D-1's Autio retires after 39 years with maintenance crew

Kelsey Saintz
Shoshone News Press

KELLOGG - Dave Autio has a final statement for winter drivers.

For starters, slow down and give yourself extra time to get where you’re going.

“Relax and enjoy the ride,” the Idaho Transportation Department maintenance foreman said.

After all, he and his crew are just trying to make the roads safer.

“It's not any better in front of us,” he said, “it's a whole lot better behind us.”

This is Autio’s last day on the job after 39 years with ITD, where he started in February 1968. He took a few years off in the 1980s to work at Lucky Friday, but didn’t stay away long.

The 63-and-one-half-year-old managed the Big Creek and Mullan ITD garages, which employs seven year-round and 15 in the winter.

“Whatever needs to be maintained on I-90, that’s what we do,” he said. “We’re the ones that run around in the big white trucks and plow.”

He covered all of Shoshone County, from Cataldo to the top of Lookout Pass. He crews maintained Interstate 90 and all of its ramps, as well as a few business loops and State Highway 4.

Autio said he’ll miss the guys he works with.

“I've got a very good crew,” he said. “They know what needs to be done, and I appreciate all their help.”

He said he enjoyed working for the public.

“It's a good job,” he said. The public doesn't understand ITD all the time, he said, but ultimately, ITD works for their benefit: We're out there making the road safer,” he said.

The 1966 Mullan High School graduate plans to “just enjoy life” by spending his retirement with his wife of 44 years, Ellen, daughters Marla and Natalie, and two grandsons.

“That'll definitely take up a lot of my retirement,” he said of the 6- and 9-year-olds, “which is cool.”

He plans to take small trips here and there, and maybe visit family in Florida.

“A couple weeks in the middle of winter sounds awful good at this time,” Autio said.

Published 11-18-2011