County engineer honored for 31 years of service

Published 1:48 pm Thursday, August 18, 2022

By EMILY SPARACINO | Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY – Shelby County Engineer Randy Cole has traversed thousands of miles of roads in his three decades with the county’s Highway Department.

Starting Sept. 1, Cole will travel the same roads at a more leisurely pace—and on his own time.

After 31 years of service, Cole is retiring from his position as county engineer, a role in which he has overseen more than 1,000 miles of roadway and 280 bridges across the county’s 808 square miles.

“It’s been a long ride,” Cole said at his retirement party on Thursday, Aug. 11. “It’s been a good ride.”

Cole has managed an engineering staff comprised of licensed professional engineers, certified bridge inspectors, a road department with about 90 employees and an annual budget of nearly $19 million.

He has been responsible for overseeing the Highway Department’s daily operation’s such as road construction and resurfacing, bridge construction and repair, right-of-way maintenance and traffic control upgrades.

“This has never been a job for Randy Cole,” said Sonny Brasfield, executive director of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama. “It has always been his mission to take care of transportation in the fastest-growing, most demanding county in Alabama.”

Cole started working with Shelby County in 1991, when the county was facing financial challenges that ultimately affected every department.

“The transportation challenges that this county has faced, without Randy’s leadership and insight, Shelby County would have grinded to a halt,” Brasfield said. “The people who live in Shelby County today will get to work, they will get to recreation and they will get to church on Sunday much easier because Randy Cole was here taking care of the planning and the transportation needs of a massively growing county.”

State Rep. Arnold Mooney presented Cole with a resolution from the Shelby County Legislative Delegation commending him for his service.

County Commissioner Lindsey Allison said Cole always displayed integrity, and County Attorney Butch Ellis credited Cole with creating one of the best-run highway departments in the state.

“He’s done an outstanding job with this county,” Ellis said. “I’m proud of what he’s done, and I’m proud of him as a person.”

While speaking about Cole’s dedication to serving others, County Commissioner Kevin Morris referenced scripture that reads in part, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

“Randy Cole, you’ve been a man of service to this county,” Morris said. “We appreciate that.”

Cole said he was able to do his job because of the people around him—his coworkers, the members of the Shelby County Commission and his family.

“I’m very honored and very humbled by the kind things that have been said,” Cole said. “I love you all very much and appreciate you being here. If I can ever do anything for any of you on a personal basis, don’t hesitate to call.”