Longtime Michigan transportation director Kirk Steudle will retire at the end of next month, Gov. Rick Snyder said Friday.

The director has worked for the Michigan Department of Transportation for more than 31 years and has served in his current role since 2006, when he assumed the role under Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Steudle is credited with implementing performance measures and asset management principles at the department, as well as having a role in creating MCity, the American Center for Mobility, the installation of cable median barriers and a public-private partnership that funded new freeway lighting in the Detroit area.

Steudle is a “known around the world as a mobility rock star,” Snyder said in a statement.

“Kirk has been an outstanding department leader, making MDOT a model for other states to emulate, but also as a leader in advance vehicle technology that has helped make Michigan the mobility capital of the world,” Snyder said.

Steudle, whose spent his entire career at MDOT, will retire Oct. 31.

“It has been especially rewarding to have Gov. Snyder’s support to address a decades-long transportation funding shortage,” Steudle said. “I hope to leave MDOT with a legacy of collegiality, collaboration and partnership that shows what we can accomplish when we all work together.”

A nearly 39-year employee of MDOT, Senior Chief Deputy Director Mark Van Port Fleet's career has grown alongside Steudle's at the department. 

Steudle's staying power through the administration change from Granholm to Snyder in 2010 speaks to Steudle's character, Van Port Fleet said. The director's emphasis on innovation and his role in advancing connected and autonomous vehicles in Michigan have earned employees' respect, he said. 

"We’re pretty proud of what we do," Van Port Fleet said. "Even through times when we were trying to attain revenue he instilled in us that our job was to do the right things with what we had.”

Snyder has not yet decided on a new leader for the department.       

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