Athens-Clarke County Unified Government Transit Director Butch McDuffie is retiring on April 30, the county announced in a Thursday news release.
McDuffie was appointed to the position in September 2001 and, aside from a period of military leave in 2004, served in the department director position since that time.
"Serving as Transit Director has been the highlight of my professional career," McDuffie said.
"I'm honored to have been part of the amazing team of drivers, mechanics, and so many other hard-working staff who provide much-needed transportation services and mobility options almost every day of the year in the community," he said. "I'm equally proud of the fact that our efforts as a team have been recognized by residents who appreciate our services, as well as by peers across the country."
During his tenure, Athens-Clarke County Transit was named the Urban Community Transportation System of the Year in 2016 for the United States by the Community Transportation Association of America. Among many other accomplishments, McDuffie oversaw the beginning of Transit's bus fleet conversion from diesel to hybrid electric models, helped bring millions of dollars of grant funding to the community, and coordinated the process of making bus transportation fare-free for youth and, later, all residents through the end of June 2021. In 2019, McDuffie was only the second inductee into the Georgia Transit Association's Hall of Fame for his work and accomplishments in the field of public transportation in Georgia.
"Butch has been a pillar of the transportation industry and well-respected not only locally, but on the state and federal levels for many years," County Manager Blaine Williams said. "He ably used his expertise to help guide Transit through many large-scale changes over the years that affected the whole industry, while also being exceptionally responsive to the needs of our community in particular."
Williams has appointed Assistant Transit Director Pat Hale to fill in for McDuffie until a permanent replacement is named after a national search.
"Athens-Clarke County was fortunate to have Butch as such a fierce advocate for public transportation and for its employees," Williams said. "He helped create a true sense of family in the Transit staff that will transcend his time here and ensure that Transit services will continue to be exceptionally delivered by the fantastic employees that he helped mentor and allow to flourish."
In addition to his community service in the public transportation arena, McDuffie currently serves as the chief of the Shiloh Volunteer Fire Department, where he has volunteered for over a decade, and is a retired U.S. Army maintenance office. He served approximately 15 years of active duty and nine years in the National Guard.