The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has selected Gloria Shepherd as the executive director of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the eleventh person to hold this position since FHWA’s founding in 1971. When she assumes her new role as executive director, she will be the first woman and the first African American in FHWA’s history to do so. Shepherd brings over 23 years of extensive and varied experience with FHWA, in which she has produced a track record of success and a proven ability to produce results, develop effective national partnerships and coalitions, and open doors through her mentorship for future leaders within DOT.
In her role leading the delivery of world-class highway and street programs that advance safe, efficient, equitable, and sustainable mobility choices for all while strengthening the nation’s economy, Shepherd will guide FHWA as it administers more than $350 billion as part of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. That includes formula and competitive grant programs with new funding and programs available to a range of grant recipients, including state departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, tribes, territories, and federal land management agencies.
“From her work at the Maryland and New York Departments of Transportation, to more than two decades at FHWA, Gloria has dedicated her extraordinary career to serving the traveling public,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “We are lucky to have her expertise, insight, and dedication as we work to modernize our nation’s roads, bridges, and highways to serve the American people now and for generations to come.”
“Our nation’s street and highway infrastructure is changing in real time and there is no one with more experience and dedication to this work to help guide that transition than Gloria,” said FHWA Acting Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “Her expertise, commitment to mentorship of current and future transportation leaders, and the respect she has built over her long career position her to improve our transportation infrastructure as she leads FHWA as executive director. I look forward to seeing what she accomplishes in the years to come.”
“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as the next executive director of FHWA,” Shepherd added. “It does not fall short on me the enormous responsibility that comes with the position. I am grateful that history has allowed me to fulfill the dreams of my parents and relatives who have gone on and bent their shoulders low, so I could stand on them in this position of public service. I am confident with the help of all the talented people in FHWA, we will not only fulfill our mission but reach new horizons.”
Since 2007, Gloria has served as the associate administrator for planning, environment, and realty. In this position, she provides strategic oversight and executive leadership that advance national transportation initiatives to accelerate project delivery, promote environmental justice and stewardship, and reduce transportation’s carbon footprint on the national highway system. In addition, she has tirelessly championed agency workforce development, awards and recognition programs, and work life balance.
Prior to becoming an associate administrator, Shepherd served for eight years as the director, office of planning where she was the principal advocate for metropolitan and statewide planning and programs. Before joining FHWA, she served in executive level positions with the Maryland State Highway Administration and the New York Department of Transportation.
Shepherd earned a master of law degree from Georgetown University, doctor of jurisprudence degree from Albany Law School, and her doctor of arts from the University at Albany (SUNY). She is a member of the New York State Bar and enjoys hiking and running.