|CHARLESTON, WV – Everyone with the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) is saddened by the news of the passing of our former Secretary of Transportation, Fred VanKirk.|
VanKirk, who served as Commissioner of Highways and Secretary of Transportation under former governors Gaston Caperton and Bob Wise, passed away on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022. He was 87.
“This is indeed a sad day,” said Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E. “Secretary VanKirk was an icon of transportation in West Virginia. As a young engineer, I had an opportunity to work with and interact with him during the devastating floods in southern West Virginia in 2001. His influence has had an impact on all of transportation in West Virginia.”
VanKirk served for more than 41 years in West Virginia’s transportation sector. After earning a degree in engineering from West Virginia University in 1962, he worked in the Highway Department’s planning and engineering fields until being named the State Highway Engineer in the early 1980s. In 1989, Governor Gaston Caperton named him West Virginia Commissioner of Highways, and in 1995, VanKirk took on the added role of Secretary of Transportation. He later served in this dual capacity under Governor Bob Wise from 2001-2005.
In his role as West Virginia’s lead highway official, VanKirk worked closely with then-Sen. Robert C. Byrd, R-W.Va., on the planning, development, and funding of West Virginia’s transportation network.