SAIPAN — The newly created Infrastructure and Recovery Office has hired a new engineer who will report for work this week, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres said.

The office is headed by former CNMI Department of Public Lands Secretary Marianne Concepcion-Teregeyo and was created to focus on procurement, permitting and construction management and engineering for federally funded infrastructure and recovery projects.

Engineers, biologists, environmental planners, master planners, archaeologists and attorneys will be brought onto the team for these projects, including those of Northern Marianas College, the CNMI Public School System, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. and road projects.

The new office will streamline the permitting process for infrastructure projects, and will work with the Marianas Visitors Authority to help make the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands a world-class tourist destination.

The governor said he is also working with the CNMI Scholarship Office to bring back local scholarship recipients in technical professions who are currently in the states.

"It's an open invitation to those who fall in the category of engineers, biologists, environmental planners, archaeologists, attorneys. ... There are different positions that are needed and I hope that we can fill these positions in the next month or so," he said.

The governor at the same time congratulated the recent graduates, and encouraged those who will attend college in the states to return to the CNMI in the future.

"I just want to wish all of the graduates, again, a huge congratulations for all of their achievements," he said.

"Whatever they decide to do, we're here to support. But please come back and help our community because our community definitely needs each and every one of you. Come back and help give back to our community and to our next generations."

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