David Butts – an engineer who loves family, community, career

Published 10:26 pm Monday, May 8, 2023

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Anyone attending the Lowndes County Commission meetings sees a regular figure, County Engineer David Butts, ready to give a lengthy report regarding needed road pavings and repairs and the efforts to do those repairs. 

While many know that Butts is passionate about his work with the county, few know very much about Butts or his family. 

Butts is a proud father and husband. His wife of 29 years, Susan, is an education specialist who works in Lowndes County.  His oldest son, David Butts, Jr. is the Wilcox County Engineer and his daughter, Amber, is a registered nurse working for Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery.  

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Butts’ youngest son, Brandon, who is working as an intern with the Alabama Department of Transportation, will graduate this Friday from Auburn University with a degree in civil engineering.

“All of us graduated from Auburn,” Butts said. “I graduated from Auburn, my sons and my daughter graduated from Auburn. We’re all ‘War Eagle.’” 

When asked what he does in his spare time, Butts chuckled and said he likes to fish whenever he can, but he doesn’t have much spare time because he is also a licensed surveyor and does that on his off days.

The Butts family lives in Hayneville, but David is originally from southeast Alabama.

“I’m from Houston County. Have you ever heard of Dothan, Alabama?” he asked.  Butts grew up in a small town outside of Dothan: Columbia. His wife, Susan, is a Tuskegee native. They married the last semester before graduating from Alabama State. Hayneville has been their home for about 20 years.

Butts holds several college degrees – a degree in Math from Alabama State University, an engineering degree from Auburn University, and a Juris Doctorate from the Jones School of Law at Faulkner University.

“I haven’t taken the bar,” Butts said. “I’m not a practicing attorney. I’ve always wanted to take it, but I’ve always been so busy.” 

Butts said he was in law school, in 1999, while working as an assistant to the previous Lowndes County engineer. 

“The previous engineer abruptly retired,” he said. “I was named engineer. I just haven’t had an opportunity since then to study for the bar and take it.” 

That is because Butts has been working full time as Lowndes County Engineer since 2005.

“The community has been great,” he said. “They have received me well. I feel like a Lowndes Countian. We live here, our church is here, we will continue to live here. Every since I have been here, everyone has received me well…the elected officials, the mayors, and the people have been really, really good to me.”

Butts announced recently that he accepted a position as the Dallas County Engineer.

In his new job, he is excited about getting to know new people and the roads and streets of a new county.  

“I guess the biggest thing will be getting to know everyone,” Butts said “I’m still going to be living in Lowndes County, but I will just be working in Dallas County.  It will be the same job, basically, engineering. I will just be getting to know new people.

“I appreciate the people accepting us. I appreciate my employees. I would like to recognize the work that we have been doing lately, especially using Rebuild Alabama funding to build up the department by purchasing new equipment. I think we are utilizing the equipment very well, and I think that the residents of Lowndes County will notice all the new paving we are getting done.” 

In a press release, Governor Kay Ivey said that more than 5.1 million dollars in state funding would be awarded to cities and counties around the state as part of Rebuild Alabama. 

“Just recently, we marked the fourth anniversary of Rebuild Alabama, and it has continued to show it produces nothing less than real, tangible results. I’m proud of Rebuild Alabama’s success, and I look forward to seeing how it continues to improve such critical infrastructure. Alabama’s roads and bridges are making substantial progress, and we look forward to this continuing,” Ivey said.

According to Butts, many Lowndes County roads are being resurfaced through Rebuild Alabama funding, “That comes from my commissioners who trusted my foresight, and we worked together on this. It’s an example of what can happen when we all come together and fight for the same thing,” he said.

Butts hopes that his work in Lowndes County will be a part of his legacy. 

“One of the things that has been happening lately is that officials from other counties are looking at the work that we have been able to do. We are a financially challenged county, but what we are doing is utilizing a small amount of funds and getting the best work out of it”, Butts said.  

“I think that a true engineer is someone who takes something small and makes it the best that it can be. When you have a small county, or a poor county, you have to invest and utilize the money to the best of your ability. I think that is what we are doing,” said Butts.

Butts says his department is paving or resurfacing about three to five miles per year.  

“My guys are getting better and are really good at what they do. I’m really proud of them, and I hate to leave them because we are like a family,” he said.