Governor Mary Fallin announced that Gary Ridley, who served as secretary of transportation for two governors, is retiring. His retirement is effective immediately.
Fallin appointed Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) Executive Director Mike Patterson to succeed Ridley, pending Senate confirmation next legislative session.
In 2013, Patterson, a longtime ODOT employee, succeeded Ridley as ODOT’s executive director.
Ridley worked for ODOT for 48 years. He was appointed secretary of transportation in 2009 by then-Governor Brad Henry. Fallin reappointed Ridley to the post after she took office in 2011.
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.
Ridley served as ODOT’s director from August 2001 to April 2013. He also was director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority from October 2009 to April 2013.
After the Webbers Falls Interstate 40 bridge disaster in 2002, Ridley led ODOT’s effort to rebuild the bridge in record time. He also worked with the State Legislature when it passed several landmark pieces of legislation to improve transportation funding.
Patterson, before being appointed ODOT’s executive director, served as the agency’s deputy director for three years as well as filling the role of chief financial officer since 1999. Patterson previously served as the comptroller for the agency for 15 years. He began his career with ODOT as deputy comptroller in 1980.