January 21, 2014 – DLA Piper announced today that former US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has joined the firm as a senior policy advisor in the Washington, DC, and Chicago offices. Joan DeBoer, LaHood’s former chief of staff, will also join the firm as a policy advisor.
With a 36-year public service career, LaHood has a wide depth of experience on major national policy issues such as transportation and infrastructure. He served as the 16th Department of Transportation Secretary from 2009 to 2013 and quickly became known as a bipartisan leader and skilled conciliator in a highly partisan environment. His tenure was marked by landmark efforts to improve safety in every mode of transportation, from aviation and rail to pipelines and automobiles. Under his leadership, improvements to America’s infrastructure included 350,000 miles of highway, repair of 20,000 bridges, and 6,000 miles of laid track. LaHood also achieved more stringent fuel efficiency requirements from automakers, took steps to address airline pilot fatigue and turned the problem of distracted driving into a national concern. As Secretary of Transportation, he oversaw an agency with more than 55,000 employees and a $70 billion budget in charge of air, maritime and surface transportation.
DeBoer served as chief of staff of the US Department of Transportation from 2009 to 2013. In this role, she helped oversee the department’s budget and employees, while also providing strategic counsel to LaHood on all aspects of transportation policy.
“Ray and Joan bring essential government, management and policy experience to the firm that will help us further assist our clients in the areas of infrastructure, structured finance, energy and transportation,” said Roger Meltzer, co-chairman (Americas) of DLA Piper. “They have significant, firsthand knowledge about some of our economy’s most significant challenges, which will be very important in their new roles.”
“There is no substitute for hands-on experience and that is what Ray and Joan bring to DLA Piper,” said Ignacio Sanchez, co-chair of the Regulatory and Government Affairs practice. “We look forward to utilizing their talents on a variety of projects involving the intersection of government and business.”
About Ray LaHood
Prior to serving as Secretary of Transportation, LaHood served from 1995 to 2009 in the US House of Representatives from the 18th District of Illinois and also served on various House committees, including the powerful House Appropriations Committee. He also served as chief of staff to US House Minority Leader Robert Michel from 1982 to 1994. He was director of the Rock Island County Youth Services Bureau from 1972 to 1974; chief planner of the Bi-States Metropolitan Planning Commission from 1974 to 1977; and district administrative assistant for US Congressman Tom Railsback from 1977 to 1982.
He earned his B.S. degree from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. He and his wife, Kathy, have four children and 11 grandchildren.
About Joan DeBoer
DeBoer was LaHood’s primary liaison with the White House and other federal agencies and also served on the Presidential Task Force of the Auto Industry. Prior to that position, she served for 18 years on Capitol Hill in various capacities. She was Deputy Chief of Staff to LaHood when he was a congressman, and also served as an appropriations associate to the House Appropriations Committee and as a legislative assistant to US House Minority Leader Robert Michel.
She earned her B.A. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
About DLA Piper (www.dlapiper.com)
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