Virginia Passenger Rail Authority

Director of Engineering & Construction

To Apply

To apply, submit a resume and cover letter and salary requirements in confidence to Christopher Boylan, Harris Rand Lusk Executive Search at: cboylan@harrisrand.com


The newly created Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA), which is responsible for promoting, sustaining, and expanding passenger and commuter rail service in the Commonwealth, is seeking a Director of Engineering & Construction to lead, direct and manage all engineering, design and construction activities for a multi-billion-dollar program of passenger rail projects known as “Transforming Rail in Virginia” (https://transformingrailva.com/).

Reporting to VPRA’s Chief Operating Officer, this key member of the Senior Management Team will be responsible for the successful delivery of a complex program of projects on time and on budget. In addition to managing the budget, s/he will manage program oversight of the engineering, design and construction of various track, bridge, and station projects being implemented by others on behalf of VPRA.

The Director will also maintain positive working relationships with relevant federal, state and local agencies, regional planning bodies, stakeholder groups, and private entities, including VDOT, Virginia Railway Express (VRE), Amtrak, USDOT, the FRA, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and local governments.  S/he will lead stakeholder engagement meetings and will provides reports/updates to elected officials, the VPRA Board, Commonwealth Transportation Board, and Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation.

The Director of Engineering and Construction will also be responsible for ensuring
VPRA administers Federal and state grant funds in accordance with federal and state requirements and will be responsible for hiring, managing and directing staff resources and consultants to meet program and project goals, objectives and milestones to accomplish the following fully funded projects:

  • Long Bridge – A $2 billion, 1.4-mile passenger rail bridge across the Potomac River.
  • Alexandria 4th Track – a $160 million, 6-mile project being implemented by CSX on VPRA’s behalf, between Alexandria and Arlington.
  • Franconia 3rd Mainline – a $160 million, 6-mile project extending the existing third track between Alexandria and Franconia to Lorton, including new railroad bridges.
  • Franconia to Springfield Bypass – a $340 million project that will decrease rail congestion by constructing a bypass that will allow passenger trains to cross over freight tracks in order to server passenger stations.
  • New Richmond – DC Sidings – a $470 million series of projects being implemented by CSX on VPRA’s behalf to construct six new sidings, along the I-95 rail corridor between Alexandria and Spotsylvania.

Accordingly, the ideal candidate must not only be fully knowledgeable of the latest engineering practices and emerging technologies, but must possess exceptional interpersonal, presentational, and communication skills to ensure that the VPRA Board and the public are regularly and fully informed about plans and actions that are being undertaken.

He/she must sustain an inclusive and equitable working environment, encouraging staff development and diversity, maintaining positive labor relations, and fostering an esprit de corps.

Specifically, the VPRA is looking for someone with the following qualifications:

  • Professional Engineer’s (P.E.) License (Virginia P.E. license preferred)
  • Senior management experience directing staff, consultants and contractors through engineering, final design and construction of large, complex transportation projects.
  • Proven record of successfully managing budgets and schedules for complex transportation projects using industry standard tools, software and formats.
  • Demonstrated proficiency managing contracts/contractor management, project scheduling, budgeting, cost/schedule controls, risk and contingency management, scope changes, construction management, document control and project closeout.
  • Ability to manage and coordinate multiple consultants providing engineering, project management, program management and construction management.
  • Familiarity with railroad engineering principles and safety regulations.
  • Ability to build consensus among multiple stakeholders with competing interests and drive effective and strategic decision-making to advance projects on schedule.
  • Knowledge of federal, state, and local transportation policies, funding, legislative and regulatory requirements related to freight and rail projects.
  • Experience with peer reviews, constructability reviews, value engineering and applying the principles of risk management to budgets and schedules.
  • Experience leading the technical aspects of procurements for professional and construction services.
  • Knowledge of environmental processes for transportation projects, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
  • Knowledge of freight, passenger and commuter rail operations including familiarity with operations modeling.
  • Ability to understand and apply provisions of complex legal agreements
  • Ability to work under pressure, handle multiple priorities and respond in a professional manner to multiple, competing demands.
  • Proven experience leading and motivating a team to achieve short term goals and long-term objectives.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and the ability to deliver professional presentations to diverse audiences including elected officials and board members.

Additional qualifications preferred but not required:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Certified Construction Manager (CCM)
  • P.E. License in the District of Columbia
  • Experience managing design/construction of freight & passenger rail projects

VPRA is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer and offers a competitive salary, a generous relocation package, and excellent benefits.


122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605, New York, NY 10168