GRAYSON: The two persons were Tom Heilbron and Billy Joe Sexton, and, uh,I remember vividly, Tom Heilbron said, "I'm tired of school. I don't want to go anymore," but his wife, Mary, said, "Yes. He'll take it, and he'll go get his master's degree." And we didn't, we didn't have urban planning degrees in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. They both had to go out of state which I think is, uh, really a shame that we don't have that available to our, our students to become urban planners, but at least it showed that the people were interested and recognized this cultural shift between the rural--back in those days mostly rural, but they could see that we were becoming fifty/fifty almost--rural and urban. And, uh, so I had two in, uh--waited a year-and-a-half and I 1:00had two urban planners in the advanced planning, uh, unit.
MILLER: Do you recall what their commitment was? Um, how many years tocontinue in order to receive the scholarship?
GRAYSON: Uh, every month that they, we paid them there they owed usback one month, and they both came back. Billy Joe Sexton stayed for twenty-some years. Tom Heilbron came back to Lexington and opened his own office, but it--I just think that we ought to be able to be doing some of that now. I think that we ought to really be getting some-- these young, youngsters that are getting master's degrees, I think to find out if they really are interested in staying with the highway department we ought to get them master's. We could do that now--but I think we ought to get them a doctorate's degree. Uh, don't get me started on that, but--(Miller laughs)--And an interesting thing, I 2:00think, when Governor Nunn--we're up to about 1970--the first republican governor I had the opportunity to work with. In my career, I had years where I was able to work with seven governors. They all were democrats except, uh, Governor Louie Nunn. Uh, he also wanted to build a toll road like all of his predecessors had built. Uh, we had a constitution that said you couldn't over-obligate--constitutional requirements--you couldn't over-obligate the state fund-wise, money-wise. But we went- -my first--took me to Wall Street when we went, and, uh, they said, "How are you going to pay for this because you have a constitution?" 3:00He said, "I'm paying all those democratic governors that made the same toll roads and came up here and you bought the bo-, bought the bonds. So I'm paying theirs off, so our full faith and credit of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is at stake and you don't have to worry about it. The bonds will be paid." As an added sideline, I almost lost my whole faith in our country's monetary system. That, that was the wildest place I've ever envisioned seeing, to see how that operates on the floor. Uh, it's kind of interesting to see, having seen Governor Combs when he went to sell the gov-, sell the toll road bonds. He didn't want to go to Wall Street. They told him he had to go. He 4:00didn't have any prepared test--he got up at the meeting with all the potential buyers and said, "I'm Governor Bert Combs, Commonwealth of Kentucky. We need the money, and we'll pay you back," and sat down. Quite a short--but that's the kind of person he was. I might say Governor Combs and Governor Nunn were two, um, people--opposite side of the aisle, but they were like two peas in a pod. They both sacrificed their political careers and raised taxes. None of my other bosses had the, uh, stamina or the guts to do that, but they saw the need and 5:00they, and they both, uh, recognized the need and, uh, sacrificed their political careers. They were great--the other governors, I respected and enjoyed working with them, but these two, they were just, they had an opportunity to do something and they took advantage of it.
WHAYNE: What was that road that Governor Nunn was trying to fund? Whattoll road was that or did it end up--
GRAYSON: Western, Western Kentucky. It, it was--we didn't do as goodof planning. They all ended up in Elizabethtown at--together where they were coming and the interstates, but it worked out pretty good. Kentuckians have a way of, uh--I don't know--I just think that they do things in a, uh--we don't need to list all the parkways. By the 6:00way, it's in interesting thing. Commissioner Ward said, "We call them parkways." And I said, "They're not really parkways, you know, because, uh, we allow commercial vehicles on them." And he said, "There you are, another engineer. You don't even know the definition of a parkway." He always would, his method of approaching problems was unbelievable. When a delegation would come in with a road problem or something, he would find out before they got there probably what they were going to talk about, and then when they would come in the delegation and before they'd even say what they'd come for, he'd say, "Don't know why you're here, but there's a problem down there. And I've been talking to those damn engineers, and they're wrong." His philosophy was, if you keep them off-stride, you stay one step ahead of them and he always did. 7:00They said, "He's already on our side. We didn't have a problem to talk to him about." I learned a lot from the Commissioner. I could write a book about Commissioner Ward. I can't even write a history book, but I'd like to write a book about Commissioner Ward. Uh, in 1970, some more seeds were sown. Governor Ford came in and reorganized state government which I thought was the, probably the best thing any governor did. There were a lot of commissions, task forces; the government tree was hanging full of ornaments. There was no way for anybody, as a governor, to talk to all the pieces that represented state government, and he reorganized it so if he called a meeting of the cabinet, in twenty-four hours everybody would know what he wanted. 