California Department of Transportation

California Department of Transportation

Date: December 18, 2012
District: Headquarters
Contact: Tamie McGowen
Phone: (916) 654-5467


SACRAMENTO - Caltrans announced today that Karla Sutliff has been appointed as California’s Chief Engineer - the first woman to be appointed to the position.

As Chief Engineer and Deputy, Sutliff is responsible for all engineering aspects of the department’s construction projects statewide from their design through the completion of construction. She will oversee a program of more than 9,000 employees and an annual budget of $1.8 billion.

Sutliff has been with Caltrans for 26 years, and over the past 11 years, she served as the chief over several Caltrans divisions, including Design, Traffic Operations, and Project Management. She also filled the role of Acting District 8 (San Bernardino) Director in 2008.

Sutliff graduated from the University of California at Davis with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering and is a licensed civil engineer.

The Chief Engineer position was created in 1974. Prior to that, the position was called State Highway Engineer. Here are the persons who previously held those titles:

A. B. Fletcher 1911-1923
R. M. Morton 1923-1927
C. H. Purcell 1927-1943
G. T. McCoy 1943-1959
J. W. Vickrey 1959
J. C. Womack 1959-1967
J. A. Legarra 1967-1971
R. J. Datel 1971-1975
C. E. Forbes 1975-1980
W. E. Schaefer 1980-1990
R. P. Weaver 1990-1997
R. Coleman 1998-2000
B. Felker 2000-2003
M. Leonardo 2004 (Acting)
R. Land 2005-2011
R. Pieplow 2011-2012 (Acting)

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