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North Dakota transportation director to step down

Bill Panos, the director of North Dakota Department of Transportation, cited family obligations in California as the reason he is resigning.

North Dakota Department of Transportation Director Bill Panos
North Dakota Department of Transportation Director Bill Panos.
Photo courtesy of North Dakota Governor's Office
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BISMARCK — Bill Panos, the director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation, will step down on Sept. 9 after three years in the position. He cited family obligations in his home state of California as the reason for his resignation.

The agency's deputy director of engineering, Ron Henke, will serve as interim director.

Gov. Doug Burgum announced Panos' resignation on Wednesday, Aug. 10. The Republican governor appointed Panos, the former director of Wyoming's transportation department, to lead North Dakota's transportation agency in August 2019.

“Under Bill’s outstanding leadership, the Department of Transportation has made significant progress in many areas including traffic safety, strategic planning and improved access for constituents, especially to online services,” Burgum said in a news release.

Panos praised the department's employees, noting that they have "redefined our culture and expanded who we have helped."

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"I ask you to understand that my decision comes after months of reflection on my family needs and personal goals and at no cost to my hopefulness for North Dakota’s future or the impact I know it can have," Panos said. "The state is transforming, and Team ND will play a fundamental role in shaping it.”

The Department of Transportation has nearly 1,000 employees and a biennial budget of $2.2 billion. The agency is responsible for maintaining roads and bridges across the state.

Jeremy Turley is a Bismarck-based reporter for Forum News Service, which provides news coverage to publications owned by Forum Communications Company.
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