Skip to main content
NHTSA Leadership

Ron Thaniel

Director, Governmental and External Affairs

Ron Thaniel, NHTSA’s Director of Governmental and External Affairs, leads NHTSA’s Office of Governmental Affairs, Policy and Strategic Planning. He works closely with the Office of the Secretary of Transportation and other modal leadership to ensure strategic alignment, coordination and focus on transportation safety priorities. 

Thaniel began his career in transportation supporting Minneapolis as the city’s policy aide for transportation, public works, and public safety. He later transferred to the United States Conference of Mayors to work as the assistant executive director, where he led transportation policy and represented mayors before Congress, federal agencies, and international organizations and governments. He’s also worked as regional director of government affairs for Amtrak. In New York, Thaniel held several transportation positions, including deputy secretary for transportation, where he led New York State executive chamber operations for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Department of Transportation, and the New York State Thruway Authority. He returned to Washington, DC, in 2016 to work for the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, most recently as the vice president of public policy and legislative affairs.

Thaniel received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Morgan State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from Hamline University.