8:00He's also--Governor Ford was the only one when he campaigned, he said, "This is what I'll do for transportation." Kept up a notebook, and when he made governor, every month he'd want to know where those projects were. He was a great person for follow--following through and, uh, he was, uh, the American Road and Transportation Road Builders asked Kentucky--as all the other fifty states to do also--to select two people who have made the most significant impact on transportation in the commonwealth. And believe it or not, they selected Senator Ford and a fellow named Grayson, and I never understood that because I didn't stand in too well with the contract. But at least they respected me, and that was a nice award. The, uh, first part of the seventies to '75 9:00was we were starting to shift from a one-mode department to a multi- mode department. The one thing that I really was proud of, here again we were not very favorably received, changing from a highway department to a transportation department, but as they say, there's nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. We had fifty highway departments, and I believe all of them realized that they were needing to change. It was a slow process. The association called the American 10:00Association of State Highway Officials, the Highway Research Board and all the fifty department of highways had to change conceptually, as well as by name. So starting in the seventies, we started the movement. At one point in time, we had an organization called COSDOT, Conference of Secretaries of DOT's. We were considered a splinter group from AASHTO--I mean AASHO. It was the Highway Department. They were scared to death that we were a splinter group, and we were going to do away with the highway officials. But we, we only wanted a place that we could sit down and talk because we had changed, and we were go--we were DOT's. And that first meeting was in the first year of, uh, Disneyworld or Disneyland, Orlando. I forget the name, but we 11:00had our first conference of DOT's there. And you could see that it was going to be a hard fight to change the Highway Research Board to a Transportation Research Board, but we did, we being all fifty states. And we changed AASHO to AASHTO and everybody realized that we now were representing multi-modes of transport. Here again, we see the team almost, you know, sometimes we forget pedestrians. We forget, uh, motorcycles. We just, we're thinking only in moving people in a vehicle which is probably as strong now. We need to be thinking moreso as multi-mode than we did back in the, between the seventies and '75. 12:00In 1975--I'm not sure but I--maybe someone should check on the date of this, but the federal government came along and passed the legislation that said to get any federal funds for transportation in the future you will need to have a three-seed planning process. Here again, we see the seed of planning in, in transport rising again which said, in essence, you must have comprehensive, complete and continuing planning processes or you don't get any federal money. Shining example of Kentucky where we were void (??), the three northern Kentucky counties in northern Kentucky--Boone, Kenton and Campbell--they operated like three completely different counties and Cincinnati across the river, 13:00and so here again was the planning element and I was asked to-- (laughs)--to go to northern Kentucky, Ashland and Huntington area and Louisville and the Indiana area to sell planning. But I thought it was a great thing to be able to sell. I remember talking to the judge of Boone County and said, "You need to partner with your, uh, adjoining county or you don't get any federal funds." (coughs) Excuse me.
MILLER: So you were still then, um, with the Advanced Planning Unit atthat time or had that been sort of restructured?
GRAYSON: I'd already graduated from advanced planning and was madeplanning engineer for the state. You might be interested in knowing my goal in the highway department was to be state highway engineer. 14:00I didn't make it. My best friend made it. Commissioner Goss under Louis Nunn was looking for a state highway engineer. He narrowed it down to two people; J. R. Harbison and Calvin Grayson. J.R. Harbison was my closest friend. I remember sitting there saying, "Well, it's down to two of us." I didn't get it. I think they made the best choice when they got Bob. He was a close friend, but then I decided that there was more than one way to skin a cat so I decided to convince the people now that we're a DOT, you need a statewide multi-mode planning engineer, transportation engineer, and convinced, uh, my boss that that was what we needed. (clears throat) And, uh, planning, at this time, was really riding pretty high. We had urban planners. I convinced 15:00my boss that we needed a planner in all twelve district offices. Boy, that was a hard sell. The chief engineer or district engineer said, "I don't need a planning engineer." The good ones said they did. I was able to convince them that if you have a planning engineer, he'll be your right arm. He can take care of all your problems from the public, and so we finally made that and got a planning engineer in each of the twelve district offices. But here again was the partnership and the team effort of engineers. Hey, we need economists. It's an interesting story. Maybe somebody will appreciate this. I hired the first economist that was ever hired--(clears throat)--in the highway department. Commissioner Ward said, "What in the world do we need an economist?" I said, "Well, the federal government has a book 16:00called Cost/Benefit Ratio and I don't understand it. So I wanted someone to explain it to me." So he said, "See if you can find one." I found a young man who had majored in English and economics. Sorry I can't remember his name, but he drank coffee and smoked cigarettes continuously--I gave him the book and said, "Will you please read this and condense it in two pages? It's the federal Cost/Benefit Ratio." He came back and had it in a page-and-a-half. He said, "It's not a cost/benefit ratio. It's a method that the federal government uses to make a decision. They don't want to--it's a hard decision. They don't know how to make it, so they just turn the crank. If it comes up greater than one, cost/benefit ratio greater than one, you approve it. If it comes out less than one, don't approve it." I took it to my boss, Commissioner Ward, and I said, "I want to show you how great this--you didn't want to hire this economist. This young man is something else. Read this." And he looked at me and said, "Grayson, he 17:00isn't great just because you agree with him." I'll never forget that. We have a tendency to say great because I agree with him, and that's not really realism. But we judge that and we shouldn't, but what a--he just put me down so quick. "Just because you agree with him, doesn't make him great." So I'm at 1975. Do you have a question?
