When Deborah Hersman was appointed to chair the National Transportation Safety Board by President Obama she became, at 39, the youngest person to ever fill that position. She has a no-nonsense reputation and gained respect on both sides of the political aisle. She recently left her job at the NTSB and moved to the Chicago-area to become the president and CEO of the Chicago-based National Safety Council.
Tonight, Hersman joins us to talk about her 10 years with the organization, major crash investigations she has led and her new job here heading up the National Safety Council.
Deborah Hersman is president and chief executive officer of the National Safety Council. The National Safety Council saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes, communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.
Prior to joining the National Safety Council, Ms. Hersman served as chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. Ms. Hersman was first appointed as an NTSB board member by President Bush in 2004 and was reappointed to two additional five-year terms by President Obama in 2009 and 2013.
Among her many initiatives as chairman, Ms. Hersman focused attention and actions on distracted driving, child passenger safety and helping victims and their families. Ms. Hersman was an NTSB Board Member on-scene for more than 20 major transportation accidents, chaired scores of NTSB hearings, forums and events, and regularly testified before Congress.
Ms. Hersman was a senior advisor to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation from 1999-2004. She served as staff director and senior legislative aide to West Virginia Congressman Bob Wise from 1992-1999.
Her efforts contributed to the passage of milestone bills such as the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century and Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act.
Ms. Hersman holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and international studies from Virginia Tech, and a Master’s of Science degree in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University. She is a certified child passenger safety technician and holds a commercial driver’s license (with passenger, school bus and air brake endorsements) as well as a motorcycle endorsement.