Engineer running for re-election
LISBON – Columbiana County Engineer Bert Dawson, already the longest serving county engineer in Ohio history, is going to give it another go.
Dawson announced on Tuesday he is seeking re-election in 2020 to another four-year term to tack onto the half century he has already served.
“I’m really excited about all the things we have been able to accomplish the last several years. I just really like to get things done and accomplish goals,” he said, in news release. “My mind is always thinking of projects that need done. I have to envision what is possible for our county. “
A graduate of Youngstown State University, Dawson also holds a master’s degree in engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He current serves as president of the State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors, president of the three-county Regional Transportation Improvement Project (RTIP), vice-chairman of District 11 Ohio Public Works Commission and secretary-treasurer of the Columbiana County Transportation Improvement District (TID).
He has been recognized on state and national levels for his accomplishments, including receiving the 2007 National Association of County Engineers’ Urban County Engineer of the Year award and was named County Engineer of the Year in 2012 by the County Engineers Association of Ohio (CEAO).
Dawson is married to Deborah Dawson, fiscal officer for St. Clair Township, and has two sons, Dallis and Tom. and three grandchildren.
Dawson was instrumental in a number of recent projects including the restoration of the historic Bowstring Arch Bridge, which is now located at the county fairgrounds, the Sprucevale Road Bridge at Beaver Creek State Park, the restoration of the P.L. & W. Train Station in Lisbon and the McClellan Covered Bridge in Center Township, which is his most recent restored covered bridge.
Pending county projects include the straightening of the bends on Calcutta-Smith Ferry Road in St. Clair Township, working through the TID board and ODOT to improve the intersection at state Route 45 and Snyder Road in Perry Township. He is also active in supporting ODOT efforts to add a turning lane at the intersection of state Routes 154 and 45 in Lisbon and the ODOT curve re-alignment project on U.S. Route 30 between Hanoverton and state Route 172. His office is also involved in the Wellsville intersection improvement project.
“Networking is the key (to obtaining state and federal funding). The people you meet with and work with must have a high degree of confidence in your ability to complete the projects they help fund.” Dawson said.
As a member of TID and RTIP Dawson has been a major supporter of the Route 30 extension project, and as part of those efforts RTIP was recently awarded $20 million federal dollars to further efforts to build the section linking Trump Road to East Canton.
Dawson is proud of his chip/seal program offered to communities. Under the program, townships and villages purchase the materials with the county doing the work. While the chip and seal program is likely the largest in Ohio and not required by law, Dawson said he offers the service. He has done more than 6,500 miles of road, averaging 125 miles annually in recent years.
He said his bridge program is annually rated in the top five in Ohio. The department’s reclaimer program is operated at no cost to the townships and has resulted in numerous roads that were rough and out of shape being re-leveled and upgraded, Dawson said.
Dawson expects the cracker plant in nearby Monaca, Pa, to “bring untold opportunity to our county. We must be ready for it and prepare for the changes, and to me this means improved water and sewer systems, highways, development of housing and people educated with business skills. I grew up during the steel mill days and know how it was then and I think our area can get back to that if we have aggressive leadership.”
Despite being in office since 1969, Dawson still prides himself on taking and returning phone calls “because those things still matter to me.”