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Indiana finance chief jumps to private sector

February 9, 2015

Kendra York has stepped down as Indiana's public finance director and has joined engineering contractor American Structurepoint.

York, who led the state through public-private partnerships to fund major road and bridge projects, left the state Jan. 30. She started as director of planning services and economic development for Indianapolis-based American Structurepoint Feb. 2.

American Structurepoint is a sub-contractor on several of Indiana’s public-private partnerships, or P3s, but it doesn’t have any contracts with the Indiana Department of Transportation, or the IFA, which handled P3 procurement.

York, a lawyer who had led the Indiana Finance Authority since 2009, sought an informal opinion from Indiana's inspector general before she took the job, IFA spokeswoman Stephanie McFarland said.

Indiana law requires a one-year cooling-off period for state employees going to work for firms with which they did business. It didn't apply to York because American Structurepoint hasn’t had an IFA contract for five years, prior to York’s tenure as director, McFarland said.

The State Ethics Commission does not often hold high-level employees to the cooling-off requirement. In the past, the commission has ruled that it didn’t apply to an employee who didn’t get intimately involved with a transaction, though he or she may have overseen people doing the work.

As American Structurepoint President Willis “Rick” Conner noted in a blog post last year, the firm is “part of one of the biggest transportation infrastructure P3 projects in the country, the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges East End Crossing project.”

And the firm expects more states to use P3 financing on public infrastructure, according to Conner’s blog post.

For the East End Crossing project, American Structurepoint is a sub-consultant to the lead design firm, Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.

American Structurepoint also has helped draft technical procurement documents for Section 5 of Interstate 69 and the Illiana Corridor, two more P3-financed projects handled by the IFA. On both of those projects, American Structurepoint is a sub-contractor to HNTB, which works for the state.

Conner said in a press release that he admires York for her "project conceptualization."

“Kendra is a huge asset to our firm, as she brings a wealth of knowledge to the team and has been instrumental in realizing high-profile projects,” Conner said.

In a prepared statement, York said: "Leaving my role with the IFA was a tough decision, because it afforded the chance to do so much for Indiana. I had the opportunity to serve under two governors, both with deep passion and hope for the people of this state. Their collective visions have brought significant opportunity to Indiana, and I'm grateful to have been asked by both to share a small part in making those visions realities for Hoosiers today and for decades into the future."

Dan Huge is serving as interim director at the IFA.

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