Georgia DOT names first woman as chief engineer — and she’s a Ramblin’ Wreck from CEE

Friday, December 12, 2014

Meg Pirkle takes over as the Georgia Department of Transportation’s chief engineer January 1, the agency’s commissioner announced Dec. 11.

Pirkle, M.S. 1996, is the first woman to serve in the position. She has worked at GDOT for more than 25 years and is a registered professional engineer.

More on her appointment from a GDOT press release:

Longtime Georgia Department of Transportation executive Margaret “Meg” Pirkle has been appointed the Department’s Chief Engineer, effective January 1. Commissioner Keith Golden announced the appointment at today’s meeting of the State Transportation Board. Ms. Pirkle will succeed Russell McMurry in the position, who has been appointed the Department’s Planning Director by Governor Deal.

“The coming months and years will a great challenge and a great opportunity for all of us to maintain and expand Georgia’s transportation network to meet the demands of our growing state,” Golden commented. “Meg has a broad wealth of institutional experience and excellent management skills. Her experience and leadership will be invaluable in that effort.”

Ms. Pirkle has more than 25 years of experience with the Department and currently serves as the Division Director of Permits and Operations. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Vanderbilt University, a Master’s degree in Civil
Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is a registered Professional Engineer in Georgia.

"I appreciate the confidence and faith the board and the commissioner have placed in me,” she said. “I am proud of the time I have spent working with the excellent employees of this Department, who are so passionate and committed to our mission.
I look forward to our continued efforts to improve the state's transportation system."

Ms. Pirkle began her Georgia DOT career in 1989 in the Office of Planning and has worked as a Transportation Engineer, Planning Engineer, State Scheduling Engineer, Assistant Preconstruction Division Director, Division Director of Administration, Assistant to the Chief Engineer and since 2012, her current role.

During her term as Assistant to the Chief Engineer, Meg took on the enormous role of managing the day-to-day operations of the federal stimulus program and successfully guided the Department’s implementation of the $930M initiative, meeting every national deadline and criteria. More recently, Meg has spearheaded the initiatives to implement the Governor’s Winter Weather Taskforce recommendations for the Department. She serves on the AASHTO subcommittee on Traffic Engineering and Maintenance.

As Chief Engineer, Ms. Pirkle will be responsible for management of Georgia DOT’s preconstruction, engineering, programming, intermodal activities and operations.

Ms. Pirkle brings a bit of history to the position — being the first woman to serve as
Georgia DOT’s Chief Engineer and one of the few female Chief Engineers in the country.