Samara Barend, the leading force behind New York’s initiative to create an oversight body for coordinating private investment in large-scale public works projects, has left state government and is rejoining the private sector.
She has been appointed the vice president, strategic development and director for public-private partnerships (PPPs) in North America for AECOM Technology Corporation, the New York Stock Exchange-listed engineering and consulting firm.
“From the private sector, I will continue my work and will be in a real good position to work with others in the industry to make PPPs happen in New York and elsewhere in the US,” Barend said in an interview with InfrastructureInvestor.com.
New York Governor David Paterson, who had previously championed the creation of the Board, backed away from the idea “due to persistent budgetary concerns,” Elizabeth Mitchell, a spokesperson for the Empire State Development Corporation, told InfrastructureInvestor.com in a statement 6 May.
The Board was the signature recommendation of the New York State Commission on State Asset Maximisation, which issued a report last year outlining 26 specific PPP opportunities across the state. Barend served as the commission’s executive director.
“I gathered a real understanding of political obstacles to PPPs and what it will take to make them happen,” she said of her tenure with the state.
Barend said she will begin her new position at AECOM on 7 June. She will be based in New York.
Barend first came across AECOM during her work as vice president and governmental affairs director for STV, a construction management firm. She was with STV from 2005 until her appointment to the State Asset Maximisation Commission in late 2008.
Based in Los Angeles, AECOM is a frequent contractor on PPP projects across North America. The firm currently has a bid in with Meridiam Infrastructure, the European infrastructure fund manager, on the Long Beach Courthouse PPP in California. Last year, AECOM also won a five-year design and construction contract for the I-595 highway improvement PPP in Florida.