WHAYNE: Just kind of moving on maybe as far as--
GRAYSON: I get to move to the center in '79.
WHAYNE: Yeah. Okay. When did you become secretary of transportation?
GRAYSON: Nineteen seventy-seven.
WHAYNE: Okay. And can you talk a little bit about--
GRAYSON: I had seventeen bosses in twenty-seven years. My original18:00intent was to stay four years in Frankfort, and here I was twenty-seven years. Four o' clock in the afternoon, Governor Carroll called and said, "Please come," and I got all my books, project listings and go at four o' clock in the afternoon. And then when I get over there the boss at that time was, uh, John Roberts who was secretary of transportation, and he's the one that said, "Hey, we're going to see the governor." When we get there, uh, the governor said that John Roberts has got to resign. He's been facing his, uh, entrance to his farm with fieldstone off of a highway project, and he's leaving. "And I need a secretary," Governor Carroll said, uh, "and I want to swear that person in at nine o' clock in the morning and they tell me you're the person to do that. No other person as an employee has ever held this position." I'd been 19:00there twenty-seven years, but, uh, this was a surprise to anybody. And I started talking because I didn't know how to answer his question, and I remember the secretary of the cabinet said, "Grayson, shut up. Yes or no." And I, I knew if I turned it down I would have difficulty sleeping with myself because I always wondered about those seventeen people who had been up there, what kind of person they were inside the office and not outwardly. So I said yes and told my wife, said, "We have to be here at nine o' clock in the morning," and I'll never forget her words. She said, "You've lost your feeble mind." She meant it. She really meant it. So, uh, here again we've seen all of the systems 20:00of highways. We've seen all of the modes of transport. We've seen all of the legislation statewide, federal-wide, nationwide, all blending together for a transport system of all those, but in essence saying it has to be a team effort, and I, I just think that, um, when people say that government and private sector can't work together--to give you an example of how bad it was, when I was secretary and I established our railroad division, I was criticized very harshly because the rail division--railroads were private sector. They said government 21:00doesn't need to stick its nose into private business. And it was very difficult to sell, but if we were going to be a DOT we were going to have a home for every mode of transport. So I had a rail division, air division--had it all. Built the first sidewalk with road funds. That caused a, a real squeaky axel, but anyway--(clears throat)--the, the opportunity that we had could, could have been bypassed if we hadn't really fought for a home for all modes of transport. During this time when I was secretary--(clears throat)--the railroad--I'll use an 22:00example. The US 68 corridor from Lexington to Maysville/Flemingsburg railroad abandoned the trackage, and we--I thought the state should be helping the local government to fight the railroads to keep the rail service. And this is the reason I thought we needed the rail division to provide some help for the local government because they didn't have a home. "Who can we talk to? We'd like to keep the railroads, but we can't control the railroads. They're private." So they abandoned the trackage. The next year? Greyhound bus lines, abandoned Greyhound bus lines in the US 68 corridor. They had the complete corridor, all transport--no transport available for this corridor. (clears throat) Today now we're saying, Why did we abandon the rail? We shouldn't have 23:00done that. We didn't help the locals fight for it because we don't even have a rail division now. I talked to Mike Hancock. I said, "Hey, guess what the le-, well, guess what the legislature did this time? They created an advisory committee for water, advisory committee for the rail." Two more ornaments on the government tree hanging down, hanging loose, and the people wanted it. In fact, uh, KBT, they called me in Florida and said, "Boy, these people really want these things." I said, "Sure. They want a home, but the advisory committee's not a home." They won't have a home until they get it in Frankfort. Sure, they would favor that. If it's going to be a DOT, you ought to have a home for every, every mode of transport. So, uh, 1979. 24:00
WHAYNE: How long were you secretary?
GRAYSON: Three years, until 1980 and Governor Brown came in. I knewwhen I accepted the job that I--the end would be when Governor Carroll left, but what a, what a capstone to a fellow who had really been fortunate to be talked into going to the highway department. What a, what a career. I wouldn't trade it with anybody. So in 1979, I came to the University of Kentucky and said, "Hey, you know, we, we need this thing to put a team effort together. We've got all these providers over here, and we've got all these users over here and they need to work together in concert, and academia is the catalyst that can 25:00make that happen." That was the first thing when Henry Ward said, "Go to the highway department"--I mean--"Go to the University of Kentucky and get your economic impact study." It was--everything was focusing that we needed to put all the pieces together, and, and that's why--I know, that's a long way around--but that's how I felt like we needed to have a, uh, transportation center here on campus. We had a Kentucky Highway Department Research Division on campus, but in keeping with the multi-mode, that had been changed to a, from a Highway Research Division to a research found-, Transportation Research Foundation. 26:00And there's a date--I don't know when that happened--but it was changed from the Highway Research Division to a Transportation Research Foundation. And so--
WHAYNE: How did this position come about or your transition over to UKand--or, you know, who were some of the people or what were you--
GRAYSON: Uh, I came over here and talked to Dr. Jack Deacon who Ireally think is one of the sharpest people I had the opportunity to work with, and he's the one that helped me put the objectives together for the resolution that was passed through the Board of Trustees. And that was passed in 1979. Um, my--it was not--the research was supposed to support the service. It was not--this was different from 27:00the transportation division or Transportation Foundation--Research Foundation that did research. I wanted the research to sustain the service component. This, this thing that the cities needed and the counties needed and the state needed to be able to put teams together, but how do you get it together? Well, the logical thing is, is the academia. You know, they can, they can put teams together. So in, in 1980, I think you're going to have to get what happened from when I signed this transportation. I left state government, and you had Patsy Anderson--you ought to interview her--and Dave Blythe. He's gone, but 28:00Patsy can tell you about him. She and Dave Blythe were the only two employees, I believe. Isn't that right?
