Ray Dean Bass is known by past and present members of The Alabama Road Builders Association and the transportation construction industry.
His legacy can be attributed to his wide-ranging and highly successful 45-year career as a civil engineer that included nearly 40 years in the public sector, interspersed with six years in the private construction industry.
In June 2004, Mr. Bass retired as chief engineer for The Alabama Department of Transportation. He served as the department’s director for 12 years in three different administrations under Governor George C. Wallace.
Mr. Bass’ illustrious career began in 1960 after he had earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1959 from Auburn University.
This 71-year-old native of Slocomb in Geneva County has touched all the bases in his 45-year journey that has taken him to all corners of Alabama and resulted in many personal and professional accomplishments.
Starting at the county level, Mr. Bass has served as engineer for Lowndes, Montgomery, Dallas and Tuscaloosa counties, where his responsibilities included the construction, planning, management and maintenance of road systems, utility activities and subdivision development.
In the private sector, as general manager for bridge contractors W.O. Smith Construction Co. (1965-67), he worked on Alabama and Florida projects, including the Sunshine Parkway and I-4 in the Orlando and Daytona Beach areas.
From 1979-83, Bass organized and developed the professional consulting engineering firm of Morin and Bass, Inc., to perform highway, subdivision, water/sewer systems and mining operations.
His ALDOT career included service as assistant director (1971-72), director (1972-79 and 1983-87), chief design engineer (1987-95) and chief engineer (1995-2005). When he was retained as director from 1972-79, it was the only time in the history of Alabama that a director had succeeded himself.
As chief design engineer and chief engineer for the past 18 years, Bass’s responsibilities included a myriad of engineering activities that are vital to Alabama’s highway system. These consist of location, design, pre-construction, construction and maintenance of all roadway and bridge projects, utility relocation, roadway lighting and traffic and signalization – all under the umbrella of the ALDOT director’s office. During his term as design engineer, a Global Positioning Satellite system was established for satellite observations from a statewide network of control points.
While director of ALDOT, Mr. Bass saw many significant projects started and/or completed, among them the Mobile Tunnel, Mobile Bay Crossing, Mobile Delta Crossing, I-459 Bypass at Birmingham, I-565 Spur Connector at Huntsville, Warrior River Bridge at Tuscaloosa and the Tennessee River Bridge at Guntersville. Design and construction was initiated for Corridor X (I-22) under his watch.
Other accomplishments with ALDOT have included the initiation of a maintenance management program, Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD) program, development of the project management system and the computerized cash forecasting system.
Professional affiliations include the chairmanship of the committee on public information for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the National Council of State Railroad Officials as well as membership on numerous committees dealing with transportation.
A U.S. Navy veteran (1951-54), Bass and his wife, Clara Smith (Snookie) Bass, are residents of Montgomery and are the parents of three adult children and the grandparents of five.