About Calvin Grayson


Calvin G. Grayson (1924–2020)​

Calvin Grayson began his transportation career with the Kentucky Department of Highways and remained with the department and its successor, the Department of Transportation, for 30 years. In 1973, in his role as the statewide planning engineer, he established the Division of Environmental Analysis to identify environmental problems associated with transportation programs. The following year, he organized the department's Office of Transportation Planning, serving as its first chief. In 1977, he was named Commissioner of Highways and Secretary of the Department of Transportation. He was the first career professional engineer ever to hold these positions.

While serving as Secretary, he established the Kentucky Transportation Center at the University of Kentucky and served as its director from 1983 to 2004, marking the pinnacle of his legacy in the transportation world. His long and illustrious career was characterized by his philosophy of scrutinizing business processes and practices to ensure continuous quality improvement, recognizing the need for change when necessary. He was acknowledged as the change agent who transformed the highway department from a single-modal agency into a multimodal transportation agency, signifying a significant shift in thinking and organization. Calvin worked tirelessly for over 50 years to secure the passage of the primary seatbelt law for the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 2006. He was passionate about the law and believed it was right for Kentuckians. He never wavered in being the public voice behind its passage. His leadership was widely recognized by professional organizations such as the Council of University Transportation Centers and the national transportation community.

Throughout his career, he received numerous awards, including the Outstanding Engineer in Government Award from the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers, Outstanding State Vice President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Eminent Engineer by Tau Beta Pi, and the Career Achievement Award from UK's Department of Civil Engineering. Calvin served as President of the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers (KSPE), the Kentucky section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Council of University Transportation Centers. He was actively involved with Chi Epsilon, a national civil engineering honor society. He was inducted into the Transportation Hall of Fame, the Lafayette High School Hall of Fame, The University of Kentucky Hall of Distinguished Alumni, and was recognized by the United States Department of Transportation as one of the Top 100 Public Works Officials of the 20th Century. In honor of his 90th birthday, then-Mayor Jim Gray declared Calvin the first Henry Clay Ambassador in recognition of his lifelong efforts to improve the lives of people in Kentucky.

One of his favorite quotes-

“It is not our job to fix or judge people. It is our job to love people. The rest is in God's hands."​

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