The Ada County Highway District announced a new director today: Bruce Wong, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and Supervalu Inc. executive. Replacing the retiring William J. Schweitzer, Wong will take the helm of the transportation behemoth, which boasts a $79 million annual budget and manages and maintains more than 2,000 miles of asphalt in the county.
“The commissioners were impressed by his communication skills, demonstrated ability to oversee projects like runways, roads,” said Commissioner
Sherry HuberRebecca Arnold. “Kinda like transportation on steroids,” she added.
Wong’s resume may boast a corny promise to drive a “culture of winning,” but he has a long list of accomplishments. With the USAF, Wong oversaw a $30 million renovation at Mountain Home Air Force Base where he served as chief of staff for the 366th fighter wing. He served as military consultant for the Idaho Energy Complex, senior VP with Driveline Retail Merchandising and helped streamline finances at Supervalu Inc.
“I will give you all 100 percent every day, guaranteed. I have no second agenda. I have no third agenda—I never have, I never will,” said Wong.
This year, Wong organized and led Rolling Thunder, a motorcycle charity ride in conjunction with the Wounded Warriors project for veterans’ families. “I know there’s one dedicated motorcycle rider over here, I hope we have a few more at ACHD,” said Wong, who is already planning an inter-office riding event.
Wong acknowledged the challenges cities and the state are facing in the coming year, with less projected revenue in a struggling economy.
“If you listen to our state legislators, they’re facing a huge budget deficit to begin with. Add on top of that what the governor’s transportation commission just reported; that we need a whole lot of money to just remain even. It’s going to be a tremendous challenge,” said Wong. “That being said, I think it’s incredibly important to get a collaborative perspective.”
He plans to start by personalizing his position with local community and transportation leaders.
“Start to reach out to our six mayors, our key legislators, our key folks involved with Idaho transportation, just to introduce myself so we can start from a 'we know each other' going forward. I think that’s incredibly important,” Wong said.