Southwest Georgia District Engineer Ritchie Swindell retiring from GDOT

Published 5:09 pm Friday, May 17, 2019

Ritchie Swindell, who led the Southwest District through hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and winter weather, is retiring after 30 years with the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Swindell’s last day at the district office is Wednesday, May 15. He will be on leave until his effective retirement date of July 1. A successor has not been appointed.

Swindell came to the Southwest District in August 2017. His strong background in maintenance and emergency response was quickly put to use.

“Right after I got here there was Hurricane Imra. Then we had snow and ice, then we had the hurricane, then we had flooding, then we had tornadoes,” Swindell said.

His tenure ends as the District continues debris pick up from Hurricane Michael, which struck in October 2018. Damage was widespread and recovery has been lengthy, but the teamwork Swindell witnessed will remain one of his best memories of the District.

“Nobody said ‘I can’t do that, that’s not my job.’ Everybody did what was asked of them and went above and beyond,” he said.

Swindell was district maintenance engineer in west central Georgia when he was appointed district engineer. He has worked for the Department in various roles in the majority of the seven districts and on the statewide level. His broad experience includes district state aid coordinator, assistant area engineer, area engineer, district administrative officer and liaison in the state maintenance office. Swindell received a bachelor’s in civil engineering technology from Georgia Southern University.

Swindell, 50, will be starting a second career as a consultant with EXP. He will be working out of Tattnall County, which is close to his home.

Swindell said he’s enjoyed the opportunity to serve as district engineer and is thankful the Department commissioner and deputy commissioner had confidence in him to oversee operations in 31 counties.

The Southwest District goes to the Florida line on the south and the Alabama line on the west. The district office is located in Tifton, but the Department also maintains area offices in five counties. There are 2,600 bridges in the district, 3,600 state route center line miles and 106 interstate center line miles.