Every Innovation Starts With A Conversation

By Julia Parker  

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced this week that Victoria Sheehan will join the organization as the new executive director of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) effective Dec. 5. 

Following a nationwide search, Sheehan will succeed Niel Pederson, who has served as TRB’s executive director for nearly eight years.  

Sheehan has served as the commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) for the past seven years. During her time at the agency, she oversaw a budget of over $650 million and a staff of more than 1,600 employees.  

Prior to her role at the New Hampshire DOT, Sheehan spent a decade at the Massachusetts DOT where she led strategic planning and highway performance, managed the bridge consulting program, and oversaw the Accelerated Bridge Program, an eight-year, $3 billion project. Commissioner Sheehan served as the President of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) from 2020-2021 and remains an active board member in several other professional organizations.  

“We are excited that Victoria will be joining our leadership team,” said Chief Program Officer of the National Academies, Gregory Symmes. “Her experience with complex, multifaceted projects and organizations will bring important skills not only to TRB, but to the important cross-disciplinary work that is necessary to address the implications for transportation of the ongoing challenges of climate change, pandemics, diversity, and economic growth.” 

“Through our discussions about industry issues, and her track record at New Hampshire Department of Transportation and AASHTO, I am confident Victoria is an excellent choice to lead TRB in its crucial mission of providing transportation professionals with the research and advice they will need to address our shared challenges,” said Nathaniel P. Ford, chair of the TRB Executive Committee and chief executive officer of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA). 

Sheehan holds a master’s degree in structural engineering and architecture from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. 

The TRB serves as a program unit of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, a nonprofit, non-governmental organization. The institution provides objective, independent counsel to inform public policy decisions with evidence and advises the nation on complex problems related to science, technology and medicine.