Rudy Malfabon, a 24-year veteran of the Nevada Department of Transportation, was named Monday to succeed Susan Martinovich as agency director.
Martinovich, the first woman director of the department, is retiring this fall after more than five years as director.
Malfabon, 53, was chosen from a field of four in-house candidates for the position.
He has been NDOT deputy director for southern Nevada since 2003. He holds a degree in civil engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno, and is a licensed professional engineer in Nevada and Washington state and rose through the ranks at NDOT.
He also has private industry experience with Jacobs Engineering in Las Vegas and, before that, spent two years working for the Washington State Department of Transportation.
The NDOT job is a Cabinet-level post that pays a maximum of $124,583 a year.
Members of the interview board, headed by the Gov. Brian Sandoval, praised both Malfabon and Rick Nelson, NDOT's assistant director for operations, as excellent candidates. Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki said either man would do an excellent job running the department.
But the board, which includes three civilians in addition to the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and controller, unanimously gave the nod to Malfabon.
Sandoval summed up the board's reaction, saying that while both were top-flight candidates, "there was a little more depth with Mr. Malfabon with his answers." He also said he thought Malfabon would work at "getting people to think outside the box."
He and the other members said it was a very close decision.
The other two in-house candidates were Mary Martini, District 1 engineer for the department, and Wayne Seidel, NDOT's motor carrier administrator.
Two other finalists were from out of state, but both withdrew before Monday's final interviews before the transportation board.
Malfabon and Martinovich were asked to begin the transition as soon as possible.