The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) has named Dennis G. Kolar the agency’s new managing director now that Brent Bair is set to retire from that post on Thursday, Dec. 29.
Kolar, who previously served as the road commission’s deputy managing director/county highway engineer, was appointed to the managing director’s position on Thursday, Dec. 15 by the Board of Road Commissioners. He will officially start the new position on Jan. 1.
“This is a large responsibility, and I will have large shoes to fill,” Kolar said. “Fortunately, Brent is leaving a very well-run operation, and I appreciate that our board has given me this opportunity. These are challenging times for road agencies in Michigan, given our decades of under-funding, but I am committed to continuing to provide the highest level of service possible for our customers — those using the road system, with the resources available.”
Bair decided to retire at the end of the year after more than 34 years with the RCOC, 19 of which were spent as its managing director.
“Brent did an excellent job of putting in place a group of managers who would be able to take over when he left,” said Board of Road Commissioners Chairman Eric Wilson. “I am confident that Dennis will carry on the traditions of excellence, transparency and accountability that Brent engendered for so many years.”
Board of Road Commissioners Vice Chairman Greg Jamian said he is confident Kolar is prepared for the job.
“We have worked closely with Dennis in his role as deputy managing director/county highway engineer,” Jamian said. “I am confident he will be able to transition smoothly into the managing director’s role.”
Road Commissioner Ron Fowkes echoed Jamian’s sentiments.
“We had some very qualified candidates for this position,” he said. “But Dennis was clearly best suited to the position, given his experience and the fact that he worked closely with Brent for many years.”
Kolar’s experience in the field spans 32 years. He began his career with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), where he was employed for six years.
After joining the RCOC, he spent 11 years in the Engineering Department’s Design Division, starting as a staff engineer and serving as a design squad leader before being promoted to design engineer in charge of the division. Following his service in the Design Division, Kolar transferred to the RCOC Highway Maintenance Department, where he spent six years as the maintenance operations engineer before being promoted to director of the RCOC’s Central Operations Department. He was then promoted to the deputy managing director position.
Kolar is a registered professional engineer and holds a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering from Lawrence Technological University. He is a current member of the American Public Works Association and the Transportation Research Board, where he served eight years on the Maintenance and Operations Management Committee.