County Engineer Began
The County Engineer evolved from the important role played by the County Surveyor in the first decades of Ohio's statehood. The office of County Surveyor was established by the first General Assembly following the admission of Ohio to the Union in 1803. Whenever a new county was created, the County Surveyor, Recorder, Prosecuting Attorney, and Clerk were appointed by the legislature. In 1831, the legislature voted to make the office elective because of the increased responsibilities it entailed. The law stated that a County Surveyor would serve a term of 3 years, "if he so long qualified." Legislation passed in 1915 established a salary and conferred on the County Surveyor the title of "Resident Engineer for the State Highway Department." In 1928, the term of office was lengthened from 3 years to 4. Then in 1935, the title was changed to "County Engineer." 

Education & Experience
Ohio has the most rigorous standards in the United States for qualifying its Professional County Engineers. Today, only persons who hold registration certificates from the State of Ohio as a "Registered Professional Engineer" and "Registered Professional Surveyor" may hold the office of County Engineer. To achieve both accreditations requires a minimum of a college degree in engineering and in surveying, 4 years of experience in engineering, 4 years of experience in surveying, and 16 hours of testing for each license.

Ohio’s 88 county engineers are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of nearly 29,000 miles within the County Highway System. Some of their responsibilities include repairing, widening, and resurfacing roads and bridges within their respective counties, as well as traffic control, ensuring the safety of the traveling public, mowing, and snow removal. The County Engineer also works in cooperation with the County Commissioners and Township Trustees to carry out a wide variety of obligations. The County Engineer serves as an advisor to the Township Trustees for the maintenance, widening, and repair of their highways. In addition, the County Engineer is responsible for all of the bridges on both the County and Township highway systems, as well as bridges within municipalities, including some that are on the State Highway System. They perform an annual inspection and evaluation of the condition and load-carrying capacity of each bridge. 

The County Engineer participates in county and regional planning commissions, and is responsible for numerous projects in unincorporated areas. He may also serve as County Sanitary Engineer, working with the County Commissioners to supervise the construction of sewer and water lines. The approval and operation of landfills and incinerators may also be a function of his office. 

Past Engineers of Ashtabula County
  • E.F. Clark (1929 to 1933).
  • E.M. Luce (1933 to 1937) - Died in Office.
  • Charles Topper - Succeeded E.M. Luce and served in office until his death in September 1945
  • W.O. Weir - Appointed in 1945 and served until the short-term election of George Weatherston in 1946.
  • George Weatherston - Short 2 year term from 1946 to 1948. Elected in 1948 and served until retirement in 1964 (did not run for re-election).
  • David L. Weir - Elected to take office immediately following the retirement of Weatherston in 1965. Served until resignation in 1975.
  • John W. Smolen (1975 to 2002)
  • Timothy T. Martin - Appointed in 2002