Gov.-Elect Tom Wolf Wednesday announced he has chosen Montgomery County Commissioner Leslie Richards to serve as secretary of the Department of Transportation.
Barry Schoch, currently the secretary of the Department of Transportation, will move into the Office of the Governor to serve as a senior advisor to the governor on issues related to transportation and infrastructure.
"I am happy to announce Leslie Richards will run the Department of Transportation," said Gov.-Elect Wolf. "Leslie Richards will work with me to continue to grow and modernize our transportation system by taking advantage of our location. As a business owner, I know that a strong transportation system is necessary to move people and goods efficiently and effectively, and I look forward to working with Leslie Richards to expand our thinking and grow a 21st century, statewide transportation system."
"Secretary Barry Schoch will continue his work to improve Pennsylvania's transportation system," said Gov.-Elect Wolf. "He will play a key role in the continued implementation of the transportation bill, and he will work across agencies to make sure implementation is efficient and cost effective."
Schoch will be tasked to assist with implementation issues surrounding Act 89, particularly as it relates to issues that cut across departmental lines. Schoch will work in the Governor's office and will also assist the incoming Secretary of Transportation on an as-needed basis. The position will be temporary.
Leslie Richards, Department of Transportation
Leslie Richards has extensive leadership experience in the management of transportation projects from her work in local government, as well as her private sector work in the planning and engineering fields over the past two decades.
Leslie Richards is currently the vice chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, chair of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, and a member of the SEPTA Board.
Richards heads the planning, transportation, and economic development initiatives in the county. Having advocated and executed projects for municipal, county, state, and federal governments, and with her experience serving as Chair of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Richards has a detailed understanding of funding resources for all phases of transportation projects.
She played an active role working with state legislators to educate them on the importance of passing Act 89 and provided official testimony to the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee.
Before being elected commissioner, Richards served as the chair and vice chair of the Whitemarsh Township Board of Supervisors. Richards served on the bi-partisan boards at the township and county level that voted unanimously on over 99 percent of all votes taken.
In the private sector, Richards served as a senior project manager at a woman-owned civil engineering firm. She has led meetings with residents, business owners, and government officials regarding transportation issues in urban, rural, and suburban communities.
As a consultant, she received special recognition for minimizing the negative impacts of construction, detours, and road closures on the local business community.
Richards has built a reputation professionally and politically of finding common ground and moving forward. Her experience in both the public and private sector gives her a unique perspective on understanding stakeholder issues.Richards is a graduate of Brown University, where she concentrated in economics and urban studies. She received a master’s of regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania. Richards and her husband, Ira, have lived in Whitemarsh Township for 19 years. They have three children, Ben, Sophie, and Rebecca.