On December 12, 2016, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents appointed former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Gregory D. Winfree, J.D., as agency director for the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). Winfree began his new role on December 15, replacing Dennis L. Christiansen, P.E., Ph.D., who stepped down after 10 years as TTI agency director and 45 years of service at TTI.
“TTI is the best transportation research agency on the planet, and Greg Winfree’s vast experience in the national transportation arena and proven leadership will serve TTI and the A&M System well,” says Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “We are fortunate to attract such an innovative leader to head up our excellent team at TTI.”
Winfree comes to TTI from the USDOT Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, which he joined as chief counsel in March 2010 and where he was later sworn in as the assistant secretary in January 2014. During his tenure, Winfree also served as deputy administrator and administrator of a predecessor agency, the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA).
As assistant secretary, he was the senior executive responsible for a $450 million budget and oversaw more than 1,000 scientific, data analysis and administrative staff members who supported USDOT’s multi-modal transportation initiatives. The program offices under his purview include: the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center; the Research, Development and Technology Coordination Office; the Bureau of Transportation Statistics; the Positioning, Navigation, Timing and Spectrum Management Office; the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office; and the Transportation Safety Institute.
“Mr. Winfree has an outstanding record of transportation research at the national level and is well positioned to connect TTI with funding opportunities,” said M. Katherine Banks, Ph.D., vice chancellor and dean of Texas A&M Engineering. “He is a fantastic hire for TTI and the Texas A&M System, and I look forward to fully supporting him as he identifies and implements new opportunities and initiatives for TTI.”
Prior to his USDOT appointments, Winfree served as corporate counsel for several Fortune 500 corporations operating in a number of technical industries, including natural resources and metals, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals and polymers. Prior to his corporate legal work, Winfree was a trial attorney in the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.
“I am delighted to join TTI — the preeminent university transportation research institute nationwide — to help identify solutions and opportunities to address our transportation challenges and keep Texas and America moving forward,” says Winfree. “I am humbled by this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and appreciate the confidence of the Board of Regents, Chancellor Sharp and Vice Chancellor Banks.”