Earl Adams Jr. Sworn In as FMCSA Deputy Administrator

Earl Adams
Earl Adams Jr. by DOT/FMCSA

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Earl Adams Jr., chief counsel of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration since July 2021, has been sworn in as the agency’s deputy administrator.

Adams assumes the role previously held by Robin Hutcheson, who was officially confirmed as FMCSA’s administrator on Sept. 22.

FMCSA said that as the agency’s deputy administrator, Adams will join Hutcheson to lead FMCSA and will oversee a portfolio of initiatives across the agency’s various program offices that supports its mission of preventing crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

“Earl is a mission-driven leader and thinker who embodies the values of our agency and the entire Department of Transportation,” Hutcheson said. “His vast experience, intellect and people skills are exactly what the role of deputy administrator calls for. I look forward to continuing to work with Earl on policies, initiatives, data-based strategies to prevent crashes, improve safety outcomes on our roadways, and ultimately achieve our goal of zero fatalities.”

Adams has extensive legal and executive experience across several modes, including surface transportation, rail and aviation. In his role as chief counsel, Adams was responsible for legal policy on all aspects of agency programs and activities including the development, issuance, interpretation, enforcement and defense of FMCSA safety regulations before state and federal courts. He also provided executive oversight for FMCSA’s technology and innovation portfolio, including rulemaking on autonomous vehicles.

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Prior to joining FMCSA, Adams worked in the private sector with several law firms, most recently as a litigation partner with a national law firm, where he also served as the managing partner of the firm’s Washington, D.C., office. His legal practice has focused on providing clients with regulatory and compliance counsel across several sectors, including transportation, renewable energy and procurement, the agency said.

Adams also has served as chief of staff to Maryland’s former lieutenant governor and has held several leadership positions in other organizations, including serving as the former chairman of the board of directors for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, former vice chairman of the Bowie State University Board of Visitors, and former board member of the Economic Club of Washington.

He earned his Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School, a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Morehouse College.