City appoints new Chief Operations and Transportation Officer, Airport Director

Late Friday afternoon, officials with the City of El Paso announced the appointment of longtime City of El Paso engineer Sam Rodriguez as the new Chief Operations and Transportation Officer and El Paso International Airport (EPIA) Director.

Monica Lombrana, the City’s current Chief Operations and Transportation Officer and EPIA Director will be retiring. In addition to overseeing the Airport, Lombrana provided oversight over International Bridges, Sun Metro and the Performance Office.

“We are grateful to Monica Lombrana for her more than 26 years of exceptional leadership and dedication to the City of El Paso, and sincerely believe she deserves time to enjoy her retirement,” said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. “She is to be commended and should be justifiably proud of all her accomplishments. Even though we are sad to see her leave, her leadership will continue to be felt as her previous actions will carry us through this transition and into the future.”

Rodriguez will be transitioning into the position over the next several weeks, and will work closely with Lombrana to ensure that City operations continue efficiently.

“We are excited to capitalize on our own internal talent and professionals using the City’s strategic plan, which has set the foundation we needed to retain and promote a skilled workforce,” said Senior Deputy City Manager Cary Westin. “Sam Rodriguez brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to his new role. He joined our organization over a decade ago and has been a critical member of our management team.”

Rodriguez, a professional engineer with more than 20 years of diverse public and private experience will have oversight over the Capital Improvements Department, Airport, Streets and Maintenance, the International Bridges Department and the Performance Office.

Ellen Smyth who oversees the Environmental Services Department and Sun Metro will also report directly to Rodriguez.

Prior to bring named City Engineer in 2017, Rodriguez served as Assistant Director of Aviation where he oversaw facility maintenance operations and the development of the airport’s capital improvement program and major airport projects, such as the airport’s Rental Car Center and runway rehabilitation projects.

He came to El Paso from the City of Big Bear Lake in California, where he served as the City Engineer. He began his professional career working in the private sector working for AECOM (formerly URS) and Atkins (formerly PBS&J) focusing on highway design and land development.

In 2006, Rodriguez relocated to Texas when he accepted a position as the City of El Paso Engineering Division Manager for the Capital Improvement Department, then the Engineering Department.

Upon arriving in El Paso he was a critical member of the engineering team leading the development of major programs, such as the 2006 Storm Recovery program, the Airport Capital Improvement Program, and joint projects with the Texas Department of Transportation.

“This opportunity speaks directly to our succession planning program that really focuses on developing our talent internally so when opportunities present themselves, we can move quickly. Rodriguez will be working off a 100-day plan that will focus on the effective delivery of our capital improvement program,” city officials added.

Rodriguez holds Professional Engineer licenses in the states of Texas and California. He is a certified Floodplain Manager, Accredited in the Congress of New Urbanism, and a member of the American Association of Airport Executives organization. He served in the U. S. Marine Corps and is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University where he earned a bachelor’s in civil engineering.