Saluting Elvin Cosby: More than Seven Decades on the Job for Henrico County

On Tuesday, April 30, Elvin R. Cosby will retire after 73 years and seven days as a Henrico County employee. Henrico celebrates Mr. Cosby, his unparalleled career and his enduring example of service.

The longest-serving employee in Henrico County history, Elvin Cosby grew up in Henrico County and attended Virginia Randolph School. His high school studies were cut short after ninth grade when he began working to help his parents support their family of eight.

On April 23, 1946, at age 18, Mr. Cosby followed in his father’s footsteps to become a Henrico employee. He was hired by the Department of Public Works as a laborer, with an initial assignment of bringing water to crews working on county roads. He worked 10-hour days, earning 55 cents an hour. The work was hard and often dangerous, as some residents would unleash their dogs when he asked to draw water from their wells for the road crews.

Mr. Cosby persevered, however, and steadily rose through the ranks in Public Works. He was promoted to truck driver in 1954 and to equipment operator in 1957; by 1976, he had become a labor foreman. He is now a maintenance supervisor.

In his more than seven decades as a member of the Public Works staff, Mr. Cosby has served under each of the department’s nine directors. He has seen equipment change from mule teams to high-tech pavers and compactors. He also has lent his skills and experience to other county initiatives, such as advising Henrico’s early efforts to promote a racially diverse workforce.

Mr. Cosby is a dedicated supervisor and mentor to his employees and is a model for the entire county workforce. Through his work ethic, sense of service and his commitment to his work, fellow employees and county residents, he has set the standard for the Henrico Way.

A grateful county says thank you, Mr. Cosby.      

Board of Supervisors Recognition

At its April 23, 2019 regular meeting, Henrico’s Board of Supervisors saluted Mr. Cosby on his 73rd anniversary as a county employee and received the news of his impending retirement.  

Video of the Board recognition

Board of Supervisors Chairman Tyrone E. Nelson, right, presented a gift to Mr. Cosby as part of the Board’s recognition of his retirement, while county staff member Tanya N. Brackett lent her support.
During the Board’s recognition, Mr. Cosby was joined at the podium by one of his granddaughters, Marlene Nkete.

Mr. Cosby enjoyed photo highlights from his career with his wife, Lottie, at the Board’s recognition. Mr. and Mrs. Cosby have been married for 66 years.

Supervisors and county officials joined Mr. and Mrs. Cosby and members of their family at the Board Room dais for a photo.

Elvin Cosby Way

On April 23, 2018, a road that connects Prince Henry and Dixon Powers drives on the Henrico Government Center campus was named for Mr. Cosby in celebration of his 72nd anniversary as a county employee. Federal, state and county officials honored Mr. Cosby in a dedication ceremony.

Video of the ceremony

Mr. Cosby applauded the unveiling of Elvin Cosby Way with county officials, coworkers and family members.

Elvin and Lottie Cosby laughed during one of the speeches at the Elvin Cosby Way dedication ceremony, while former County Manager Virgil R. Hazelett looked on.

The Elvin R. Cosby Award

In honor of Mr. Cosby’s decades of dedication and work ethic, Henrico established the Elvin R. Cosby Award in February 2015 to recognize long-tenured employees for their outstanding service and contributions. The county presents the award twice each year.

In June 2015, Mr. Cosby was saluted at the outset of his 70th year as a member of the Public Works staff during a Service Awards ceremony for Henrico employees.

Leading the recognition were, from left, County Manager John A. Vithoulkas, former County Manager William F. LaVecchia, Tuckahoe District Supervisor Patricia S. O’Bannon, and Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton.

As part of the ceremony, Supervisors Thornton and O’Bannon presented Mr. Cosby a framed feature story from the Richmond Times-Dispatch detailing his career with Henrico.

Public Works Award

In May 2018, Mr. Cosby received the Judith M. Mueller Local Government Service Award from the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Public Works Association. The APWA recognized Mr. Cosby for “honorably and efficiently serving a single locality for 20 or more continuous years.”

Mr. Cosby celebrated his APWA award with fellow award-winning Public Works employees, back from left, Brian Moore, Steve Bandura, Lane Carr, Will McCahill, Jason Collins and John Newton.

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