Cyrus S. Layson
Cyrus S. Layson, a native of Harlan County, graduated from Harlan High School in 1948. He was one of the first high school students to receive a transportation scholarship from the Kentucky Department of Highways. He is an ardent supporter of the scholarship program, which currently offers 87 young men and women the opportunity to pursue an education and career in transportation. He graduated in 1954 with distinction from the University of Kentucky with a BS in Civil Engineering, and is a member of Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honorary Society.
When Mr. Layson started his 44-year career with the Department of Highways, Kentucky had only one four-lane highway, which ran between Lexington and Versailles. Through the years, he has been an integral part of the development of Kentucky’s modern transportation system of interstate highways, parkways, and countless other highways and bridges built during the past four decades.
Although he started his career with the Division of Planning, he has spent most of it in construction. He obtained his registration as a Professional Engineer in 1959 and Land Surveyor in 1966. During his career, Mr. Layson has served as Resident Engineer, Assistant District Engineer, Principal Construction Engineer, Chief Construction Engineer, Assistant Director of Construction, Director of the Division of Construction, and Assistant State Highway Engineer for Construction. From January 1984 to his pending retirement later this year, he has served the Transportation Cabinet as Assistant State Highway Engineer for Administration and Research.
Mr. Layson is a professional engineer in the truest sense of the word. He is the founding father of the Kentucky Association of Transportation Engineers and has actively fought to keep the engineering profession separate from political pressure and corruption. His staunch defense of the professionalism of the engineering field is an example to all who have come after him and for those just entering the field. His influence reaches far beyond the many state employees he has trained, to the private sector where many are indebted to him for his integrity and professionalism. His pure devotion to excellence in transportation is testimony to the fact that his name has become synonymous with highway construction and research.
After retirement, he intends to remain active in state employee causes, but looks forward to spending more time with his family. Mr. Layson and his wife Marge have four children: Andy and Tim, both civil engineers following in their dad’s footsteps; Holly, a high school junior, and Mark, a former University of Kentucky student who was killed in a car accident in 1988.
He is the first Department of Highways career employee to be inducted into the Kentucky Transportation Hall of Fame. It is with great pleasure that we honor a man dedicated to serving transportation and the Commonwealth.