Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley retired Tuesday.
Ridley served as transportation secretary under two governors, first Gov. Brad Henry and then Gov. Mary Fallin. Fallin appointed Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) Execution Director Mike Patterson to succeed Ridley. Patterson was appointed Ridley’s successor at ODOT in 2013.
Ridley worked for ODOT for 48 years.
“Gary Ridley’s name is synonymous with roads and bridges, in Oklahoma and across the country,” said Fallin. “He has testified to Congress on several occasions, and his input is often sought on Capitol Hill about the challenges facing state transportation officials. He is the primary reason Oklahoma roads and bridges have improved over the past several years instead of deteriorating, as they had for so long due to chronic underfunding of state money.
“During Gary’s tenure, the number of bad bridges has been reduced, and safety features, such as life-saving cable barriers, have become common on Oklahoma highways,” she said. “I’m grateful for his expertise, hard work, and, most of all, his counsel. He is among my trusted advisers, and has always has put the needs of Oklahoma and Oklahomans as his first priority.” Ridley’s ODOT service began in 1965, when he joined the department as an equipment operator. He moved up to maintenance superintendent at Kingfisher in 1970 and traffic superintendent at Perry in 1979. In 1983, he became field maintenance manager at Perry, and then advanced to Division Five maintenance engineer at Clinton in 1986. He became division engineer at Division Five in Clinton in 1995. He was named assistant director for operations in 2001 before becoming ODOT director later that year.
Statement from ACOG Executive Director About Secretary Ridley’s Retirement
“Mr. Ridley is an important leader in transportation for Oklahoma. He has certainly been an open door Director and Secretary of Transportation for projects and potential funding of infrastructure in Central Oklahoma and the needs of the largest population center for Oklahoma. He will be genuinely missed. ACOG and its members have relied upon his expertise and his experience. We wish him the very best in the days ahead.” –John G. Johnson, Executive Director, ACOG
ACOG recognized Ridley in December with an ACOG Award of Excellence.