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Meet Mike Horrell, Lawrence County Manager in Western Pennsylvania

April 11, 2022 12:00 AM
By: Yasmeen Manyisha

​Mike Horrell has moved up through PennDOT District 11, starting as a temporary winter operator in Lawrence County in 2003.  After his second winter he became fulltime as an A Operator, eventually transitioning to a B operator. Once a TEO S position became available, he decided to apply as he had gained extensive experience operating the equipment, became a trainer and acted in a foreman role.  He later became a foreman and in January 2019 and was promoted to Assistant Highway Maintenance Manager of the county.  Just days before the initial Covid shutdown in March 2020, Mike took on an acting role as the Lawrence County Maintenance Manager. Although he expected to fill the role for a short amount of time, Mike was excited for the experience and even more excited to apply for the position when it became open. He was hired in November 2020.   

As the Lawrence County Maintenance Manager, Mike addresses a variety of work every day in order to keep the county running efficiently. He embraces that fact that in the "Maintenance World" things can change by the hour depending on weather, equipment, emergencies, and personnel. He also enjoys constantly having to be on his toes and creating backup plans, sometimes even for his backup plans.  

Two things Mike has really valued during his time with PennDOT is providing great customer service and challenging his employees to be the best they can. Although it can feel impossible to please everyone, he finds it very rewarding to do his best for a customer and realizing he or his staff have truly helped them. In an effort to provide good customer service, Mike likes to stress the importance of teamwork among his staff. Although there is a variety of roles to play, success cannot happen if the team does not pull together to meet the common goal. 

Feeling strongly that PennDOT is a great place for growth opportunity, Mike has had great guidance as he has progressed in his career. He first gained his interest in the department from his father, who was a foreman in Lawrence County for 15 years. His father gave his all to his work and taught Mike so much about being a good foreman who can positively interact with the crews and create a mutual respect between management and crews. He also taught Mike to have a strong work ethic and continue to strive for advancements through PennDOT. In addition to his father, Mike had a great mentor in his predecessor, Dave Harding. Dave supported Mike's growth and took the time to show him the ropes in becoming a strong Assistant Manager in the county. Mike is very grateful for the mentorship provided by his dad and Dave and believes their support made all the difference in his gained experience and confidence to excel. 

When Mike is not managing Lawrence County, his first love, is being a dad to his wonderful daughters Jorgia, 5 and Charlee 3. When he's not chasing after his little ones, he enjoys visiting the hunting camp his grandfather built in the 1960's in McKean County, being an Ohio State Buckeyes football fan and fishing.  

Mike has enjoyed fishing with his dad and uncles since he was young. He spent ten years as a charter fishing captain on Lake Erie in Ohio. He really enjoyed it and gained plenty of fascinating experiences. Mike retired the business once he became an Assistant Manager and found out he was going to be a dad for the first time. He wanted to prioritize his family and be there for major milestones in his children's lives. Even though he is no longer a captain, Mike is holding on to his US Coast Guard Captains license in case his daughters find a love for fishing, or his retirement plan, whichever comes first! 

District 11 is so happy to have Mike as part of the team. His great dedication to his work and his family are just two of the many factors that contribute to his fantastic personality.     

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