Swaim-Staley steps down as Maryland transportation head

If you ask Beverley Swaim-Staley about the defining moment in her 30 plus years in the public sector, it would no doubt be 9/11.

She was the director of BWI Airport on that fateful day.

“I probably don't reflect on 9/11 the same way as others because for me it was just…ok, what action do I need to take to make sure the airport is safe,” said Swaim-Staley, who is the Maryland Transportation Secretary.

In 2009 Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley appointed Swaim-Staley to head the Department of Transportation. She oversees the airport, port, transit, and highways as well as 9,000 employees and a nearly four million dollar annual budget. It's a sector that might seem unusual for a woman—but, not for this Hagerstown native.

“I was very intrigued by transportation, because I saw that as an opportunity to really make a difference to be able to make a decision to push forward with specific initiatives and see them have a positive impact on people's lives,” Swaim-Staley said.

Swaim-Staley says funding continues to be the biggest challenge for her and her successor. But she points to accomplishments during tough economic times—like the opening of the Inter-county Connector.

“It was just great fun a great sense of accomplishment great sense of relief that was a project that went on for a very, very long time,” she said.

Swaim-Staley, 55, isn't saying what's next for her, only that stepping down was her choice, and she's looking down the road with excitement.

“I was at a point where I had accomplished much of what I wanted to accomplish and now I'm ready to do something different,” she said.

Swaim-Staley said she also hopes to spend more time with her husband, her dog and her nieces who also live in Maryland. There is no word yet from the Maryland Department of Transportation who will be Swaim-Staley’s successor.