One of Youngstown’s own rises through ranks to Director of Toll Operations

Local News

After starting as a toll collector in 1985, Laurie Davis quickly learned the job was much more than taking a ticket and making change

Laurie Davis, Director of Toll Operations

Courtesy: Ohio Turnpike

Editor’s note: This story corrects the interim status of Laurie Davis prior to her promotion as Director of Toll Operations. We regret the error.

BEREA, Ohio (WKBN) – A Youngstown native and resident has risen through the ranks in the Ohio Turnpike Commission and has been appointed Director of Toll Operations.

In June 1985, Laurie D. Davis began working for the Ohio Turnpike Commission as a full-time toll collector during a long, hot summer that followed an extremely cold and record-breaking winter.

She began in an era when toll collectors were ubiquitous on tollways.

Davis trained during the midnight shift at Exit 218 (Niles/Youngstown). It was her first full-time job and she had no idea what an axle was, let alone the distance or route taken to New York City.

Having worked all three shifts at one time or another, Davis quickly learned the job was much more than taking a ticket and making change.

Thirty-five years later, on April 1, 2020, Davis was officially appointed as the Director of Toll Operations. She had previously served in the post on an interim basis from January through March.

The department is responsible for collecting tolls — the commission’s primary source of revenue.

As Director of Toll Operations, Davis oversees all toll collector activities at the Ohio Turnpike’s 31 toll plazas and 418 employees.

“Laurie’s story is an inspirational one,” said Ferzan M. Ahmed, P.E., executive director. “She rose through the ranks and to the occasion with her leadership during this COVID-19 pandemic. Her caring attitude toward employees and customers shines through each day through all of the challenges. She is highly competent and always remains positive. We couldn’t have found a better person to lead toll operations.”

Davis was promoted in 1990 to assistant toll plaza supervisor, in 1993 to toll plaza supervisor and in 2008 to Eastern District toll supervisor. Just four years later in 2012, she was named superintendent of toll operations while still maintaining the additional duties of the Eastern District toll supervisor.

During her tenure, Davis was a key part of the team that implemented EZ-Pass for Ohio Turnpike customers.

Additionally, she was project manager for the 2019 ATPM Expansion Project.

A single mother of her son, Jordan, Davis spent the greater part of her professional career with the commission.

She is a 1981 graduate of Youngstown South High school and studied psychology at Youngstown State University.

“You really start learning adult lessons walking into a great job at a young age,” Davis said. “I’ve never taken it for granted because with a great job comes great responsibility to serve our customers and employees. I never take either of them for granted.”

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