Janice Poplin Williams was named Monday as Chief Engineer of the state Department of Transportation and Development, the first woman to hold the job.

“Her leadership, administrative abilities and communication skills will be a great asset to the department as we continue to move Louisiana forward,” DOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas said in a prepared statement.

Williams succeds Richard Savoie, who retired last month after 34 years at DOTD, including the past four years as Chief Engineer.

Williams, a 28 year veteran of the agency, will oversee a staff of more than 500 engineers, engineering technicians and support staff.

She is responsible for establishing engineering standards, policies and procedures that guide project delivery, construction and preservation of all transportation-related projects.

Williams has served as project and program manager for over 1,000 projects.