Otis Gilbert Newman was born April 20, 1943 in Berea, KY to Otis and Myrtle Newman. His family moved to the Switzer area of Franklin County, where he graduated from Franklin County High School in 1961. He began his civil engineering education at the University of Kentucky on a Highways Scholarship and was elected President of the ASCE student chapter during his freshman year. He received the “President John W. Oswald Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research and Creativity” as co-researcher on beams on elastic-plastic foundations.
Mr. Newman married after his freshman year at U.K. and he had to delay his education to earn money to support his family. He and his wife were blessed with a son, James Michael Newman, two years later. It took him six years to earn his degree, but he also had the opportunity to meet many more people and gain much experience because of it. He worked part-time and summers for the KY Department of Highways, and Haworth and Associates, consulting engineers, in Frankfort. In 1967 he received his BSCE and accepted a position with Haworth and Associates working in highway and airport design. In 1971 he joined American Engineering in Lexington. In 1972 he entered the construction industry with the E. Randle Company, a heavy and highway construction firm. He remained with Randle for the next sixteen years, with the last nine serving as Vice President and Chief Engineer for the company.
Mr. Newman was named State Highway Engineer for the Commonwealth in June 1988. During his service he supervised 300 professionals and total personnel of 5,600. He was active in AASHTO, SASHTO, MVSHTO, KSPE and NSPE, plus the Kentucky Transportation Center at UK. He was awarded the KSPE Award of Achievement for Engineering in Government.
In 1992, he supervised a $27 million highway project for Gust K. Newberg Construction in Indianapolis, and then accepted a position in Lexington as Vice President and General Manager of Central Kentucky Asphalt. In 1993 he received the KSPE Award of Achievement for Engineering in Construction. He became Director of Engineering for Balke Engineers in 1994, who merged into American Consulting Engineers in 2003. Along with two partners, he has formed a land development company to develop a 165-acre tract of land on US421 South in Frankfort. Mr. Newman is active in Kentuckians for Better Transportation, and has Chaired both its Board of Directors and its Highway Committee. He served on the Kentucky Board of Registration for Engineers and Land Surveyors in 1991, served as Chairman in 1994, and reappointed to the board in 1995. He was active in the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Land Surveyors. He is Chairman of Deacons, Chairman of the Building Steering Committee, and Bible Study teacher at Memorial Baptist Church in Frankfort. He is active in the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and served as Vice-President and President. Gilbert is married to Mildred L. Hampton Newman and they make their home in Frankfort, Kentucky. They have three grown children; Mike Newman, Donna Heid and Robert Heid; and two poodles, Cashe and Elle.