Samara “Sam” Barend serves a dual role in AECOM as both Vice President and PPP (Public Private Partnerships) Director for North America and as Development Director in AECOM Capital. In these roles, she provides leadership in AECOM’s PPP work across all business lines, including energy, water, transportation, and buildings and facilities. Ms. Barend has worked on several Public Private Partnerships bidding consortiums in the North America market including a juvenile correctional facility project in Puerto Rico, which the firm is currently shortlisted, and a justice complex in Houston, Texas. In addition, she has been involved in the development of an unsolicited proposal to the City of Virginia Beach for a light rail. Ms. Barend also provides considerable assistance to cities and states in the development of PPP policy frameworks, potential projects, and legislation. She has served as Deputy Project Manager for the PPP study commissioned by the Washington State Joint Transportation Committee to investigate the suitability of PPP delivery to major transportation projects.
Ms. Barend has served as Vice President and Government Affairs Director for STV, and was responsible for overseeing, and often leading, industry-wide policy initiatives. In 2004, she ran as the Democratic candidate in New York’s 29th U.S. Congressional district race, holding her opponent to 50.8% of the vote and becoming one of the youngest women to run for federal office. She has also worked as the Statewide Neighborhood Program Director for Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Senate campaign and as Upstate Director for the New York Democratic State Committee. Further, from 1996–2000 Ms. Barend spearheaded the successful effort to convert New York State’s Route 17 into Interstate 86. This interstate campaign resulted in the passage of the Interstate 86 Act, a bill which she drafted for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan that was included in the 1998 Federal Transportation Reauthorization.
A Fortune 500 company, AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation, and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.
Why Public Private Partnerships?
“We can’t rely on the deep pocketbooks of the federal government to come and rescue states and their infrastructure needs…Public private partnerships, or performance-based infrastructure, is really a means of ensuring that taxpayers get value for money and that projects are delivered on time and on budget.”
U.S. Lagging in PPP Projects, While Others Already Seeing Benefits
“Canada has reached financial close on fifty PPP projects just in the last three years alone. In the U.S. it’s been much slower. Part of the reason is attributed to Congress’s failure to incentivize cities and states to utilize a PPP approach.”
PPPs Bring Results and Accountability
“By bundling all this infrastructure work together you’re creating significant efficiencies and accountability, major accountability, accountability that you don’t have at all through a traditional delivery approach.”
Infra Needs Innovation
“Not only do we need funding but we need innovation in how we finance and deliver our projects…We need to look around, harness those best practices and put more tools in the toolbox for cities and states to get the infrastructure advanced quicker.”
As Our Infra Crumbles, the Conversation Changes
“When we have natural disasters like Sandy and Katrina that bring to a forefront the need of a strong and resilient infrastructure, that’s when the national discourse changes. Unfortunately, I think, given the state of infrastructure in our country, those conversations are going to really start happening more frequently…”
AECOM and Infrastructure
“It’s fundamental: having people come together and raise their voice and speak up is the only way to get something done in Washington. I would urge any advocates of infrastructure to speak up and to send letters to their congressmen, and to join coalitions and never underestimate the impact you can have to get something done.”