Local News

County engineers elect Gavarrete as national president

– Ramon Gavarrete was installed last week as president of the National Association of County Engineers during the 2014 annual meeting and management and technical conference.

Speaking to more than 700 county engineers and road officials from across the U.S., Gavarrete, who is the Highlands County engineer and director of solid waste, said his focus will be to raise the awareness of county road officials in the White House and on Capitol Hill.

“Many safety and cost-effective road initiatives are first adopted at the county level. When government enact road measures, they must do so relying on the expertise and experience of locals,” Gavarrete said. “MAP-21’s highway authorization streamlining measures, Toward Zero Deaths safety program, and High Risk Rural Roads report to Congress are all the results of NACE’s input and recommendations in cooperation with the National Association of Counties. We’ll strive to better communicate NACE’s value and legislative priorities to our federal elected representatives and get project process streamlining in the transportation bill.”

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act — MAP-21 — a 2012 funding and authorization bill, governs federal surface transportation spending. With more than 35,000 fatalities occurring on the nation’s highways each year, Toward Zero Deaths is a dialogue to create a national strategic highway safety plan.

Gavarrete was president elect in 2013. Since 1998, he has overseen an operating budget of over $15 million and a staff of 60 Highlands County employees. He previously worked with CALTRANS and the Florida Department of Transportation.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Florida International University and is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Florida. Gavarrete was president of the Florida Association of County Engineers and Road Superintendents from 2002 through 2004.

NACE is a nonprofit, non-partisan professional association in its seventh decade. Originally incorporated in Florida, it represents nearly 2,000 county engineers, road managers, and related professionals in the U.S. and Canada.