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Rudy Nickens

Director of Equal Opportunity & Diversity

Missouri Department of Transportation

With a budget of $2.6 billion and more than 6,000 employees, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is one of the state’s more visible and critical agencies. And its director of equal opportunity & diversity, Rudy Nickens, has been making an impact for the organization since 2009.

MoDOT is governed by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, a six-member bipartisan group appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate. With responsibility for more than 32,000 miles, MoDOT represents the seventh-largest highway system in the nation.

MoDOT decisions impact all residents and visitors. They determine location, design, construction and maintenance of airports, rail facilities, waterways, transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities statewide.

Nickens oversees the transportation workforce, ensuring that it follows the state- and federal-mandated statutes on diversity and affirmative action. He also focuses on initiatives to create an inclusive work environment. Since his arrival, MoDOT has seen an upward trend in the hiring and professional development of minorities.

For over two decades, Nickens has consulted, educated and trained hundreds of local, national and international organizations in workforce diversity, leadership development, cultural competence and conflict resolution. He specializes in efforts to eliminate the effects of internalized racism and sexism and violence against women.

Nickens earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. A Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership Fellow, he received the Ethics Project’s Inaugural Ambassador Andrew Young Award for outstanding leadership and Robert Bradley Award for distinguished service.