A retired Air Force major general passed up for the job as Seattle’s transportation director has been hired by Mayor Jenny Durkan to serve in the newly created position of Director of Citywide Mobility Operations Coordination.
Mike Worden was a finalist for SDOT director last year, but Durkan tapped Washington, D.C.’s chief project delivery officer Sam Zimbabwe for the job on Dec. 18; he is now awaiting final approval from the city council.
The first director of citywide mobility operations coordination, Worden is a member of Durkan’s cabinet whose daily work will be overseen by Senior Deputy Mayor Michael Fong, according to a news release issued after Crosscut first reported Worden’s hiring. Crosscut reports the retired major general will make $195,000 a year.
His role with the city will be “the single point of contact” for 29 departments coordinating responses to mobility and operational challenges expected during Seattle’s “Period of Maximum Constraint,” now coined as the “Seattle Squeeze,” working out of the Emergency Operations Center, according to the Jan. 3 news release.
“After the many years of tunnel construction, the viaduct will finally be coming down and work on the waterfront of the future will begin,” Durkan said in the news release. “But this also marks the beginning of a period of significant mobility challenges that will require coordinated, efficient response that delivers for the people of Seattle. With his decades of experience in planning, operations and fast-changing periods of uncertainty, General Worden will help ensure we are meeting the challenge for the public, freight mobility and critical services like public safety.”
Worden served in the Air Force for more than 30 years, concluding as Deputy CEO and Vice Commander of Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base.
He went to work at Lockheed Martin in 2010 as director of integration intelligence solutions, and then became a private consultant in 2016. He has a Bachelor of Arts in military history from the United States Air Force Academy, and a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in military history from Duke University.
He started work at the City of Seattle on Jan. 2, according to the new release from the mayor’s office, which makes no mention of Worden’s previous consideration for the SDOT director position.
“It is a privilege to serve the people of Seattle. While Seattle faces significant mobility and traffic challenges, Mayor Durkan’s vision for the future is both compelling and a call to action,” said Worden in the release. “I look forward to working with the Mayor as well as my City and regional colleagues to help address the complex challenges and ensure a coordinated response that advances safety and mobility.”