Jack Marchbanks, Director of the Ohio Department of Transportation
Jack Marchbanks possesses an array of talents. When not running Ohio Department of Transportation operations, this 1974 political science graduate offers his services as an emcee at jazz and blues festivals around the state or acts as trustee for Columbus’ Lincoln Theater Association.
As an advocate of lifelong learning, he earned both his MBA from Xavier University and Master’s from Clark Atlanta University.
Early Life and Education
Jack Marchbanks first discovered jazz much later in life, though he credits listening to liner notes as being key in building up his knowledge base. Since 2007, he has co-hosted WCBE’s Jazz Sunday program and remains on air today.
He currently oversees 5,000 employees at Ohio Department of Transportation with an annual budget of $3.3 billion, previously having held positions such as assistant director of business and human resources and marketing director at PRIME AE Group, an engineering and architectural firm with minority ownership.
His greatest achievement, though, was completing his doctorate at Ohio University – something he refers to as his “mountaintop achievement.” Obtaining this degree not only fulfilled an important personal need for him but also demonstrated the value of lifelong learning.
Jack Marchbanks has turned his passion for music, history, the arts and transportation into public service. A graduate of Ohio University and now leading its Department of Transportation. Additionally, co-hosting Jazz Sunday radio program on WCBE in Columbus helps keep him connected to another of his great loves – music!
Marchbanks was previously employed at DOT where he managed the agency’s 5,000 employees and $3.3 billion budget as assistant director for business and human resources. Additionally, he served as district deputy director and marketing director at PRIME AE Group (a minority-owned engineering and architectural firm).
He once successfully represented a woman accused of using white-controlled companies to gain contract at the state lottery commission, as well as serving as emcee at several jazz and blues festivals. Furthermore, he is a trustee at Columbus’ Lincoln Theater.
Achievement and Honors
Marchbanks not only leads ODOT team meetings and volunteer emceeing jazz and blues events, he is also a board member at Columbus’ Lincoln Theater promoting arts education and African American history. Marchbanks shares his musical interests through his three-hour weekly radio show called “Jazz Sunday” on WCBE; on this program he gives more than just music by providing its context as well. Marchbanks notes he strives to give listeners more than just songs but rather adds backstory context as well so his listeners may better comprehend its influence upon culture and society – giving his listeners more than just music when he shares his favorite tunes!
Ohio International University is thrilled to recognize Marchbanks’ contributions with this year’s Outstanding State Government Alumnus Award. His experience exemplifies lifelong learning, turning passions into opportunities to serve his community. Marchbanks credits his OHIO education for his success in leading ODOT team members towards new heights of accomplishment.
Marchbanks devotes his free time away from overseeing his agency’s nearly 5,000 employees and creating its $3.3 billion budget, to reading. A self-declared “adopted child” of soul and funk music, Marchbanks frequently finds inspiration within his extensive music collection’s liner notes.
He is also active in his community service efforts, volunteering to emcee jazz and blues festivals in Columbus as an emcee and serving on the Board of Directors at Lincoln Theater – an African American performing arts center rich with history.
Marchbanks served on the Turnpike Commission during the early 2000s and was investigated for accepting free meals, golf outings and pro sports tickets from companies doing business with the state. He later resigned. Prior to that he served as executive of PRIME AE Group – a minority-owned engineering and architecture firm.
Jack Marchbanks makes a comfortable living as director of ODOT; in 2019 his salary totalled $150,992. The back wall of his rectangular office features posters of blues great B.B. King and Stevie Wonder smiling widely; other wall decorations can be found throughout. He deftly balances his new job at Ohio DOT with co-hosting Jazz Sunday on Columbus-based WCBE radio station, an all-day program which explores jazz history and cultural context. Jazz Sunday co-hosting is his “adopted child”; its purpose is to educate listeners about its storied past and future. “It’s so essential for people to realize the historical context behind music,” states Jerry Wray, former ODOT director from 1991-1998 and 2011-2018. “Johnny was not only an excellent administrator; he was also an incredible human being.
Photo by David S.