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
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.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from
Oklahoma State University in 1989 and is a registered professional landscape
architect. Gatz has received several honors including the Oklahoma Good Roads
& Transportation Association’s Bill Skeith Stewardship Award, the
Governor’s Public Service Award and the Federal Highway Administration’s
Partners In Quality Award. He is a member of the American Association of State
Highway and Transportation Officials, the International Bridge, Tunnel and
Turnpike Association and the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Gatz and his wife, Sandy, live in El Reno and have two sons.
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
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.
Nationally, Patterson has been active in AASHTO for many years,
serving in several leadership roles and testifying before the U.S. Congress on
transportation issues. Patterson also served as a member of the Governmental
Technology Review Board for the State of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma chapter the of
Women’s Transportation Seminar, the State Charitable Campaign and Oklahoma’s
Credit Union, formerly the Oklahoma Employees Credit Union.
His spare time is devoted to coaching girls fast pitch softball
and piloting airplanes. Patterson and his wife, Joy, live in Edmond and have
two daughters and five granddaughters.