Robin Hutcheson, President Joe Biden's pick to lead the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), was confirmed by the Senate Thursday and becomes the agency's first administrator in the post-pandemic era.
Hutcheson was named Deputy Administrator in January and immediately became Acting Administrator on the heels of then-Acting Admin Meera Joshi's resignation. Prior to Hutcheson, FMCSA hadn't had a full-time administrator since Ray Martinez, who stepped down from the post in October 2019. The job has since been held by Jim Mullen, Wiley Deck, Joshi and Hutcheson, each as acting administrator.
Hutcheson received the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approval in June and her confirmation as the seventh FMCSA administrator was all but certain since receiving Biden's nomination for the role full-time in April. She has long had the support of all of trucking's major stakeholder groups, including the American Trucking Associations, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the Truckload Carriers Association and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).
“In her time as Acting Administrator, Robin has been a true partner with our industry – working to confront a number of issues facing trucking," ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said via statement Thursday evening. “Whether it is addressing safety concerns, ongoing supply chain issues or workforce development, she has been open to engaging with our industry and we look forward to continuing our ongoing, candid dialogue about these challenges and to engaging with her and her agency to implement solutions that uphold safety and improve efficiency in trucking and across the supply chain.”
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Director of Public Relations Norita Taylor told CCJ Thursday night that her association "has quickly developed a valued relationship with Ms. Hutcheson since her appointment as Acting Administrator in January," and "under her leadership, we are hopeful these discussions will result in solutions to longstanding problems within the industry such as parking, predatory leasing agreements, excessive detention time and inadequate compensation among others. If the agency prioritizes issues like these in a cooperative manner with professional drivers, the trucking profession will become more appealing to all."
Truckload Carriers Association President Jim Ward was likewise pleased to see Hutcheson ascend to FMCSA's top post, noting that "in the short time that she has been there, the Administrator has demonstrated a passion for safety improvement and a willingness to engage with the industry. We are looking forward to working with her on truckload related safety measures in the future.”
Prior to her role at FMCSA, Hutcheson had served as the deputy assistant secretary for Safety Policy for the U.S. Department of Transportation in the Biden-Harris Administration. In this role she led safety policy for the department and coordinated COVID-19 response and recovery. She was instrumental in the development of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, especially the new Safe Streets and Roads for All program.
Before being appointed to the Biden-Harris Administration, she was the director of public works for the City of Minneapolis, overseeing a team of 1,100 people across nine divisions including drinking water, surface waters and sewers, solid waste and recycling, fleet management, and all transportation functions.
She previously served as the transportation director for Salt Lake City, working to improve all modes of transportation, has served as a consultant specializing in transportation and transit, and has worked throughout the western United States, in London and France, and for the European Union Commission on Sustainability.
Hutcheson served for seven years on the board of directors for the National Association of City Transportation Officials, most recently serving as its president.