Two executives appointed to California High-Speed Rail Authority

Workers pour concrete Dec. 6 on an elevated section of the high-speed rail line that will cross over the San Joaquin River, near Fresno.
(Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

Two senior executives, including a chief operating officer, were appointed Friday at the California High-Speed Rail Authority, filling vacancies that have lingered for months.

The hirings aim to bolster the organization’s management following the appointment of Brian Kelly as chief executive earlier this week.

The authority said Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Washington Department of Transportation engineer Joseph Hedges to the position of chief operating officer and state Department of Motor Vehicles veteran Pamela Mizukami as chief deputy director.


The chief operating officer, a new position at the authority created more than six months ago, is supposed to “ensure” that construction and engineering on the program are delivered on budget and schedule. Hedges has 35 years of experience in construction, engineering and project management.

He retired as captain from the Navy Corps of Civil Engineers. In Washington, he ran the program to build a tunnel through downtown Seattle, known as the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement program. It was one of the nation’s most ambitious urban tunneling projects, but also became known for a breakdown in the tunnel boring machine that caused a long delay. Hedges will be paid $337,008 per year.

The chief deputy director job has been vacant for more than a year. Mizukami will advise the chief executive on program and administrative issues, the authority said. She has been assisting the authority on administrative, internal and personnel operations previously. At the DMV, where she began working in 2006, she most recently served as deputy director for the administrative services division. Her salary is $169,560.

“I made a commitment … to bring in highly qualified professionals to continue the transformation of the authority from a planning organization to a strong project oversight and delivery organization,” said Kelly, who was named chief executive Tuesday after serving as chief of the California State Transportation Agency. “Joe and Pam have the necessary qualifications to help us get this done.”

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