September 27, 2016 — Randy Van Portfliet, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) deputy chief engineer, bureau director of Field Services, and Superior Region engineer, recently announced his plans to retire at the end of this year.
“It’s hard to put into words, what MDOT means to me,” Van Portfliet said. “The culture of MDOT and the people who work here are amazing. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to learn so much, to meet so many folks and to be part of the transportation profession of the state and national levels. I know that I will miss the interaction with my friends and colleagues.”
“Randy has committed much of his life to the State of Michigan and everyone’s safe and efficient travel,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “He agreed to wear two hats the past few years, managing the Superior Region while also heading up the Bureau of Field Services. Like many in the department, Randy showed how we can do more with less after the reorganization. Randy was a mentor to many and a personal friend and mentor to me.”
Van Portfliet’s nearly 40-year MDOT career began in 1977 as a bridge designer in Lansing. He then worked at a series of construction assignments in what were then called the Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids districts, and the Lansing central office. A pioneer during MDOT’s late 1990s transformation, Van Portfliet was the first region engineer appointed during the department’s reorganization into regions and Transportation Service Centers (TSCs). He also served as interim executive secretary for the Mackinac Bridge Authority in 1997, as well as serving on many national commissions and coalitions. Some those opportunities have included: the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Standing Committee on Research, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission, the AASHTO Special Committee on Wireless Communication Technology, and serving as MDOT’s representative to the Great Lakes Regional Transportation Operations Coalition (GLRTOC).
In his current role, he’s not only responsible for MDOT operations in Superior Region (which includes the entire Upper Peninsula), but also has statewide oversight for Research Administration, Safety and Security, Construction, Central Maintenance, and Central Operations. Van Portfliet has served as Superior Region engineer since 1997, and bureau director of Field Services since May 2011.
A licensed professional engineer in the state of Michigan, Van Portfliet earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Michigan State University (MSU), as well as a master’s degree in public administration from Grand Valley State University.
He and his wife, Julie, live in Escanaba. They are the proud parents of Jordyn and Kayla, who are attending MSU in pre-med and civil engineering.
“I’m looking forward to a slightly slower pace in retirement,” Van Portfliet said. “I expect to stay busy with family, outdoor activities and the community.”