Christy Hall (above), secretary of the South Carolina Department of Transportation, plans to retire from her position effective March 31, with Justin Powell – currently the agency’s chief operatiing officer – named to be her replacement.
[Above photo by SCDOT]
Appointed by former Governor Nikki Haley (R), Hall has spent roughly a decade as SCDOT secretary out of a nearly 30 year career in state government.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to work alongside the men and women of SCDOT to serve the people of South Carolina,” she said in a statement.
“I am thankful … for the opportunity to serve as the agency head during the past decade when South Carolina has experienced unprecedented levels of road and bridge work in every county of the state,” Hall added. “I also want to thank the South Carolina General Assembly for recognizing the need to boost funding for infrastructure and to continuously evaluate those funding levels in order to keep pace with rapidly evolving business, residential and economic development needs.”
Governor Henry McMaster (R) said that Hall’s “unparalleled expertise and relentless work ethic have allowed SCDOT to flourish under her leadership. Whether responding to natural disasters or spearheading transformative infrastructure projects, she has consistently delivered for the people of South Carolina. She leaves a legacy of excellence and has placed the agency in a position to continue to drive our state forward.”
The SCDOT recruited Hall during her final year in the Civil Engineering program at Clemson University. She has served the state continuously since graduating college in a variety of roles, including front line experience in design, project management, construction management, and road and bridge maintenance before moving into district and headquarters leadership roles including deputy secretary for finance & administration, deputy secretary for engineering, and eventually SCDOT secretary.
Meanwhile, Powell – Hall’s replacement – has been with SCDOT since 2019. He started at the agency as deputy secretary for finance and administration with responsibility for SCDOT’s $2.7 billion budget and oversaw the growth of its construction program from $3 billion to $5 billion. In 2022, he was promoted to chief of staff, serving as the senior advisor to SCDOT’s secretary, before becoming chief operating officer.
Before working for SCDOT, Powell served as assistant county administrator in Horry County, NC, where he provided financial leadership for its $500 million roads sales tax program; managed a project to restore freight rail service to a three-county region; and supported its disaster response and subsequent resiliency efforts.
In addition, Powell has also worked at other local government agencies including Dorchester County, NC; the City of Greenville, NC; and Fairfax County, VA.
“I am honored and humbled to be appointed to serve as the next secretary of transportation,” Powell said in a separate statement. “Our most important asset at SCDOT is our people and I am committed to supporting our employees as they continue to diligently serve our great state. To me, there is no higher calling to serve the people of South Carolina and I look forward to the bright future ahead.”