Mike Wooten was elected chairman of the S.C. Department of Transportation commission Thursday. His term will last one year.
Wooten represents the 7th Congressional District, which includes Horry and Georgetown counties.
John N. Hardee of the 2nd Congressional District was elected the new vice chairman.
Wooten, of Murrells Inlet, is the founding partner and the principal engineer of DDC Engineers, Inc., a Myrtle Beach-based consulting engineering firm specializing in land planning, landscape architecture, environmental planning, land surveying and civil engineering.
Wooten is the second local to serve as chairman in the past six years. Danny Isaac of the Myrtle Beach area was elected chairman in 2010.
As chairman, Wooten sets the agenda for the commission. Wooten said sometimes people think the commission can re-prioritize road projects, which is not the case.
Wooten has been known to be outspoken on the commission. Late last year, he used statistics to make the case for a gas tax increase when he spoke to the Florence Rotary Club. His presentation was to underscore an annual funding shortfall of $400 million needed to repair the state’s weakening infrastructure.
Wooten said Thursday he plans to run the meetings as his predecessors did — by addressing issues commissioners want to talk about.
“If one of my commissioners brings something to me that they want on the agenda, then we’ll get it on the agenda,” Wooten said.
Prior to founding DDC Engineers, Inc., in 1986, Wooten was employed by Santee Cooper where he was responsible for the upkeep of 42 miles of dams.
He also served as the liaison with the US Army Corps of Engineers and South Carolina Congressional Delegation for the state-owned utility. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from The Citadel in 1977, according to a news release.