Clark native lands job as county road supervisor

Published 11:15 am Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Clark County Road Supervisor Allan Curtis traveled a long way to get back to Clark County.

Growing up in a military family, he lived in a lot of different places after being born in Clark County. He graduated high school on the Cherokee reservation in Oklahoma, where he lived for a while with his mother, who is Cherokee, he said.

He spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps on active duty, then spent long stretches in the Army reserves and then in the Navy Reserves with the Seabees, a dedicated construction unit, while working in construction in Ohio.

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In 2006, the pull of family brought him back to Clark County.

“My dad, brother, my mom were all still here,” he said.

After 10 years of working in the maintenance department for Clark County Public Schools, Curtis was appointed as the county road supervisor in January.

The new job has been a big change for someone used to working outside most of the time.

“I came from being on the ground, on the side of a dozer saying, ‘Let’s do this,’” Curtis said on a drizzling Monday afternoon. “I’m dying to get out there and see these guys get things done.”

One of the things he hadn’t counted on, he said, is how much paper it takes to run the road department.

“The amount of paperwork is huge,” he said. “We have 13 employees. You’ve got maintenance issues, a fleet of trucks, all these buildings. I don’t have a secretary. It’s all me. It feels like this desk has a log chain that won’t let me go.”

Those employees, he said, have a combined 112 years of experience working for the county.

His primary goal is to save as much money and operate as efficiently as possible to pave more roads each year, he said.

“Here the biggest thing is trying to look at your budget and see how much money you can save to pave as many roads as you can,” he said. “When I look at a piece of equipment, I have to look at it in 10-year blocks.”

One of those efficiency items, he said, includes asking the fiscal court to buy a larger dump truck that can hold enough salt to cover one route at a time without having to return to reload multiple times.

Curtis has also implemented first aid and safety training programs for his employees for their own safety and possibly others they encounter in the county.

“We’re trying to get these guys so they always go home at the end of the night,” he said. “We’re not playing with Tonka trucks. We’re using real machinery.”

Especially on snowy nights, a road department employee moving snow could be the first person on the scene of an accident, he said.

“The chances of them coming up on a wreck are pretty high,” he said. “Putting your hand in the right spot can make the difference.”

Curtis credits the military with his focus on efficiency along with a lot of leadership training as well.

“Leadership is huge,” he said. “Whether it’s dealing with a confrontation at work or getting 100 percent out of your guys, the government will teach you that for free. You just have to be willing to die for it.”

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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