Wahl leaves engineering department

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The Belmont County Commissioners and Engineer’s Department bid farewell and best wishes to Chief Deputy Engineer Mike Wahl, who had worked in the department since 2001, now leaving to take up a job in the private sector.

Engineer Fred Bennett noted the part Wahl played for the county, adding that larger counties often operate with a staff including a design engineer, a bridge engineer, and traffic and maintenance engineers.

“We’ve got the same here in Belmont County, but it all fell on Mike to do,” he said. “He’s been a big help to me I appreciate all he’s done for us. The last few years have been, not 100 percent but a lot of concentration on oil and gas.”

He pointed out Wahl’s progress in working with oil and gas companies on paving and bridge work.

Wahl spoke about the cooperation with oil and gas interests.

“We’re working hand-in-hand with them and that’s the way it needs to be,” he said, adding that the oil and gas businesses appreciated fair dealing and efficiency.

Wahl said his time working for the county was valued, and added that he hopes the commissioners and engineer continue the focus on bridge repair, above the needed paving projects.

“We still have a bridge problem,” he said. “While things have got a lot better since I started, there’s still a huge need, there are still a lot of red dots on that map that say ‘four tons’ on them, and anything you can do to help Fred with that is still very much needed.”

“Good luck and thank you for everything you’ve done to help the county,” said Commissioner Matt Coffland, noting Wahl’s work with oil and gas interests in arranging paving work during the past two years.

“I wish you well,” said Commissioner Ginny Favede. “It is always sad to lose someone who belongs to the Belmont County Family. You’ve been a good friend to the county, you’ve been a good friend to this office and you’ve been a very good friend to me. I appreciate that immensely and I wish you all the best.”

“A lot of good things (Wahl) has contributed to the Engineer’s Department on behalf of Mr. Bennett and his staff, but more importantly the contribution that resonates out into the county that helps our residents directly and indirectly,” said Commissioner Mark Thomas, adding that Wahl’s department has seen a dramatic expansion of duties during the past two years. “I too am very appreciative. It’s with regret but full understanding that you’re leaving to go into the private sector. I appreciate all of your efforts.”

Coffland also complimented Bennett’s work in obtaining grant funding for county projects.

“You brought in quite a few dollars in Ohio Public Works grants, and thank you,” he said.

Pultney Township Trustee Frank Shaffer added his appreciation on behalf of his township projects while he served as liaison for all 16 townships.

“You’ve done a lot for us,” he said.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com