Denver (May 4, 2016) – The Western Regional Alliance (WRA) has appointed Tom R. Skancke to the position of Executive Director.
Skancke previously served as the Executive Director of the Western High Speed Rail Alliance (WHSRA), the organization that evolved into the WRA, but took a hiatus to become the President and CEO of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA), the regional economic development authority in Las Vegas. One of the country’s foremost transportation policy experts, Skancke has also served on numerous policy making bodies, including the National Surface Transportation Revenue Study Commission, the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), and several other boards and commissions throughout the western United States.
“Tom knows that, to realize their full economic potential, metropolitan economies must improve their connection points, to each other and to the rest of the world,” said Jennifer Schaufele, Chair of the Western Regional Alliance and Executive Director of the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG). “We look forward to continuing to work with Tom to transform public policy, both in the region and around the country.”
Over the past decade, western metros have asserted their relevance in the global economy like never before. Metropolitan areas like Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Reno, and Salt Lake City have captured a disproportionately large share of economic growth. At the same time, Pacific Coast mega-metros like the Los Angeles-San Diego-Inland Empire Mega Metro, the Bay Area Mega Metro, and the Puget Sound Mega Metro have become increasingly important in the global economy. Despite this growth, these population centers are isolated and operate as “islands of economic activity.” Metros in the western United States need an advocate on a variety of issues before the federal government, from surface transportation funding and interstate goods movement to environmental regulation and economic development, and the WRA was built to serve as that advocate.
“I am very pleased, once again, to be leading the Western Regional Alliance,” said Skancke. “Over the past eight years, economic scholars, elected officials, and the federal government have begun to recognize how important metropolitan economies are to national economic prosperity. By leveraging the combined perspectives of the western United States’ largest metros, the WRA has been an important forum for the advancement of public policy in the interest of western metros. Now, we’re going to put it on steroids.”
Skancke’s appointment was made effective at the last WRA Board Meeting on April 24, 2016.
About the Western Regional Alliance
The Western Regional Alliance connects the western United States to the 21st century global network through a shared vision for commerce, transportation infrastructure, and economic development. Founded by the metropolitan planning and transit organizations in five western cities, the Western Regional Alliance fosters cooperation and advocacy on shared policy priorities between western metropolitan economies.