WARSAW — On Jan. 1, Steve Moriarty will take over as the Kosciusko County Highway Department superintendent following Scott Tilden’s retirement. Moriarty has been the assistant superintendent for the past seven years.
Beginning his career at the highway department as a part-time mower, Moriarty did not plan to take this route on his career path. He attended Purdue University and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts with the goal of becoming a teacher. However, unable to find a job, he took a full-time position with the highway department as a truck driver. He worked his way up through the ranks, becoming drainage supervisor, which eventually led him to assistant superintendent.
As the assistant superintendent, Moriarty handles the day-to-day operations. This includes helping to apply for federal funding and grants, including the Community Crossings federal grant the county has received for the last three or four years.
Taking over as superintendent, he will be responsible for “more of the funding part of the highway and personnel,” he explained. He wants to continue what Tilden set forth “and continue to try to grow each year after that as funding is available.”
When it comes to the immediate future, Moriarty’s plans revolve around “taking care of the traveling public.” He continued, “Our goal is to provide the best service for the county in the upcoming snow.” With a mild winter thus far, he described how trends show the area is in for a hard January and February. Those in the highway department put in long hours, particularly during the winter months.
When it comes to their overall responsibilities, the highway department is in charge of all of the certified road miles in Kosciusko County except for state roads. This also includes all of the bridges in the county, except those on state roads. On these certified road miles, the department is responsible for brush cutting on county roads, painting stripes, paving, culvert pipes, signing and grading for gravel roads.
For Moriarty it is most rewarding to see the completion of a job, making roads safe and knowing that it has been done correctly. He commented, “Knowing the guys are quick and cover the road in an eight hour period” is also a source of pride. Road mileage-wise, Kosciusko County has the third largest in the state so Moriarty compares it to plowing to Fort Myers, Fla., and back.
The most difficult thing is, due to funding and time constraints, the department is never able to get all the roads paved that he would like to see completed.
Moriarty was born and raised in Mentone. His wife, Jenny, is the executive director of the Fulton County United Way. All three of their children attend Tippecanoe Valley schools. He also enjoys coaching in his free time as a way to help the youth and give back to the community.
“I’m a lifer here at the county highway,” Moriarty admitted. Over the years, the people there become like family. Since Tilden trained him, he is excited for the challenge of his new role and hopes to continue the work that Tilden began. “We’re thankful for Scott’s years of service and he will be sorely missed.”