After serving the Florida Department of Transportation and the citizens of the State of Florida for 51 years, “Skyway Steve” Womble has decided to retire.
In January 1963, Steve Womble began what would eventually become a 51-year career working for the State Road Department, now known as the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). He began his journey at the Temple Terrace Construction office as a rod man and eventually worked his way up to Survey Party Chief by 1968. It was here he would learn the surveying skills for bridge settlement monitoring, which he would carry all the way through to his final days at FDOT – over five decades later.
From 1968 to 1970, Steve participated in FDOT training programs and continued in the construction field before being promoted to work in the District Structures and Facilities office in as a bridge inspector in 1975. Three years later, he became a Certified Bridge Inspector and was promoted to the engineering section, where he specialized in structural rehabilitation project design and load rating of bridges.
Even though Steve was working his way up the FDOT ladder, there was still one thing that had eluded him – becoming a Professional Engineer. So, from 1985 to 1988, Steve participated in a rigorous technical training school where he received the skills necessary to finally obtain his Professional Engineer (P.E.) certification in 1989.
In addition to his wife and three daughters, Steve dedicated any extra time he had to the National Guard, teach-in events, and his church – all while continuing his FDOT career and university studies. He retired (the first time) from FDOT in 1994 and headed to work in the private sector as an engineering consultant.
During this time, Steve received his Master’s degree in History from the University of South Florida in 1995, and he still never misses the chance to have a conversation about American history (especially if it’s about World War II).
1999 saw the return of Steve Womble to the FDOT to serve as the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Resident Maintenance Engineer, a position he held up until his retirement last month. The first Skyway Bridge was completed in 1954; a second bridge was added in the early 1970s, which was eventually replaced in April 1987 with the cable-stayed bridge we know today. Steve Womble was given the task to head the “Skyway Steering Team” in 1999, to provide continuity of maintenance to Florida’s iconic bridge. Steve has over half a century of experience working in the transportation industry, with dedication and loyalty to what he believes is his mission. This extensive bridge experience, calming demeanor, and dedication to public service will truly be missed.
Congratulations on an amazing career, Skyway Steve!
YouTube Video Link: https://youtu.be/dkU2uIs54IQ