Robert Sumwalt

Board of Directors, Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure

Robert L. Sumwalt served as Board Member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) from 2006 to 2021. Appointed by President George W. Bush in 2006, Sumwalt was later reappointed by Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. In 2017, Sumwalt was nominated by President Trump and confirmed by the US Senate to serve as the 14th Chairman of the NTSB – a position he held for four years.

Robert is well-known to be a fierce advocate for improving safety in all modes of transportation, including teen driver safety, impaired driving, distractions in transportation, and several aviation, rail, and pipeline safety initiatives.

Before joining the NTSB, Mr. Sumwalt was a pilot for 32 years, including 24 years with Piedmont Airlines and US Airways. He accumulated over 14,000 flight hours. He also spent eight years as a consultant to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) and has written extensively on aviation safety matters. He has co-authored a book on aircraft accidents and has published more than 100 articles on transportation safety and aircraft accident investigation.

Sumwalt earned an undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Aeronautical Science (with Distinction) from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, with concentrations in aviation/aerospace safety systems and human factors aviation systems. In recognition of his accomplishments, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of South Carolina, and an honorary Doctorate from Embry-Riddle. He is the recipient of the Flight Safety Foundation Laura Taber Barbour Air Safety Award and the Flight Safety Foundation – Boeing Aviation Safety Lifetime Achievement Award. He is an inductee into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame.

He now serves transportation safety analyst for CBS News was recently selected by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to launch their new global Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety, where he will serve as Distinguished Fellow in Aviation Safety and Executive Director.