Chris Hughes
Chris Hughes

LIMA — A new administrative area within the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is now under the leadership of Chris Hughes of Van Wert County.

Hughes was named capital programs administrator for ODOT District 1 late last year. District 1 includes the counties of Allen, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert and Wyandot.

Hughes’ position is new to ODOT. Following a change in ODOT’s departmental structure last summer, each ODOT district merged its construction and planning and engineering areas beneath one administrative umbrella, entitled capital programs. The change in structure will allow for collaborative work and fluid transition between each stage of projects.

“The new organization in capital programs allows our engineers in planning, design and construction to work better as one team. They will be able to oversee project development from beginning to end together, rather than work as individual units on each section of development and construction,” said Kirk Slusher, ODOT District 1 deputy director. “Chris’ experience in both planning and construction makes him a perfect candidate to lead such a dynamic and encompassing department.”

Beneath Hughes, three veteran ODOT employees will oversee individual areas within capital programs: Adam Francis, Versailles, in planning; Eric Scheckelhoff, Elida, in design; and Scott Mullins, Ada, in construction.

In 2007, Hughes moved to construction and worked in that department until his shift to the administrative position last year. During that time, he worked on District 1’s portion of the Fort to Port projects, which realigned and expanded U.S. 24 between Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Toledo, Ohio, and headed the eConstruction effort in District 1. That initiative replaced much of the paper-based work in construction processes with electronic means.

Before taking his new role, Hughes was the project engineer over ODOT’s $113 million widening and reconstruction project on Interstate 75 through Hancock County and the city of Findlay. Robert White has filled the project engineer position and will continue to oversee the project during its second and third years.

A Lincolnview High School graduate, Hughes lives in rural Van Wert County with his wife, Tricia, and three daughters, Beth, Ila and Maggie. He graduated from The Ohio State University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. The same year, he began work as an engineering in training (EIT) in District 1’s planning department.