Jack Lanford

ARTBA’s 1991 Chairman Jack Lanford died Feb. 21. He was 89.

Jack, along with his brother Stan (1999 chairman), established the Lanford Family Highway Worker Memorial Scholarship in 1999 with a $100,000 donation to the ARTBA Transportation Development Foundation (TDF). This first-of-its-kind program provides post high school education to the children of highway workers killed or permanently disabled on the job. More than 80 worthy students—some over four years—from around the country have now received aid.

In a 2019 interview with ARTBA’s Transportation Builder magazine to commemorate the scholarship’s milestone 20th anniversary, Jack said: “Everybody has a responsibility to give back, so as we get older it’s very heartwarming to see other people stepping up and continuing to support this program.”

Jack and Stan founded Lanford Brothers Company, a bridge construction firm based in Roanoke, Virginia.  Jack later became president of Adams Construction Company—one of the oldest asphalt paving operations in Virginia.

After holding leadership positions with the Virginia Road & Transportation Builders Association—today’s Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance—Jack became involved at the national level with ARTBA in the 1970s.  He was appointed ARTBA co-chair of the Joint Committee comprised of the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America and ARTBA.  He held the position for five years.  He served on the Joint Committee, which seeks common ground on transportation issues of concern to both the industry’s public and private sectors, for more than 20 years.

As 1991 ARTBA chairman, Jack played a key industry leadership role in the passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), which was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.  ISTEA provided a then record $151 billion in federal highway and public transit investment over six years.  Jack’s leadership on ISTEA was recognized by his peers in 1992 when he was presented with the ARTBA Award—the association’s highest honor.

Jack’s others honors for his decades of contributions to the highway construction industry include: one of “America’s Top 100 Private Sector Transportation Construction Professionals of the 20th Century,” member of the ARTBA Foundation’s Transportation Development Hall of Fame; the 1992 Nello L. Teer Award from the ARTBA Contractors Division; and the 1998 George S. Bartlett Award, which is conferred jointly by ARTBA, AASHTO, and the Transportation Research Board.  Jack was also a past chairman of The Road Information Program.

ARTBA offer its condolences to Jack’s family and friends.