Oklahoma Department of Transportation Executive Director Mike Patterson announced that he will retire April 1 after a nearly 40 year career with the agency.
In addition to his leadership of ODOT, Patterson was also appointed to be Gov. Mary Fallin’s Secretary of Transportation in 2017.
The Oklahoma Transportation Commission announced the appointment of Tim Gatz as the new Executive Director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation effective April 1, following a unanimous vote at its Monday, Feb. 11 meeting.
Gatz currently serves as the Secretary of Transportation and the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, responsibilities he will retain in addition to his role at ODOT. He will succeed Mike Patterson, who has served as ODOT’s Executive Director since 2013.
“Secretary Gatz’s successful career at ODOT, his leadership of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and his nomination to the post of Secretary of Transportation show that he is eminently qualified to lead ODOT in serving the needs of the people, businesses and communities of Oklahoma,” Transportation Commission Chairman David Burrage said. “The commission’s unanimous vote of confidence speaks to the trust that has been placed in him to lead the state’s transportation efforts.”
Gatz began his transportation career in 1990 as a Draftsman at ODOT and rose through the ranks, becoming Deputy Director in 2013. He left ODOT in 2016 to head the state’s turnpike agency, which he has been leading through its largest expansion program in history.
Outgoing Executive Director Mike Patterson will retire in April. His career with ODOT began nearly 40 years ago, when he joined the agency as Deputy Comptroller in 1980. He subsequently served as Comptroller, Director of Finance and Administration, Deputy Director and eventually Executive Director. In 2017, Gov. Mary Fallin appointed him Secretary of Transportation.
Highlights of his time at ODOT’s helm include the agency nearing its goal of addressing the state’s remaining structurally deficient highway bridges by the end of the decade and major corridor improvements on I-35 in Norman and I-235, SH-74 and the Oklahoma City Boulevard in Oklahoma City. As the agency’s top finance and budget official, Patterson oversaw funding initiatives including the state’s Capital Improvement Program and use of federal Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle bonds.
He worked closely with the state legislature as one of the architects of the plan to create the Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety fund and new, dedicated state funding for transportation without new taxes, effectively reversing the decades-long trend of flat funding. More recently, he worked with state lawmakers to make texting while driving illegal and to meet federal mandates allowing for the operation of the Oklahoma City Streetcar.
Patterson’s tenure saw a wider embrace of new technology and innovations including installation of centerline rumble strips on two-lane highways, a working group on autonomous and connected vehicles, conversion of much of the agency’s statewide fleet to Compressed Natural Gas and installation of the state government’s first electric vehicle charging station.