McMickle retires after twenty years of service

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

County transportation director Terry McMickle retired Dec. 31 after 20 years of service with the county. As anyone who has lived here the past two decades or more knows, there have been a lot of changes on the county’s roads during that time.

DOT Director Terry McMickle accepts a proclamation from Chairman Tommy Smith during a retirement celebration held in McMickle’s honor earlier in December. Special photo

“The county was just starting to develop,” he said of the time when he joined the county staff. “Things were happening so fast it was hard to keep up.”

McMickle has lived in the county nearly 50 years and spent virtually his entire professional life working here as well. He started ninth grade at Henry County High School after moving to Locust Grove with his family. One of his earliest jobs was with Bellamy Brothers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and he later partnered with that company, which was known in north Henry for decades, to design, build and manage the Indian Creek mobile home park in Locust Grove.

His first position in county government was assistant DOT director. The county’s first SPLOST program early in the 1990s was managed by an outside firm, and an attempt to extend it died at the ballot box. When the next SPLOST was finally approved a few years later county officials determined to manage it themselves, and McMickle headed up the transportation side of the SPLOST department.

He became public works director in 2005, and when the county leadership structure was altered a few years ago he was charged with leading the county DOT and the recycling center.

One thing that has been a priority for McMickle over the years was looking down the road at future needs, the need for which became evident to him during the county’s first years of explosive growth.

“I learned it was critical to develop long-range plans for such things as resurfacing and pipe repair and replacement,” he said.

One noticeable change over 20 years is a huge reduction in dirt roads in the county. Now there are just under 100 miles of unpaved roads, McMickle said. That may sound like a lot, but it is a fraction of what existed in the 1990s.

As for his immediate future, McMickle said, “I’m going to enjoy things for a while.” He acknowledged, however, that a few companies have expressed a desire to speak with him and he sees some part-time work down the road. “I’ll need spending money to support my hunting and fishing habits,” he said with a chuckle.

There will also be frequent trips to Charleston, home to both of his sons as well as his only grandchild. A daughter is at home, having been involved in full-time mission work and now between assignments.

McMickle was honored with a proclamation at his retirement party and thanked by the Board of Commissioners for his service.

“I enjoyed doing this work mainly because of the high caliber of people I’ve worked with in Henry County,” he said. “They made it a great work environment.”