GRAYSON: I believe so. In 1980, I went to work for Wilbur, Smith &Associates as vice-president for Kentucky. While there, I was trying to figure out what was happening with the Transportation Center. I called President Singletary and he said, "Uh, we can't get any money for the center." I said, "Did you try?" He said, "Well, it's considered a part of higher education, and we're having rough funding problems for higher education." It was rough back there, but it's a whole lot rougher now. But so I said, "Well, I don't think the Board of Trustees that passed that resolution wanted it to be a paper organization. I 29:00think they wanted it a active transportation center on campus." And he said, "Can you get money? You think you can get money?" I said, "My wife says I can get money for everybody except the family." I remember him saying, "If you think you can get the money, give me a proposal; two proposals." So I did. Gave him one temporary and part-time, and one full-time. He came back and said, "Think about taking a position as a temporary employee with the University of Kentucky." And then I met with him in nineteen, uh--let's see. I met with Dean Eichorn 30:00and Vice-President Gallaher. Wasn't that his name? And they said, "Where do you want"--no. They said, "We're going to put the center in the College of Engineering." And I said, "No. That's not where I wanted it." They said, "If you want the center you better take it or you won't be able to get your center." I wasn't against the College of Engineering, but I wanted it multi-discipline and I was afraid if, if we put it in a college we would be, be labeled as a one-discipline center and I didn't want that. I thought if we could be under the vice-president for research, we could more actively secure all disciplines: economists, geographers, planners, engineers, everything. Uh, but they said, "You either go this route or you don't get the 31:00center." So this is how we arrived at the College of Engineering.
MILLER: Can you, um, describe then some obstacles that you faced withthe state? I'm sure there were some concerns with the state highway research entity turning up--
GRAYSON: Very much. Uh, my memory's not good about, uh, Bob Dean, whowas director of research. Probably the most, uh, computer-oriented person I've ever known. I think, I think Bob could tell you how much toothpaste he used his whole life because everything was computerized. I marveled at him. Um, there was a period where I was, uh, trying 32:00to get money. In nineteen, uh, eighty--you've got to get from Sherry when I came on board as temporary. I don't--I think it's '83 or '84. Anyway, 1984, I went to Frankfort and I worked with the, uh, legislative research people, uh, and established legislation for an advisory board for the center. Uh, there is a bill. I don't know the number or anything. In 1986, uh, I got legislation that provided, uh, the appropriation of one-tenth of one percent of the rural secondary system money, uh, not to exceed $190,000 annually for the center. That was the first money that I had and then I went to congress and 33:00got, I think, first--one year--of $250,000 dollars is from the federal government, from the federal legislation. And that was the beginning money for the center. (clears throat)
I am not sure when. All I know is Dean Bowen was here--and check histime--when I asked him, "Can we merge"--I'm getting to what you asked for, Laura--"Can we merge the Transportation Research Foundation?" And Bob--I believe Bob Dean had passed away, and, uh, "Can we merge the center and the transportation research together and call it the Kentucky Transportation Center? And we'll do all of the, uh, research 34:00for the transportation department--I hate that word "cabinet". I wish they'd change it. (clears throat) He could do it with an executive order, Baesler. Not Baesler.
GRAYSON: Beshear. So, uh, Dean Bowens said fine. He thought thatwas a good thing and then, uh, and then I don't know when I went from temporary to permanent, but you ought to get a date for that.
GRAYSON: And he made me director, and I left Wilbur, Smith. I guessthat's closer to--I ought to be able to remember those things, but I don't. Sherry has all that, I think.
GRAYSON: Um, I think that the page that I showed that was a blocked deal35:00that had all the users and the providers and then the center sitting in together as a transfer agent, that was--I found that, by the way. I think you've got a copy of it, haven't you?
WHAYNE: Uh-huh. Yes.
GRAYSON: I think that visually says what I've tried to say for the lasthour and fifteen minutes. It'd have been much better if I'd just given you that piece of paper, I'm sure.
WHAYNE: No. No. Um, what were some of the--do you know what was goingon at the center? You know, activities or projects during these initial years?
