  • Proven excellent management, project management and communication skills.
Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with a bachelor’s
degree in public administration, engineering, or business management and/or
experience equal to 7 years of full-time management/executive level work in the
fields of transportation administration, government, or business.
Iowa Code Requirements
The director shall be appointed on the basis of executive and administrative abilities and
shall devote full time to the duties of the position. The director shall not hold any other
public office, shall not engage in any other occupation, business, or profession
interfering with or inconsistent with the director’s duties, and shall not serve on or under
a committee of a political party, or contribute to the campaign fund of any person or
political party.Application process – Submit a cover letter and resume to Kassidy Krause via email at on or before January 9, 2020 .

About the Author(s)

Laura Belin

  • Another gubernatorial mystery

    It is ironic that the Iowa DNR has a reputation for being powerful, when that agency lacks the political clout and money to get much of anything done. The Iowa DOT, on the other hand, really is powerful. The policies and practices of the DOT have major impacts across the state.

    As many Iowans can testify, when the DOT wants to do something, that something generally gets done, whether or not there is any opposition. It would be nice if our governor would let us citizens know something about the future plans she has for the DOT, even just a hint or two, instead of continuing the secrecy that has been a hallmark of her administration so far.