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David Ross will be Wisconsin transportation secretary

From left, DSPS Secretary Dave Ross talks with Gov. Scott Walker at the executive residence in Maple Bluff, Wis. (Submitted photo)

Former Superior mayor David Ross has been named Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday announced that Ross will move to transportation on Jan. 7 from his current job as secretary of the state for the Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Mark Gottlieb, outgoing transportation secretary, offered his resignation to Walker taking effect Jan. 6.

It’s a big jump for Ross, 64. The transportation department is one of the largest state agencies, with 3,500 employees and an annual budget of more than $3.5 billion. The department supports state highways, local roads, railroads, public transit systems, airports, harbors and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The department also serves 50,000 people each day through the Division of Motor Vehicles and includes the Division of State Patrol which enforces laws and aids motorists throughout the state.

“Dave Ross has been an outstanding leader for our administration at the DSPS since 2011,” Walker said in a prepared statement. "Dave has always looked to improve the way government operates, and I am confident he will bring the same innovative, taxpayer-first approach to the DOT.”

Ross served two terms as the mayor of Superior, elected in 2003 and 2007, and was self-employed for more than 20 years in an upholstery business. Born and raised in Superior, Ross received his Bachelor of Science degree in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

“I thank Governor Walker for placing his trust in me to run the DOT,” Ross said in a statement.  “I look forward to hitting the ground running and continuing to serve as a strong taxpayer advocate for Governor Walker in this new role.”

Prior to his state positions, Ross also served as a member of the board of directors of Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce, Superior Business Improvement District, Superior-Douglas County Development Association, Great Ships Initiative and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Mayor’s Initiative. He was past director of the Wisconsin League of Municipalities.

Ross and his wife, Lynn, have four daughters and 13 grandchildren.