GRAYSON: The biggest problem we faced was the federal government said,"All the planning money that you're getting from us cannot be given to one organization. It has to be open, competitive negotiation or"--not bidding. It wasn't, it wasn't--they didn't bid for it, but they 36:00didn't, that was not allowed. But, uh, because we had this research component over here and now we'd moved it into the center, what we needed was an instrument--I don't like to call it a contract, but a cooperative agreement between the transportation department and the Transportation Center wherein we would be their major research arm and they didn't have to go anyplace else. And say--the other thing that I was most important that we did not want--did not want to try to say that all the research had to be done at the University of Kentucky Transportation Center, but what, what I was saying that all the research that the DOT does will be funneled through the Transportation Center so that you didn't have too many people, too many ornaments 37:00on the tree. I mean, if you gave the job to Western, to Louisville, to Eastern then you--it would just be a real conglomerate, and I didn't want that to happen. The University of Kentucky Transportation Center would not do all the research, but they would be responsible for funneling all of that through to the transportation department so that we always had an advisory committee that would be checking on the policies and the management and the--when the state legislation was made for the funds, their annual report has to be sent every January to the Legislative Research Commission, to the governor and to the legislature. I think the one I just read this year--I don't know who did it--I thought it was the best one I'd read. I'm prejudiced because 38:00it's blocked and it showed teams. It had--it was the visual aid of teams operating on these projects and, boy, I was amening every one that I looked at. The bridge, the bridge project, uh, I just think that Issam Harik is a gem. Uh, he, he--with all the bridges and the waterways we've got in this state, that's one of the few things that I think I've done that's a good, good deal when I put him in charge of that construction part for the center. So, uh, I guess that's the best I can answer your question, Laura.
WHAYNE: That's fine. Um, can you talk a little bit, I guess, about the39:00center, the Transportation Center and how it's changed or grown over the years?
GRAYSON: Well, what--the first money part from the standpoint--moneydoesn't always mean growth, but at least it's an indicator. Uh, when I left in 1997, that was--we had $500,000 to start with and when I left we had a six million dollar budget. So from 1980, middle eighties, to 1997, that all came, and none of it was university money. That was from all customers, the primary customer being the Kentucky Department of Transportation, but I felt that this center could work with consulting engineers and private industry. And a shining example of what I thought was the best thing I've ever been associated with, I 40:00guess, at the center was the Advantage I-75 project which, uh, was the best example of teamwork and of anything that I've been able to work with. We had six states located along the Interstate 75 corridor. We had the federal government. We had commercial trucks, UPS to be for sure, and all the local governments in between sitting around the table to say, "Can we work together and come up with a new way of moving commercial vehicles on the interstate system without having to stop the truck?" And when we had that meeting here and those six states showed 41:00up, I was so proud of the staff. Gosh, they did a -----------(??) job. They were not going to talk. They were not going to be a part of this. They were all state's righters. We'll weigh every truck that comes through my state. "We don't care what Tennessee does." Tennessee says, "I'll not trust Kentucky." It was really a state's righters meeting, but this staff in the center, the next morning when they came in we had in each of their chairs what had accomplished in those meetings on the side. And what we were selling was, "Hey, we're not asking you to trust them forever. Will you trust them for two years? Will you just trust them for two years?" All we were asking was to trust: states to trust each other, UPS to trust not just UPS, any truckers that would 42:00volunteer to go trusting each other. And I want to tell you, it was not an easy thing. It was like babysitting for six states. There was not a week that went by that I didn't call every state highway depar-, state DOT and say, "Where are you?" You know, "Are you still with us? You still with us?" And by golly, the Intelligent Transportation System that--that was the first step in the commercial area of trucks. Boy, did this, did this center get publicity on that. We really, uh, I just think we blew them out of the water, and I think you'll ask anybody, this, this staff really sold that thing. And the commissioner--I mean, the secretary, I give him credit. I can't remember who that- -vice-secretary or commissioner or something. I can't remember his name. Boy, it's terrible--he did a yeoman's job. We had our DOT, we 43:00had this center and we had all of, all the six states and the federal government, and then they said we couldn't do it because they said, ICC, you're violating interstate commerce. You cannot have cross-state boundaries moving commercial vehicles. That violates ICC law. But, you know, where there's a will, there's a way. We didn't contract to do that. You know what we did? We formed an alliance. It was not a contract. It was an alliance. Isn't that simple? And wasn't it great to be able to say we've--my visual aid said there's been a lot of ruts in the road, but we've been able to get over them. There's a way--if 44:00there's a will, there's a way, and, um, my most treasured award is the one that the federals gave me to call me doctor of change. I still think we ought to change the technology transfer, t-squared, you know, but Patsy gives me a rough time on that.
