New road commission chief not a stranger to local highways

January 10, 2024

Steven Wessels

New road commission chief not a stranger to local highways

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

SCOTTVILLE — The Mason County Road Commission is under new leadership. While new to the manager/director position in Mason County, Steven Wessels is a familiar face locally with those who maintain the local roads. Wessels was most recently the regional transportation maintenance coordinator for Michigan Department of Transportation. His job included overseeing MDOT contracts with local municipalities that maintained Michigan trunklines, including Mason County and the cities of Scottville and Ludington.

Wessels replaces Mary Samuels who retired in December after 24 years with the road commission, four as manager/director (see related story here).

Wessels, who currently resides in Lake County, began his work career at Pepsi in Branch when he was 18-years-old.

“After that facility closed, I got a job for MDOT,” he said. “I’ve been with MDOT for 26 years, starting out as an operator, driving trucks, plowing snow. I then working my way into leadership roles. I became a crew leader and foreman and then took a supervisor job in Hastings.”

Wessels supervised the Hastings facility for one year and then was promoted with oversight of more facilities in Grand Rapids. His crews worked on special projects such as bridges, signs and chemical spraying of brush overgrowth along highways in a region that included Mason County.

He then moved into the transportation coordinator position which oversaw the MDOT municipality contracts in Mason, Oceana, Muskegon and Ottawa counties.

“All of those positions gave me leadership skills,” Wessels said. “I have worked with unions, various employees both permanent and seasonal, including the hiring process. I believe a lot of the leaders in the road maintenance industry have made their ways through the ranks. There are things that you can learn in the classroom but the real experience comes from being out in the trenches.”

Wessels said he doesn’t anticipate many major changes at the Mason County Road Commission.

“Mary Samuels left the road commission in really great shape. It’s really a testament to her leadership.”

Wessels said he will continue where Samuels left off with the planning of a new road commission headquarters in the Village of Custer. “I know that is something that Mary really wanted to see all the way through and we will continue to work on finding funding for that project.”

Wessels said he also plans to promote the road commission’s projects.

“Mary really excelled at raising awareness of the road commission and that’s certainly something I am committed to as well.”