Skip to main content

Gov. Whitmer Announces Directors at Michigan Department of Transportation and Office of Children's Ombudsman


May 30, 2023 



Gov. Whitmer Announces Directors at Michigan Department of Transportation and Office of Children's Ombudsman



LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that Brad Wieferich will lead the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) as its new director and Ryan Speidel will serve as the director of the Office of Children’s Ombudsman. 



Brad Wieferich, Director of MDOT


“Brad is a smart, dedicated leader that has helped keep Michigan roads safe for nearly three decades,” said Governor Whitmer. “With his expertise, I know that Michigan will continue fixing and upgrading Michigan’s roads with the right mix and materials, so they stay fixed. I’m excited to continue working alongside Brad to care for the roads and bridges that Michiganders rely on every day."



"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to continue leading the Michigan Department of Transportation in creating a safe and resilient transportation system for everyone," said incoming MDOT Director, Brad Wieferich. "MDOT has an exceptional team that works to maintain and improve our roads and bridges and to administer rail, transit and aviation programs and I look forward to continuing our work as a progressive and innovative agency that serves Michigan's communities." 



Brad Wieferich will move from acting director of the Michigan Department of Transportation to director of the department. He previously worked as the chief operations officer of MDOT, overseeing the departments seven regions, the Bureau of Development, the Bureau of Field Services, and the Bureau of Bridges and Structures. He has served the department for 27 years in several capacities, holding the positions of director for the Bureau of Development, engineer of design, and was the manager of the Marshall Transportation Service Center. He has worked in three different MDOT regions and as a road design engineer in the central office. Prior to joining MDOT, Wieferich was employed for three years as a field engineer by a consulting firm in the greater Chicago area. A registered professional engineer, Wieferich earned a Bachelor of Science from the College of Engineering at Michigan State University.



Wieferich has played a vital role in the advancement of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, the governor’s Rebuilding Michigan Program, and the implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 



The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is responsible for Michigan’s nearly 10,000-mile state highway system, comprised of all M, I, and US-routes. It is the backbone of Michigan’s 120,000-mile highway, road and street network. Additionally, MDOT administers state and federal transportation programs for aviation, intercity passenger services, rail freight, and local public transit services.



Ryan Speidel, Director of the Office of Children’s Ombudsman


“Ryan is a devoted public servant with extensive experience that will be an invaluable tool leading the Office of Children’s Ombudsman,” said Governor Whitmer. “He is a leader in public safety and law enforcement, and I am confident his background will only lead to even stronger outcomes within the office. I will work with Ryan to protect Michigan children and ensure our state’s child welfare system provides the support they deserve." 



“It's an honor to continue serving the people of Michigan and advocating for a child welfare system that protects and supports Michigan children,” said incoming OCO Director, Ryan Speidel. "Since 2019, we have updated our procedures and systems to improve our services and we'll continue working to make Michigan a state where every child has access to opportunity.”



Ryan Speidel currently serves as the acting director of the Office of Children’s Ombudsman (OCO) after being appointed on March 27, 2023, by Governor Whitmer. Prior to being appointed acting Director, Ryan served as deputy director within the OCO since 2019. As the OCO's deputy director, Ryan rewrote the OCO's policy and procedure manual, managed the OCO's development of a new complaint management system and aided the Ombudsman with a restructuring of the OCO.



Ryan Speidel has nearly two decades of public service in law enforcement, the regulatory field, and leadership. He has served for the City of Jackson, the Michigan Department of State, the Office of Inspector General, the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and the Office of Children's Ombudsman. Ryan earned his bachelor's degree in sociology with a minor in criminology and criminal justice from Eastern Michigan University. Ryan is also a graduate of the 72nd Mid-Michigan Police Academy. Ryan served with the City of Jackson Police Department for approximately eight and a half years as a Police Officer, Narcotics Detective and Patrol Sergeant. He has experience as a regulation agent with the Michigan Department of State and as an assistant inspector general with the Office of Inspector General (OIG). After his time with the OIG, Ryan was the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards’ (MCOLES) chief investigator and compliance section manager. At MCOLES Ryan was the sole individual responsible for the commission's investigations, administrated the Michigan Public Safety Officer Benefit, Private University Security Force license, the Private Security Police license, and managed MCOLES' statutory oversight of Michigan's twenty police academies. Because of his professional experiences prior to the OCO, Ryan has had direct involvement and oversight of countless criminal, civil, and administrative law investigations.



The OCO is housed in the Department of Technology, Management and Budget as an independent agency.  In his role as the Children's Ombudsman, Ryan will help improve Michigan's child welfare system through independently investigating complaints, advocating for children, and recommending changes to improve law, policy, and practice for the benefit of current and future generations.