MILLER: So if you had to really think back over the years to whatevents or changes in transportation, um, you witnessed and made a large impression on you, what, what would you narrow it down to?--(Grayson clears throat)--It could be within the state or--
GRAYSON: I think the ability for partnerships or teams to be able totake a problem and work together, develop that trust in each other 45:00and find a workable solution. (clears throat) In all transportation projects there are conflicts, controversies. There is never one, one sure way that answers all the questions. What you're looking for is that--to provide the maximum benefit with the minimum of penalties and if there are going to be penalties, to mitigate those penalties to the least amount possible, and everybody knows, "We've been in on it from the beginning and we got a fair shake." And I think it works anywhere, not just in transportation: churches, schools. It's called planning, and I'm happy that I've been associated. Uh, I'll say that the legislators that I worked with in Frankfort for a long time, they trusted me--thank the Lord--but I think they understood, uh, that I 46:00was trustworthy. Secondly, uh--(laughs)--when I became director at the Transportation Center, the legislators that were still there said, "I told you. He's the daggondest planner that we've ever had. He went over there and established that center so he would be director," and I said, "You're exactly right. I had it always there. That's the way I planned it." The good Lord didn't know I was going to be director here. I had a good job with Wilbur, Smith, uh, but, but this was more gratifying. And, but I always told Cheryl I had it planned, but, uh, it was nice to be able to, to go to a place in the highway department and see all the changes happen: the name, the function, everything. 47:00And, and then to be given the capstone job as an employee? That's satisfying. Nothing for me, but the people that I had the opportunity to work with, you know? I got more money when I was secretary than anybody; not because of me. I'd been there twenty-seven years, and it's just the idea of trust or marketing. And I, and I, I was at the- -they invited me to come as the past president of KSPE, the old transp-, uh, you know, KSPE which I worked at for a long time. When I was here, the registration of engineers was in a building over here that was condemned. I mean, we called ourselves a profession, and we had our one employee that we had in a condemned building? When I was secretary, we built a building there on the corner of that interchange now. 48:00Everybody thinks it's connected to the Democratic headquarters. They say there's a tunnel from the KSPE building underground the goes to the Democratic head--(Whayne laughs)--And I say, "Sure it did," you know. I was secretary when we built that. We caught a lot of flack. We took all the money that was sitting over there not being used and built that building and then said to the registration board, "This is your home rent-free for twenty years." And we--well, the Courier Journal thought it was illegal. Tried to give us--we were on solid ground, and that's the reason they recognized this. They said, "Here's all the past presidents--," and we're trying to get a scholarship off the ground now. That's the best way. Look at all these past presidents. They had me there because I was the oldest, and you know Clint that's on the advisory board? He's the new president. He's the youngest, so they took our picture; oldest and the youngest. But, but here's another 49:00example of, uh, you know--we now have a building that we're proud of and an executive director. It's a--it--my time, I didn't make all the changes happen. I don't think you ought to change for the sake of changing, but I just believe if you've been doing something five years the same way, you just ought to take a look at it. There's probably a better way, uh, that you could do that, and I've been blessed with the best professional staff. When I sat down with the other forty-nine states, I never felt second because of the young people that I had working with me, and most of them were scholarship students. And I'm still not satisfied with that system yet. It ought to be a cooperative effort. It wasn't done right while I was secretary, but I tried. It hasn't been done right, yet. Those, those students ought to be told 50:00how valuable they are every month, every month. When I was secretary and I told the dean, "I'll meet with them every one semester, you pay the bill. The next semester, I'll pay the bill, but we'll meet with them once a semester and tell them how great they are and how much we need them in Frankfort." Right now, I just can't hardly market what's happening. They got the FBI looking at them, the an inspector general. They got all these people looking at them, lawsuits.
WHAYNE: And who is it they're looking at? The--
GRAYSON: Well, if you want these graduate students to stay with you,look at what they're looking at in Frankfort now. I don't care if this is taped. Our justice system is just for the birds. This last deal where they let everybody go--(sighs)--unbelievable. These 51:00young professionals don't want to be involved in an environment--my personal opinion is right now that we ought to have a reorganized transportation, DOT, and take away the cabinets. I think we ought to have a peer review group in the DOT, five or seven people, uh, not elected, but appointed, but professionals that would be the peer review; not 138 legislators over there arguing over highway projects. I feel sorry for Mike Hancock. I said, "When I employed you, you had black hair. Now you've got gray hair. I hope you don't lose it while you're in this." What a great young man.
GRAYSON: You can cut all this stuff out if you want to.
WHAYNE: No. Um, how do you feel like the Transportation Center has52:00impacted Kentucky?
GRAYSON: I think the technology transfer group is probably the bestthing that's happened from the standpoint of, uh, county and rural secondary roads. We've got good legislation that if they--all the county judge executives and their road departments functioned legally, we wouldn't have any problems, but they don't. The other alternative then, to get the road system like it should be, is the education process, and in my opinion, the technology transfer that's happened since the center's been established is the most notable progress in the county road system in my whole career. And I give a lot of credit for that to Patsy. Nobody knows the impact that that thing is making with 53:00the Road Scholars and the number of workshops they have. We can't make them function legally because the justice system doesn't work that way, seems like, so the alternative is education and training and that's the most significant thing. The other part that's just as significant except it's on a different level is with the state system, the kind of, uh, uh, programs like, for example, retrofitting all the bridges on the state for earthquakes, which was done by the center here. And I know when they came out and said all these things had to be done, the first bid that got it done, the secretary down there turned it down, but he knew he was in, in bad, thin ice. He re-, he came back and led it again and got all the retrofit. That's a significant impact, 54:00especially with what's happening now out at--by the way, did you see the San Francisco Bridge, they say it's not going to get done until thirteen, 2013? That's 141 years since they had that last one. If their estimate's right, I wouldn't want to live there. Of course, Clays Ferry Bridge is built on a fault also, you know.
