UC Riverside Alumnus Nominated as FAA Chief

Michael Huerta is responsible for the safety and efficiency of the largest aerospace system in the world.

Michael Huerta

UCR Alumnus Michael Huerta inside the Federal Aviation Administration. Credit: Marty Katz/Washingtonphotographer.com

President Barack Obama has nominated UC Riverside alumnus Michael Huerta to serve as the chief of the Federal Aviation Administration for a five-year term.

Huerta, 55, holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Riverside and a master’s in international relations from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Huerta has been serving as Acting Administrator of the FAA since December 2011. He is  responsible for the safety and efficiency of the largest aerospace system in the world, overseeing a $15.9 billion dollar budget and over 47,000 employees.

“The FAA couldn’t be in better hands,” said Kyle Hoffman, assistant vice chancellor for alumni and constituent relations at UC Riverside. “He is incredibly capable and successful and a tremendous representative of this campus.” Hoffman said that Huerta won the Outstanding Young Alumnus award in 1986 and then was invited back last October to speak on campus. “He has served on the board of the UCR Alumni Association and he has always been there for us when we need to engage alumni in the Washington DC area.”

He grew up in the Riverside area and attended Notre Dame High School in Riverside before graduating from UC Riverside.

Huerta is an experienced transportation official who has held key positions across the country. His reputation for managing complex transportation challenges led him to the international stage when Huerta was tapped as a Managing Director of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The Olympics drew 2,400 athletes from 78 countries to Salt Lake City. Huerta was critical in the planning and construction of a variety of Olympic transportation facilities, as well as the development of a highly successful travel demand management system that insured the transportation system operated safely and efficiently.

Before joining the FAA, Huerta held senior positions at Affiliated Computer Services from 2002-2009 rising to the position of President of the Transportation Solutions Group; ACS is now a Xerox company specializing in business processes and information technology.

Huerta was commissioner of New York City’s Department of Ports, International Trade and Commerce from 1986-89. He then served as the Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco from 1989-1993. From 1993-98, he held senior positions in the U.S. Transportation Department in Washington, D.C., serving under Secretary Federico Pena and Secretary Rodney E. Slater.

Photo of Michael Huerta by Marty Katz
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