Incoming Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has announced that John MacKinnon will serve as the next commissioner of the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities.
A fourth-generation Alaskan, MacKinnon serves as executive director of the Associated General Contractors of Alaska, an advocacy group representing members of the construction industry. He has held the post since 2008.
Alicia Siira, who will serve as executive director of the contractors group when MacKinnon departs, said she looks forward to his leadership at DOT&PF.
“Associated General Contractors of Alaska was well-served under John’s leadership for more than 10 years. He is a lifelong Alaskan and knows the construction industry and transportation issues inside and out,” Siira told Transport Topics. “John has many years of experience working in both the private and public sector, with a solid understanding of state transportation needs and system functions.”
MacKinnon has experience with the agency he prepares to lead. Before joining the contractors group, he was DOT&PF deputy commissioner of highways and public facilities for five years, overseeing the state highway program, administration, budget, policy, planning and legislative relations.
“John MacKinnon previously worked with the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, and the department looks forward to working with him again,” agency spokeswoman Meadow Bailey told TT. “As with any transition, we are committed to make this a seamless transition as we work together to keep Alaska moving.”
MacKinnon also has held various roles for the City of Juneau, including acting city manager and member of the Juneau Planning Commission. He served on the Juneau Assembly for 12 years, the last six as deputy mayor.
MacKinnon holds a bachelor’s degree in Marine Resource Ecology from the Huxley College of the Environment, which is part of Western Washington University.
“MacKinnon’s 24 years as a building contractor, combined with other business interests, contribute to his experience and knowledge of both private and public sectors,” Bailey said.
MacKinnon will replace Marc Luiken as DOT&PF commissioner.
Dunleavy, the state’s governor-elect, previously served as a state senator. A Republican, Dunleavy won Nov. 6 with about 52% of the vote.
He has listed development of the Knik Arm Bridge, the Ted Stevens International Airport, the Port of Alaska in Anchorage and the state’s Marine Highway System as transportation priorities.
The Knik Arm Bridge is a project that Alaskan legislators have deliberated about for decades. The bridge would be a 2-mile span stretching across the Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet, connecting the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to Anchorage. Legislators continue to debate its merits and disadvantages.