WHAYNE: Yeah. Can you, uh, tell us a little bit about the Academy forCommunity Transportation?
GRAYSON: That's all after me.
WHAYNE: Was that after you? Okay. All right. I couldn't remember whenthat was.
GRAYSON: You can give that credit to Paul Toussaint, Paul, and, uh, DonHartman. I will say to you that I sure benefitted from Don Hartman's planning, and I benefitted from faculty. The center benefits faculty. 55:00Merl Hackbart was a--is a real asset to the center and, uh, I know it's been very difficult for the dean, uh, because he thinks more faculty ought to be involved with the center. I think it's a two-way street. Um, while I was here--and I can only speak for that--they didn't like the fact that I said, "If you get, if you get a research project from the center, you're going to operate as if you're working as a part of the center, and that is, you're going to have to tell us where you are quarterly or something. We're not going to wait for a year and you tell us it needs further research." I said, "I don't like that. That, that doesn't market with me." And they said, "Well, we don't want to be supervised," the faculty said to me, "We don't want to be supervised. It's as if you don't trust us." I said, "It's not 56:00a matter of trust. We've got customers, and you're operating with our customer's money. And he wants to know, 'What have you done with my money,' now. Not a year from now, 'Well, we're here, but we need--'" And I know the dean and I didn't get along. He also didn't like--he said, "All your stuff is, uh, practical research. You don't have any basic research." I said, "Thank the Lord we don't have all basic and not prac, and it's all practical. That means somebody's using it." He didn't like that. He couldn't even define basic research. Uh, you know, Dean Lester's fine, but, um, I better not say that on tape. (Whayne laughs) He took all the money that was coming back to our researchers and, uh, and put a stop on it. Did you know that? 57:00
WHAYNE: No, I didn't.
GRAYSON: The twenty percent that comes back that's supposed to go forequipment and further research, he put a stop on it, and, uh, I went to the president. I went to the controller and, uh, and I said, "You can't do that. In fact, if they want research they can do their own research. They're not going to take the money away." The president said, "You and the dean will have to work it out." The controller said, "You and the dean work it out." Finally, finally he said he'd borrowed the money, and I said, "How are you going to pay it back?" And, uh, he said, "A person's retiring." It still took two and a half years to get the money back. Uh, I just think that, that the researchers that do the research deserve to have that money come back to them, and it's a matter of fair play, fair play. And I'm going to have a session with Joe Crabtree that doesn't pay any attention to me, but I don't want, 58:00I don't want the academia to swallow up the objectives of this center. And, and it's tough here. It's tough sledding. Uh, you know, their human resources are tough, you know, in terms of hiring and firing, so you've got, you've got to stay awake every day. Um, but I'm so proud of this center. Uh, there's a whole lot more. What the center needs to do is, one more time, is do what we did about 1990. I don't--can't remember. We put in dollars and cents the benefits that came from this center's projects. It needs to be done again, and when you get up in front of the legislature or up in front of anybody, our customers, it's in dollars and cents what we've saved, and that's the way it ought to 59:00be done again. Cy Layson was still living when we did that, and the reason we did that was because the government needed to be convinced that we were the sole supporter of the research. "So tell us what you've done." And we wanted to have, we wanted to have that in our back pocket that says, Here's what our research has done for, for the road system, and not just the road system, but for transportation in the commonwealth and in the nation. And we need to do that again, and I've got that down as--for something to tell Joe. You ought to start putting together dollars and cents because--in fact, I told him on the phone--whenever research becomes a budgetary item, you're in trouble. You're really in trouble because if you haven't got a budget amount, "Well, let's cut this research." As I told him on the phone, 60:00don't let research become a budgetary item. A budgetary item is a management expense that if you don't have it, you're in trouble, and if you, if you don't have research, your leadership will start dropping out of existence. And so I said, "Don't let them put research or the center as a budgetary item." That's terrible. You see, the Legislative Research Policy Committee, long-term, they got left out. Did you see that? That's the reason I called Joe. I said, "Joe, for God's sakes. Hey, man. Childers didn't even know he has all his employees--". That rang a bell with me. Shoot-tee. I'd have been camped out the next day. Joe needs to start that. He don't have to pay attention to me, but it doesn't cost him anything to listen. (Whayne laughs) 61:00
MILLER: Do we want to ask him about Asphalt Institute or--
WHAYNE: Oh. What about the Asphalt Institute?
GRAYSON: Oh, boy. One of my claims to fame. Uh, our president--oh,what's his name?
