The Ohio Department of Transportation recently rededicated its Columbus headquarters to honor Jerry Wray, the agency’s only two-time director.
[Above photo, left to right: Former Ohio DOT Director Gordon Proctor; Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, former Ohio DOT Director Jerry Wray, current Ohio DOT Director Jack Marchbanks. Photo by Ohio DOT.]
Governor Mike DeWine (R) and Ohio DOT Director Jack Marchbanks unveiled new signage bearing Wray’s name at the headquarters located at 1980 West Broad Street – henceforth designated the “Ohio Department of Transportation Jerry Wray Building” – during a special ceremony in early December.
Wray led Ohio DOT for 16 years under two difference governors: From 1991 to 1999 under Gov. George Voinovich (R) and again from 2011 to 2019 under Gov. John Kasich (R).
“Jerry Wray was passionate about transforming ODOT into an organization that displayed what he called ‘excellence in government.’ The changes he ushered in will benefit our state for decades to come,” said Gov. DeWine, who served as lieutenant governor during Wray’s first stint as Ohio DOT director, in a statement.
“Director Wray came to Ohio DOT with a clear vision of what it could be and masterfully imparted that vision,” said Ohio DOT’s Marchbanks, who served under Wray in various roles throughout both of Wray’s terms. “He believed the job of the department was first and foremost to make people’s lives better. I can’t think of a more deserving person for this honor.”
Wray directed the reorganization of Ohio DOT during his first term, streamlining processes and reducing the number of central office divisions by half. He eased the control the Columbus office had over processes and gave greater authority to the districts to better use the talents of the employees throughout the state.
He initiated a project selection process, referred to as the Transportation Review Advisory Council or TRAC where project stakeholders and interested parties could take part – a process which before had been conducted out of public view.
Under his leadership, Ohio DOT recruited a record number of women, minorities, and veterans. He also established a second-chance apprentice program to help transition ex-offenders from the Ohio Reformatory for Women into employment opportunities to prevent recidivism.
“All people want to be part of something bigger than themselves and to feel they are making a positive contribution to their organization, their community, and their fellow man,” Wray once wrote.
Wray began his career in ODOT’s Engineering in Training Program in 1969. He then began working at the Licking County Engineer’s office in 1977 before election to serve as Licking County Engineer from 1980 to 1990.
He currently lives with his wife, Eva, in Newark, Ohio.