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ND Gov. names new director of DOT

BISMARCK -- North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple today appointed Grant Levi as executive director of the state's Department of Transportation.

Levi had been serving as the interim executive director since November 2012, when he was appointed to temporarily fill the position following the retirement of Francis Ziegler.

The position is responsible for the daily operations of the department, which has a $2.1 billion biennial budget and 1,063 employees who provide services for motor vehicle, driver's license, and the operation, construction and maintenance of the state's highways.

Dalrymple pointed out the position is a large undertaking since the budget alone has quadrupled in the past six years.

"It takes an outstanding person to deal with that kind of responsibility," he said of Levi.

Levi has worked for the DOT since 1980, holding positions in the Valley City District, the Fargo District, and at the Central Office in Bismarck. He served as the deputy director for Engineering from 1999 until his interim appointment in 2012.

"His depth of knowledge is a tremendous asset to us," Dalrymple said. "He knows North Dakota like the back of his hand."

Levi's appointment becomes effective immediately, although very little will change.

Levi said one of the largest challenges he will continue to face is providing the services and safety as the state continues to grow.

"Our mission is about safely moving people and goods," he said.

Asked what his highest priority will be, he said, "every project, when it's in your backyard, is a high priority," he said.

From an engineering perspective, he said the four-lane highway from Watford City to Williston will be a challenge and a high priority.

Grant graduated from North Dakota State University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. He is a native of Zeeland, N.D.. He and his wife, Patty, live in Bismarck and have three grown children.

Mike Nowatzki

Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.