The Look in Brief

Nashville mayor names transportation director

By: - November 16, 2021 12:43 pm
Historic Metro Nashville Courthouse. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Historic Metro Nashville Courthouse. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Nashville Mayor John Cooper has named Diana Alarcon, currently director of transportation and mobility for Tucson, Ariz., as director of the new Nashville Department of Transportation and Multimodal Infrastructure.

Cooper launched NDOT in July and Faye DiMassimo, his senior advisor for transportation and infrastructure, has served as interim director. NDOT was formed after Cooper reorganized departments and is largely a restructured version of the existing Metro Public Works Department.

Prior to her role in Tucson, Alarcon served as transportation and mobility director for the City of Fort Lauderdale, 2011-2018, where she launched the city’s department of transportation.

Diana Alarcon, director, Nashville Department of Transportation and Multimodal Infrastructure (Photo: Mayor John Cooper's office)
Diana Alarcon, director, Nashville Department of Transportation and Multimodal Infrastructure (Photo: Mayor John Cooper’s office)

“Nashville is a fast-growing city on the move, and I’m excited to join the mayor’s team as we work with neighbors, Metro Council, and community organizations to build the city’s transportation future,” Alarcon said.

Cooper praised Alarcon’s experience in leading the new Nashville department.

“Nashville is growing and attracting more investment than ever. To be a city that works – and works for everyone – we must keep prioritizing neighborhood transportation improvements and major infrastructure projects that serve us all,” he said in a statement. With her deep experience in guiding cities through important periods of transportation and infrastructure growth, Diana’s leadership will be central to creating Nashville’s own mobility future.”

The appointment comes as Cooper focuses on development on Nashville’s East Bank, which is set to gain a massive new development for Oracle Corp. On Monday, Metro Councilmember Colby Sledge tweeted that Amazon has agreed to fund a transit-oriented development director for the city to the tune of a $1 million grant. According to the grant summary sheet Sledge posted, the Amazon-funded planner will “inventory vacant and under-utilized properties on high capacity corridors and supporting major developments with a priority focus on East Bank, River North, as well as South and North Nashville.”

Alarcon, who starts her new role Jan. 10, will step into controversy about roads and transit associated with the East Bank redevelopment, including a proposed $41 million arterial road–with costs to be split between Metro Nashville and the Tennessee Department of Transportation–for the area.

Alarcon is a member the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Urban Land Institute, the American Planning Association, the National Transit Institute, the American Public Works Association and the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

She holds a Lean Six Sigma Yellow belt, has trained in senior management and environmental management at the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida.



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Holly McCall
Holly McCall

Holly McCall has been a fixture in Tennessee media and politics for decades. She covered city hall for papers in Columbus, Ohio and Joplin, Missouri before returning to Tennessee with the Nashville Business Journal. She has served as political analyst for WZTV Fox 17 and provided communications consulting for political campaigns at all levels, from city council to presidential. Holly brings a deep wealth of knowledge about Tennessee’s political processes and players and likes nothing better than getting into the weeds of how political deals are made.