Jennifer Homendy is the 15th chair of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Former President Donald Trump appointed Homendy as the 44th member of the NTSB in 2018, and she was unanimously reconfirmed by the Senate in 2019 for a five-year term. Then, President Joe Biden nominated her as chair in May and she was again unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
Homendy succeeded Robert Sumwalt, a former airline pilot and NTSB member since 2006, who retired on June 30. NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg served as acting chairman as Homendy was preparing to take the reins.
In a tearful swearing in ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Homendy thanked her personal family — specifically her spouse and her daughter — and her professional family for their continued support through this entire process. She shared her background advocating for safety recommendations for the NTSB while adding that the job has been a dream career.
“I never would have imagined this,” Homendy said during the swearing-in ceremony.
She added that this is a time in transportation for tremendous growth and a lot of opportunities, adding that with growth comes challenges and the NTSB’s mission is critical to meeting those challenges.
“If I could save one life — together, if we could save one life — we’ve succeeded,” Homendy said. “But more importantly, if I could come to the agency and leave the agency in a better place then I’ve succeeded. I’m here to help you get the resources that you need and help you meet the challenges of our future.”
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Homendy is an advocate for safety and brings experience to the board in terms of railroad, pipeline and hazardous materials safety on all modes of transportation. She served as the Democratic Staff Director of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, which is under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I Committee) of the U.S House of Representatives from 2004 to 2018.
During this time, she guided major pieces of rail, pipeline and hazardous materials safety legislation through the process. She was also a defender of transportation safety and worked to implement safety recommendations proposed by the NTSB, including the NTSB’s 10 Most Wanted List of Safety Improvements.
In 2017 she led a review of the Department of Transportation’s drug and alcohol testing program, which identified significant safety gaps.