NHTSA Leadership

Meet Key Officials

Deputy Administrator: James C. Owens

James C. Owens serves as the Deputy Administrator of NHTSA, leading a safety organization with a budget of $966.2 million and 626 full-time employees across the country. In this capacity, Mr. Owens leads the execution of NHTSA’s mission of setting safety standards for motor vehicles and vehicle equipment, facilitating the testing and deployment of advanced vehicle technologies, rooting out vehicle defects, and educating Americans to help them drive, ride, and walk safely.

Read more about Deputy Administrator James Owens.

Executive Director: Jack Danielson

Jack Danielson serves as the Executive Director of NHTSA, overseeing the agency’s daily operations, internal management, and mission support programs, and providing executive direction over the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Information Officer, and NHTSA’s eight Associate Administrators. In his capacity, Mr. Danielson serves as the agency’s senior career official supporting the NHTSA Administrator in providing leadership and establishing direction on policies, budgets, and the strategic priorities of a multifaceted organization with a budget of $911 million and 626 full-time employees located throughout the country.

Read more about Executive Director Jack Danielson.

Chief Counsel: Jonathan C. Morrison

As Chief Counsel, Jonathan Morrison oversees the provision of all legal services and advice for the full array of NHTSA's vehicle safety and highway safety programs.

Read more about Chief Counsel Jonathan C. Morrison.

Director, Governmental Affairs, Policy, and Strategic Planning: Steven Bayless 

Steven Bayless serves as NHTSA’s Director of Governmental Affairs, Policy, and Strategic Planning. Mr. Bayless specializes in vehicle technology and innovation, including cybersecurity, driverless and accessible vehicles, and vehicle-to-vehicle communications.

Read more about Governmental Affairs, Policy, and Strategic Planning Director Steven Bayless.

Communications Director: Sean Rushton

Sean Rushton serves as NHTSA’s Communications Director overseeing media relations, crisis communication, messaging, and strategy development in support of the agency’s mission to save lives.

Read more about Communications Director Sean Rushton.

Chief Safety Scientist: Joseph Kolly

Dr. Joseph M. Kolly is NHTSA's 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

Read more about Chief Safety Scientist Joseph Kolly.

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. Ms. Morgan works to ensure that civil rights are integrated into NHTSA’s core safety mission of saving lives, preventing injuries, and reducing crashes.

Read more about Director Regina Morgan.

Chief Financial Officer: Cynthia Parker

Cynthia Parker serves as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for NHTSA, where she 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. Previously, Mrs. Parker was 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 was 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.

Read more about Chief Financial Officer Cynthia Parker.

Associate Administrator, National Center for Statistics and Analysis: Dr. Chou-Lin Chen

Dr. Chou-Lin Chen serves as Associate Administrator for the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) at NHTSA. Dr. Chen began her career with NHTSA in 2002, where she served as Lead Mathematical Statistician and Team Leader, directing an analytical team in support of highway safety-related research analysis. In 2005, she transitioned to Supervisory Mathematical Statistician and Division Chief for NHTSA’s Mathematical Analysis Division, NCSA, where she oversaw the data analysis program. Most recently, Dr. Chen served as Director for the Office of Traffic Records and Analysis within NCSA, where she initiated the development and oversaw the implementation of programs monitoring the magnitude of traffic safety problems, as well as the effectiveness of countermeasures.

Read more about Associate Administrator Chou-Lin Chen.

Associate Administrator, Administration: Annie Collins

Annie Collins serves as Associate Administrator for Administration at NHTSA, providing leadership to the Offices of Human Resources, Administrative and Management Services, and the Executive Secretary to facilitate support of all NHTSA program offices. She joined NHTSA in April 2020 from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration where she served as the Associate Administrator for Field Operations since 2010. 

Read more about Associate Administrator Annie Collins.

Acting Chief Information Officer: Dawn Timmons-Jones

Associate Administrator, Communications and Consumer Information: Julie Vallese

Julie Vallese serves as Associate Administrator for Communications and Consumer Information at NHTSA. She manages the office responsible for providing accurate and timely vehicle and traffic safety information to consumers, media and partner organizations. The Office of Communications and Consumer Information works closely with NHTSA program offices to conduct market research, develop external communication strategies, implement advertising campaigns and develop communication material in support of vehicle and traffic safety.

Read more about Associate Administrator Julie Vallese.

Associate Administrator, Research and Program Development: Nanda Srinivasan

Nanda Srinivasan is the Associate Administrator for Research and Program Development at NHTSA, where he oversees four offices that formulate, implement, and evaluate traffic safety programs. In this role, he is responsible for developing programs to increase seat belt use, to decrease impaired driving, and to improve the safety of motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, older drivers, and emergency medical services.

Read more about Associate Administrator Nanda Srinivasan.

Associate Administrator, Regional Operations and Program Delivery: Jamie Pfister

Jamie Pfister serves as Associate Administrator for Regional Operations and Program Delivery at NHTSA. She recently came to NHTSA after working for more than 7 years at the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), working as Director of FTA Safety Oversight for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority, and providing safety oversight for the Metrorail system. While in this capacity, Ms. Pfister also served as Deputy Associate Administrator for the Office of Research, Demonstration, and Current Innovation, where she helped provide leadership to office directors for the effective program delivery of research, demonstration, evaluation, bus testing, standards development, transit industry training, and workforce development programs. Before her work as Director of Safety Oversight, Ms. Pfister served as Director of the Office of Transit Programs in the Office of Program Management.

Read more about Associate Administrator Jamie Pfister.

Associate Administrator, Vehicle Safety Research: Cem Hatipoglu

Cem Hatipoglu serves as the Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety Research at 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. 

Read more about Associate Administrator Cem Hatipoglu.

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, Mr. Posten has served as NHTSA's Associate Administrator for Rulemaking. The office develops and promulgates Federal safety standards and regulations for motor vehicle safety, including crash protection, survivability, and avoidance. Mr. 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 Safety Ratings) New Car Assessment Program.

Read more about Associate Administrator Ryan Posten.

Associate Administrator, Enforcement: Jeffrey Giuseppe

With a NHTSA career spanning 28 years, Jeffrey Giuseppe now serves as the Associate Administrator for Enforcement, 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. 

Read more about Associate Administrator Jeffrey Giuseppe.