Martinovich is Gibbons’ choice to lead NDOT |

Martinovich is Gibbons’ choice to lead NDOT

Nevada Department of Transportation photo Susan Martinovich was named Tuesday as director of the Nevada Department of Transportation by Gov.-elect Jim Gibbons.

Gov.-elect Jim Gibbons said Tuesday he has appointed Susan Martinovich director of the Nevada Department of Transportation.

She would be the first woman to hold that position, but Gibbons alone doesn’t have the authority to name her director. Under Nevada law, the director of NDOT is selected and serves at the pleasure of the transportation board. That board is led by the governor but also includes the lieutenant governor, attorney general and controller as well as voting civilian appointees. The board will have to vote on the appointment before Martinovich takes over.

Martinovich, an engineer who rose through the ranks at NDOT where she has worked nearly 23 years since college, would take over in January from Jeff Fontaine.

He has accepted the position of executive director of the Nevada Association of Counties.

Gibbons announced the appointment at a press conference in Las Vegas.

As director, she would oversee the daily operations of one of the state’s largest departments with an annual operating budget of $675 million and 1,700 employees. NDOT is currently managing about $1 billion worth of highway projects including the Carson City freeway.

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The position pays $120,401 a year.

NDOT was one of the few remaining state departments which had never had a woman director.

While Gibbons has decided to continue the service of most major department heads as he begins his administration, NDOT was one of two major vacancies he had to fill. The other is corrections where Glen Whorton has announced plans to retire – for the second time – sometime in February.

Martinovich has been deputy director and chief engineer for four years.

Before that, she was assistant director for engineering for six years, supervising the design, bridge, right-of-way, traffic and safety, environmental and location divisions.

She also worked as a roadway and bridge engineer.

During her career she has served on a number of national transportation committees, including as vice-chairwoman of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials standing committee on traffic safety.

Her father worked for NDOT for 30 years. Martinovich, 45, lives in Carson City with her husband and two sons.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.