Meet Key Officials
Acting Deputy Administrator: Jack Danielson
Jack Danielson serves as the acting deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), leading a multifaceted organization with a budget of $911 million and 626 full-time employees located throughout the country. In this capacity, Danielson provides overall leadership in the execution of NHTSA’s safety mission of promoting vehicle safety innovations, rooting out vehicle defects, setting safety standards for cars and trucks, and educating Americans to help them drive, ride, and walk safely. Previously, Danielson served as NHTSA’s executive director, supporting the NHTSA Administrator in providing leadership and establishing direction on policies, budgets, and strategic priorities and initiatives. He oversaw daily operations, internal management, and mission support programs, and provided executive direction to the chief financial officer, the chief information officer, and NHTSA’s eight associate administrators.
Acting Executive Director: Terry Shelton
Terry Shelton assumed the role of acting executive director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in January 2017. With a long career dedicated to traffic safety, she is honored by the opportunity to further NHTSA’s core safety mission of saving lives, preventing injuries, and reducing crashes.
Acting Chief Counsel: Stephen P. Wood
As acting chief counsel, Wood oversees the provision of all legal services and advice for the full array of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle safety and highway safety programs.
Deputy Director, Governmental Affairs, Policy, and Strategic Planning: Esther Wagner
After more than 18 years in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Office of Research and Program Development and its predecessor organizations, Esther (Essie) Wagner is now the deputy director of the Office of Government Affairs, Policy, and Strategic Planning. Most recently, she was a special assistant and policy advisor on behavioral road safety issues. Previously, Wagner was a program analyst and a research psychologist working on older driver and pedestrian safety issues.
Chief Safety Scientist: Joseph Kolly
Dr. Joseph M. Kolly is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) first chief safety scientist, advising the Administrator on technical and safety related matters, and applying years of experience in transportation safety, investigation, and scientific research across NHTSA’s traffic safety portfolio
Director, Civil Rights: Regina Morgan
Regina Morgan serves as the Administrator’s principal staff advisor on all matters pertaining to civil rights. In this role, she directs the Agency’s internal Equal Employment Opportunity and external Equal Opportunity programs, and also provides assistance to the Office of the Secretary in investigating and resolving formal civil rights complaints of discrimination. Morgan works to ensure that civil rights are integrated into NHTSA’s core safety mission of saving lives, preventing injuries, and reducing crashes.
Chief Financial Officer: Cynthia Parker
Cynthia Parker, currently on detail as the acting chief financial officer (CFO) for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is the deputy director of the Office of Financial Management and Transit Benefit Programs within the Assistant Secretary for Administration, Department of Transportation (DOT). In this capacity, she is responsible for the financial management and budget of the $181 million administrative Working Capital Fund, $30 million direct and reimbursable salaries and expense fund, and oversight of a $400 million transit benefit and parking program that provides transit benefit services to more than 110 Federal agencies for approximately 250,000 participants and garage management for more than 1,000 spaces. In her capacity as acting CFO for NHTSA, Parker oversees three divisions and 24 employees responsible for financial management and audits, acquisitions, and budget performance and execution with oversight of the Agency’s $1 billion+ funding portfolio.
Acting Associate Administrator, Administration: Vanester Williams
Vanester Williams is the acting associate administrator for Administration, and has also been the director of the Office of Administrative and Management Services since 2004. Previously, Williams served as an information technology specialist for the Information Technology Program Management Office, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Maritime Administration.
Chief Information Officer: Colleen Coggins
Colleen Coggins is the chief information officer (CIO) for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As CIO, Coggins provides leadership and oversight to ensure NHTSA’s information technology (IT) systems and services effectively support and enable NHTSA’s mission. She leads the development and implementation of IT and Information Resource Management strategies, plans, standards, and policies, and also oversees numerous IT programs including enterprise architecture, information assurance, and records management. She provided leadership in the successful execution of the IT system supporting the popular “Cash for Clunkers” Presidential Initiative that was implemented in less than 30 days, and successfully processed approximately 700,000 transactions.
Associate Administrator, Communications and Consumer Information: Susan Gorcowski
Susan Gorcowski serves as the associate administrator for Communications and Consumer Information (OCCI) of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Gorcowski manages the office responsible for providing accurate and timely vehicle and traffic safety information to the news media, consumers, and partner organizations. Working closely with the program office, OCCI conducts market research, develops external communication strategies, implements paid and earned advertising campaigns, develops collateral program material in support of traffic and vehicle safety initiatives, and manages the Agency’s websites.
Associate Administrator, Research and Program Development: Jeffrey Michael
Dr. Jeffrey Michael is the associate administrator for Research and Program Development at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with responsibility for the development of programs to increase seat belt use, decrease impaired driving, improve emergency medical services, and enhance the safety of motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians and older drivers.
Associate Administrator, Regional Operations and Program Delivery: Dr. Mary Gunnels
Dr. Mary Gunnels is associate administrator for Regional Operations and Program Delivery NHTSA. She came to the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2002, after working more than 15 years in clinical care and program administration, and in academia, in Texas and Oregon. Gunnels was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2007. She joined the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 2004, where she served as director of the FMCSA Medical Programs. Previously, Gunnels was a faculty member at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland from 1995 to 2002. While in the Department of Emergency Medicine, she expanded her activities to include national traffic safety programs and research in emergency medical services and motor vehicle-related injury.
Associate Administrator, Vehicle Safety Research: Nat Beuse
Nat Beuse works as the associate administrator for Vehicle Safety Research at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). He is responsible for NHTSA’s vehicle safety research activities, which are focused on achieving the agency’s mission of reducing fatalities and injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes. This work includes developing and conducting research on vehicle automation, cybersecurity, vehicle connectivity, and vehicle crash safety.
Associate Administrator, Rulemaking: Ryan Posten
Ryan Posten has served in the Department of Transportation (DOT) for more than 26 years in various escalating roles and responsibilities to advance safety in the United States. Since August 2014, Posten has served as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) associate administrator for Rulemaking. The office develops and promulgates Federal safety standards and regulations for motor vehicle safety, including crash protection, survivability, and avoidance. Posten serves as the principal advisor to the NHTSA Administrator on matters relating to the promulgation of rules, regulations, and policy in the setting of motor vehicle safety standards, fuel economy regulations for motor vehicles, anti-theft and consumer information rules and reports, and operation and development of NHTSA’s (5 Star Crash Rating) New Car Assessment Program.
Associate Administrator, Enforcement: Jeffrey Giuseppe
With a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) career spanning 28 years, Jeffrey Giuseppe now serves as the acting associate administrator for Enforcement at NHTSA, where he is the principal advisor and consultant to the executive director and other top-level officials, internal and external to NHTSA, on matters relating to enforcement actions taken by the agency. He also serves as director of the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance for NHTSA, where he is the principal advisor and consultant to the associate administrator for Enforcement for all activities related to the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.