GRAYSON: President Dave Roselle was here, uh, in time--and, uh, by theway, you talk about a team effort. He is the shining example of a team and a partnership man. I sent him a memo saying the Asphalt Institute is leaving the University of Maryland and they're looking for a home, and I think we can compete. He sent me an email and said, "What do we need to do?" I said, "Put a proposal together." He says, "Tell me how much money it's going to cost." I called, uh, Meridian, Meridian, uh, Marketing who is Mary Ellen Sloan who happens to be a friend. I said, "Mary Ellen, I need a package put together to sell the University 62:00of Kentucky Transportation Center and the university. How much will it cost me?" She said, "I'll let you know." She said, "Ten thousand dollars." She had a saying that, oh, she always had, "Is it a memorable occasion?" Memorable--that, you know, that's a good word, and, uh, I said, "Mary Ellen, can you do a memorable job for less than ten thousand dollars?" She said, "I go for eight." So I called President Dave Roselle back, and I said, "I've got four thousand dollars and we need eight. Can you put four?" He said, "Fine. Put it together." We put it together and, uh, got the money and gave it to Mary Ellen Sloan, and she put the thing together. So Ray Bowen, Wimberly Royster, Dave Roselle and I took our dog and pony show to, to, uh, the Asphalt 63:00Institute in Washington, and, uh, we were the first up. And, uh, people on the committee said, "We don't know what's happening, but, boy, you guys sure did raise the rail pretty high today. So anyway, it was really great. She had it all fixed out. Said, "Grayson, you're the oldest. You'll be the last. You'll present the proposal. President Roselle, you don't read a speech very well." By the way, Mary Ellen can cuss like a sailor. I've known her a long time. She said, "You talk extemporan-, you--you'll make the presentation. Okay. Dean Bowen, here's your report card." And it had all these things that he would go and check off. This is what--if you're looking for a new home, this is what you need to do. It was like a report card. It had it all there. And then Wimberly Royster, bless his heart, he was by 64:00far--you know, did I give you his name?
GRAYSON: Did you see where he got honored?
GRAYSON: They honored twenty people, distinguished alumni.
GRAYSON: I'll talk about it after that one, I'll tell you. So anyway,we--Ashland Oil said, "We'll fly you up there because you can't get those boards--things." So the final deal was after all this, he's got through, Wimberly got through, Dean Bowen got through, then I presented the proposal and then they played My Old Kentucky Home--(clears throat)--the music and then I present the proposal. And, and then I would say, "You don't have to stand up now, but if you come to Kentucky and we play this, you'll stand up, you know." And they said, "Do you want us to stand up now?" And I'm passing out the proposal. (clears throat) And the thing that I sold, guess what? Partnership. We believe 65:00in partnership and team efforts. And so that night we went to a reception--(clears throat)--and so the federal people were there that the Asphalt Institute people had invited for the reception and all, so the Federal Highway Administrator was there. We came in, got out of the car and they said, "Where's your president?" And I said, "He's parking the car." And they said, "Gee. Do you always make the--?" We said, "Yeah. He's the youngest one in the group. So he drove the car." Well, that sat really well with everybody, you know. So we won it, and so--(clears throat)--my comp-, my competition was Texas A&M and Purdue. And bless their heart, Charlie, Charlie who was head of Texas A&M--he's passed his way now--he said, "That Grayson gave them the kitchen sink. I can give them anything." We just had a great marketing 66:00deal, and so now we have the Asphalt Institute. And before I left, we still hadn't partnered like we were supposed to, and I know the director got transferred. And, uh, but, boy. That was a real, that was a real gem to get that, to beat my old cronies at Texas A&M and Purdue. I'm glad you asked me about the Asphalt Institute.
WHAYNE: Is there anything else you want to tell us? Anything we mighthave left out or--
GRAYSON: Except you, you have been most generous with your time--(laughs)--and, uh, listening to an old man, uh, who has had probably the most, uh, interesting careers of anybody. And, and I wouldn't trade my time in history for anything. The people, the friends, uh, I 67:00wouldn't trade them for anything. They've been so great, and I think the center's got a great future. And, uh, I'm glad Joe's there. Joe came back, you know, when I was here. He said, "I think I'd like to come back. Uh, I got my young children." I can't believe they're out of college now. And I said, "We'd sure like to have people with brains to come back," and, uh, he had a great--I called his boss. His boss said, "Yeah, we were going to promote him, but we were going to move him around. And he, and he didn't want to move." And then Joe looked at Lexington and said, "Too big. I've got to go to Versailles because Lexington's too big." (Whayne laughs) So he's a Jim Dandy, and I'm really glad he got the job. I was kind of strained with Harik. By the 68:00way, that guy from Iowa's sharp, too.
GRAYSON: He, you know, he called and got that book. His sister orsomething came and picked it up that day and got it printed the same day. So, uh, if we could do this, this thing then the first part is already, uh, that part's finished.
WHAYNE: Okay. Well, thank you so much.
GRAYSON: Hey, Patsy.
[End of interview.]