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NTSB Chair Sumwalt retires from government service

Robert Sumwalt’s tenure as NTSB chairman began in August 2017.
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National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Robert Sumwalt last week ended his nearly 15 years at the board and retired from government service.

Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg will serve as the acting chairman until a new chair is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. President Biden nominated NTSB Member Jennifer Homendy May 20 to become the board's 15th chair.

Sumwalt’s tenure as NTSB chairman began in August 2017 after President Donald Trump nominated him to lead the board and he was confirmed by the Senate. He was renominated for a second term in August 2019.

During his tenure at the NTSB, Sumwalt responded to 36 accident sites in all modes of transportation, including the fatal derailment of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia in May 2015. Eight people died and more than 200 were injured in the accident.

In addition to leading the agency and advocating for the adoption of hundreds of safety recommendations the NTSB issues each year, Sumwalt made a concerted effort to ensure staff had investigative resources and supportive leadership at all levels, agency officials said in a press release.

Sumwalt came to the NTSB in August 2006. President George Bush designated him as vice chairman for a two-year term. President Barack Obama reappointed Sumwalt to an additional five-year term as a board member in November 2011. He was reappointed for another term by President Trump in 2017.

Before joining the NTSB Sumwalt was a pilot for 32 years.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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