AASHTO Journal, 21 November 2014
Incoming TRB executive director Neil Pedersen.
The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies has named Neil Pedersen to take over as the TRB’s executive director effective Feb. 1, 2015.
Pedersen, who joined the National Academies in 2012 as deputy director of the second Strategic Highway Research Program, will succeed Robert E. Skinner Jr., who is retiring at the end of January. Meanwhile, Skinner will work closely with Pedersen in his remaining time in office, the TRB said, to ensure a smooth transition.
The TRB said it tapped Pedersen “after a national search of extraordinary candidates,” for the job.
“Neil’s deep experience delivering transportation projects and as a state DOT leader help to make him an excellent choice to lead TRB,” said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright. “We look forward to continuing AASHTO’s close working relationship with TRB under Neil’s leadership and vision.”
The organization is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council – a private, nonprofit institution that is the principal operating agency of the National Academies. The TRB program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the modal administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, plus other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation.
Before joining the TRB staff, Pedersen volunteered for more than 30 years on various panels. Among his TRB roles, he is a past chair of the TRB Executive Committee, the Technical Activities Council and the SHRP2 Technical Coordinating Committee for Capacity Research.
“Neil has taken on virtually every volunteer leadership role TRB has to offer with great success, and as a TRB staff member helped move SHRP2 products from research to practice,” said Skinner. “I will be leaving TRB in good hands.”
Kirk Steudle, chair of TRB’s Executive Committee and director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, said the search committee “worked diligently to complete a nationwide search, and in doing so, further strengthened the organizational bonds and personal relationships between the TRB and the Academies. We interviewed extraordinary candidates and the decision was difficult, but in the end we concluded that Neil is the best choice to take TRB forward.”
Prior to taking the SHRP2 post, Pedersen spent 29 years in management and leadership positions at the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration, including as chief executive officer more than eight years. (A more detailed career bio is in the TRB announcement.)
For the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Pedersen chaired the Task Force on Context-Sensitive Solutions, was vice chair of the Standing Committee on Highways, and vice chair of the Subcommittee on Asset Management. He also was on AASHTO’s Standing Committee on Research, and its Standing Committee on Planning.