Citing her vast experience and familiarity with the Mighty Mac, the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) board approved longtime Chief Bridge Engineer Kim Nowack as the new executive secretary.
Nowack, who has been serving in that role in the interim since the May retirement of former Executive Secretary Bob Sweeney, said she considers it an honor and a privilege to be the next administrator of the bridge. She expressed her commitment to the safety of staff and travelers, continued innovation, and community partnerships in a presentation to the board prior to her selection.
“It’s a passion of mine to care for the bridge, and I love that I work with such a talented and dedicated staff,” she said.
MBA Board Chairman Patrick “Shorty” Gleason praised Nowack for her leadership in helping to maintain the Annual Bridge Walk held on Labor Day. On the recommendation of the Department of Homeland Security, the MBA in 2017 began prohibiting personal vehicles and pedestrians from sharing the bridge during the event.
“When state and federal safety officials asked for those changes, our staff faced some of the biggest challenges since the bridge was built,” Gleason said. “Kim and her team worked with the communities on solutions to ensure the safety of all involved and allowed this important Michigan tradition to continue.”
Michigan State Transportation Director Paul Ajegba, who selected Nowack in consultation with the MBA board, expressed confidence in Nowack’s performance in this new role.
“As chief engineer on the Mackinac Bridge, Kim has been an innovative thinker, putting the safety of travelers first while finding ways to move traffic efficiently,” Ajegba said. “I am very pleased that she will lead the team maintaining our state’s signature icon.”
Nowack, who has been the chief engineer at the bridge since 2002, is the first woman selected to serve in that role and the executive secretary position.
For the past 17 years, Nowack has overseen bridge maintenance work, as well as contracted design, inspection and construction work. A Grand Rapids native and St. Ignace resident, she is a member of the International Cable Supported Bridge Operators Association and a 1985 graduate of Michigan Technological University.
Prior to her tenure at the bridge she held several positions with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), including stints as a general engineer with the department’s construction division in Kalamazoo; project design, construction and assistant resident engineer in St. Ignace; and delivery engineer in MDOT’s Newberry Transportation Service Center (TSC).