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1951 was the begining of a 43 year career with the Iowa Highway Commission that later became known as the Iowa Department of Transportation.: Lowell Richardson

Lowell Richardson
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Iowa Highway Commission

Lowell Richardson of Ames, in 1951 began his 43 year career with the Iowa Highway Commission now known as the Iowa Department of Transportation. His first position was with the Creston Resident Construction Engineers Office doing construction inspection and surveying for bridges, grading and paving projects. Lowell advanced to Resident Construction Engineer at Creston from 1954 to 1960 and worked on many construction projects throughout the regional district, including grading and paving on some of the very beginning Interstate highway construction projects in Iowa, including work on I-35 in Clarke Co. and I-80 across Adair Co.

Lowell joined the Office of Contracts at the main DOT office in Ames in 1960, providing management direction to the construction procurement/hiring process for all state highway projects, including bidding and selection of contractors, development and use of specifications and fiscal management including reimbursement of local governments from state and federal funds. 

From 1976 to 1993 Lowell was with the Highway Commission Office of Local Systems as Director of that Office, providing oversight and assistance to local government engineers with the development of highway improvement projects throughout the state, including engineering, compliance with federal and state regulations and funding processes and environmental considerations. This office also represented the needs and input of local government to the Iowa DOT, and participated in the direction of the Iowa highway research and development program, including cooperation with Iowa universities. During this period Lowell led efforts that built and maintained outstanding working relations between state and local governments that advanced the public benefits of the developing highway program. His leadership helped develop many young engineers (local government and state) into qualified and accomplished engineers and built a history of productive cooperation that continues today. 

Along with Dr. Stan Ring (ISU Civil Engineering), Lowell led efforts beginning in the 1990s to initiate what has become the Iowa Transportation Museum.  Lowell was instrumental in recruiting industry representatives and professional participation by building awareness and support for the museum concept. Lowell served on the ITM’s Board of Directors and later on the Advisory Board. 

Lowell was born in Gravity, Iowa in 1927 and graduated from Bedford High School in 1946. Following high school he earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Iowa State College. Lowell was honored as Man of the Year by the American Public Works Association (Iowa Chapter) in 1976. He also received aSpecial Service Award by the Iowa County Engineers Association in 1993.

With great honor we recognize Lowell Richardson as a Hero by Example for his years working with the Iowa Department of Transportation and for bringing the idea for a transportation museum to a finished reality and his continued support to the Spaulding Center. 

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