A former Illinois Department of Transportation official, who was once accused of violating a gift ban, will now be in charge of the new regional freight district.
Mary C. Lamie, of Millstadt, was announced on Wednesday as the St. Louis region’s new freight district’s first executive director.
She is scheduled to start the job on July 1 and is slated to earn $165,000 a year. Lamie is vice president at EFK Moen LLC in St. Louis County.
According to a news release, Lamie’s responsibilities will include evaluating the freight needs of the region and the freight network’s current operational status. She also is tasked with developing public-private partnerships and planning, marketing and advocating for the bi-state region as a national freight hub.
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The area has access to roads, rail, rivers and airports to transport goods.
“Our region has the capacity, infrastructure and a strategic location in the heart of the country to become a major freight gateway and distribution center,” Lamie said. “This is an exciting opportunity, and I look forward to working with all of our partners to grow this sector of our economy and position the St. Louis region as a comprehensive solution for moving cargo and goods to all corners of the country.”
In a phone interview, Lamie said there is anticipated growth in the freight industry, which she hopes to help maximize.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Lamie said. “The timing is perfect.”
Last year the regional freight district was created as part of a public-private partnership under the direction of the Bi-State Development Agency. The district’s task is to optimize the region’s freight network.
Lamie’s appointment drew praise from both John Nations, president and CEO of Bi-State Development Agency, and Ed Hillhouse, executive director of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.
“Mary has earned the respect of leaders on both sides of the Mississippi River, and her recent experience with the High Speed Rail Corridor project and the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge are just two examples of how she’s been able to get private, public, federal, state and local entities to successfully work together,” Hillhouse said.
Lamie has previously worked for the Illinois Department of Transportation where she was the engineer for Region 5, which includes Madison and St. Clair counties.
While running IDOT’s regional office in Carbondale, Lamie had been accused of soliciting pizza for an office party from a contractor, violating ethics rules.
According to an inspector general report, Lamie admitted to an investigator she instructed an employee to solicit pizzas from an IDOT consultant for an office party.
The state Ethics Act states that “no officer, member, or state employee shall intentionally solicit or accept any gift from any prohibited source.”
The state inspector general recommended Lamie be disciplined. Lamie left IDOT after 22 years and went to the private sector.
Lamie would not comment further on the alleged ethics violation.
According to Bi-State Development Director of Communications Patti Beck, the agency was aware of the issue.
“Mary addressed it during our discussions and we were satisfied with her explanation,” Beck said. “Mary will be a tremendous asset to the freight district effort.”