Bob Johns goes east

Since it is now official…. Congratulations to Bob Johns for his appointment at Volpe. Good luck to Laurie McGinnis as acting director in his stead.

Subject: New Volpe Center Director
I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Robert C. Johns as the Director of the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center(
As you know, the Volpe Center is a jewel in the DOT family and a global leader in transportation research. Selecting a leader for the Center was among the most important decisions we have had to make, and we took this decision very seriously. We launched a broad national search, proactively reaching out to a wide range of individuals at leading organizations in the private and public sectors. Our search team included representatives from Volpe, RITA headquarters, and the customers of Volpe across the modal administrations. We were very pleased with how many very senior and knowledgeable individuals applied; this strong applicant pool is testament to Volpe’s 40-year reputation as the leading institution of its kind.
Bob Johns stood out among the applicant pool as a leader who brings a strong combination of deep transportation knowledge, research experience, management skills, and extensive ties within the national and global transportation communities. He brings entrepreneurial leadership in building multimodal and interdisciplinary research programs along with his strong management and organizational development expertise.
Bob has been director of the Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) at the University of Minnesota since 2001. During this period, he more than doubled the revenue attracted to the University for transportation research, education, and outreach, leading CTS to the top echelon of university transportation centers in the U.S. Prior to joining the University in 1988, Bob held research and management positions with the Santa Fe Railway, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities. He also has over 20 years of experience in leading Transportation Research Board committees and currently is chair of the Technical Activities Council, which oversees TRB’s 200 technical committees. He received a B.S. in Engineering Operations from Iowa State University and an M.B.A. and M.A. from the University of Iowa.
I have had extensive discussions with Bob about how strong a team we have up at Volpe, and the tremendous opportunities we have to leverage this talent to address the transportation challenges that we face as a nation. I want to thank the acting Volpe Director, Dr. Richard John, for his excellent stewardship of this team during an extended interim period. The Volpe Center has never missed a beat in delivering high-quality results for its clients, and Dick has been a critical leader in ensuring this continuity and success.
Bob will be joining us on Monday, September 28. Please join me in offering him a warm welcome to Volpe and the extended RITA and DOT family.
Best regards,
Peter H. Appel
Research and Innovative Technology Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Office: (202) 366-4180