Roy Townsend is in the 3-decade club here at the Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC), he worked at WCRC for 31 years before his retirement in June 2018. A civil engineer by training, Roy served in numerous roles at WCRC, including project engineer and director of engineering, before being appointed to managing director in 2011.
A lot changed during Roy’s tenure. When he started as an engineer in the 1980s, there was only one computer shared between the Engineering and Traffic and Safety Departments. Anyone needing to use the computer had to ask permission to use it, everything else was done with an HP calculator. Today WCRC’s engineers and consultants use the latest technology to design and build roads and bridges.
Whether it was with a shared computer or the latest technology, Roy worked on many impactful and memorable projects during his tenure, including the Dixboro Road Bridge, Jackson Road Boulevard (Phase 1 and 2), and the Delhi and Maple/Foster Historic Bridge Projects.
Roy also led the effort to create a Roads and Non-Motorized Millage in Washtenaw County. Voters approved the four-year, .5 millage in 2016. This millage means that an additional $25 million local dollars are being invested in Washtenaw County’s road and trail networks.
The best part of working at WCRC? For Roy, it was the people he got to work with to serve the community every day. He particularly enjoyed going on ride-alongs with snowplow drivers in the winter and attending Big Truck Events for kids in the community.
Roy still lives in Washtenaw County with his family. In his “second act”, he is now a project manager for the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, focusing on non-motorized projects.