Washington, DC -- Member Ellen Engleman Conners, who served two years as the National Transportation Safety Board's Chairman, announced this week that she intends to leave the Board on May 31.
In her April 17 letter of resignation to President George W. Bush, Member Engleman Conners said: "With great humility and thankfulness, I tender my resignation as a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board effective May 31, 2006. I wish to thank you for your inspirational leadership and your patient devotion to our country during this most severe challenge to our freedoms. It has been a great privilege to serve in three positions in your administration. Your vision for America has been my guide."
Member Engleman Conners joined the Safety Board on March 24, 2003, when she began a two-year term as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the agency. Since the expiration of her Chairmanship in March 2005, she has served as a Member of the NTSB. Her term as Member expires on December 31, 2007.
During her chairmanship, Engleman Conners successfully focused on reducing the number of open or non-implemented NTSB safety recommendations to the lowest number since 1975, for which she received Aviation Week's highest honor, the Safety Laurels award in 2003. She was also the recipient of the 2004 Harrison Award for Public Service, from the Columbia Club, Indianapolis, Indiana, and the National Business Travel Association Founder's Award in 2005.
Engleman Conners also served as the member on scene for numerous accidents, including the Staten Island Ferry accident in 2003, the Baltimore water taxi capsizing in 2004, and most recently the Southwest Airlines runway overrun in Chicago last December. She represented the agency in national media and before Congress.
Before joining the NTSB, Engleman Conners served as the Administrator of the Research and Special Programs Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation. During her tenure she focused on improving safety in the transportation of hazardous materials and the nation's 2.2 million miles of pipelines, including leading the effort to successfully fulfill NTSB recommendations for the Office of Pipeline Safety, resulting in their removal from the NTSB's "Most Wanted" list. She was responsible for the Office of Emergency Transportation during September 11th, for which she received the Secretary of Transportation's 9-11 Distinguished Service Medal and oversaw the design of the new Crisis Communication Management Center. She also co-chaired the transfer of the U.S. Coast Guard to the new Department of Homeland Security, for which she was the recipient of the U.S. Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award, its highest non- life-saving medal.
Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2001, she was a recognized and successful business leader in Indianapolis, Indiana and has held a number of executive positions in the private sector. She is also an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Member Engleman Conners earned both a bachelor's and a Juris Doctor degree from Indiana University, and has a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University.
NTSB board member Ellen Engleman Conners has asked President Bush to withdraw her nomination for a second term as chairman.
Chair Ellen Conners' term expired Sunday, and the acting chair has only two weeks left in office. The NTSB needs President Bush and the Senate to name a replacement.
He will delay his departure until a new chairman and an additional board member are confirmed.