President Biden Announces Appointments to the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council
WASHINGTON – Today, President Biden announced his intent to appoint highly qualified and diverse industry and government leaders as members of the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC), which advises the White House on how to reduce physical and cyber risks and improve the security and resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure sectors.
Since its establishment in 2001, the NIAC has conducted dozens of studies to address problems such as: improving intelligence information sharing across government and industry; identifying and reducing complex cyber risks; better preparing for and responding to disruptions that can ripple across multiple infrastructure systems; facilitating cooperative decision-making among senior executives and federal leaders during imminent threats and disaster responses; and addressing the skills gaps and loss of institutional knowledge in key national workforces.
The Biden-Harris Administration is delivering unprecedented infrastructure investments in all 50 states and territories to build a better America that delivers for all communities. The individuals announced today are leading senior executives with deep experience across a broad range of sectors including: banking and finance, transportation, energy, water, dams, defense, communications, information technology, healthcare services, food and agriculture, government facilities, emergency services, and higher education.
President Biden announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to the NIAC:
- Adebayo O. Ogunlesi of New York, Chair
- Maria Lehman of New York, Vice Chair
- Alan S. Armstrong of Oklahoma
- Manu Asthana of Pennsylvania
- Camille Batiste of Illinois
- Madhu Beriwal of Florida
- Deneen DeFiore of Ohio
- Joshua J. Descant of Louisiana
- Christine H. Fox of Maryland
- David L. Gadis of the District of Columbia
- Michael D. Hayford of Georgia
- Constance H. Lau of Hawaii
- Norma Jean Mattei of Louisiana
- Clara Lee Pratte of Arizona
- Gil C. Quiniones of Illinois
- Jorge Ramirez of Illinois
- Pasquale Romano of California
- Beverly A. Scott of California
- Patricia G. Sims of Alabama
- L. Vance Taylor of California
- Anthony W. Thomas of Arkansas
- Conrad M. Vial of California
- Sadek Wahba of Florida
- Christopher J. Wiernicki of Texas
- Robert O. Work of Virginia
- Audrey A. Zibelman of California
President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council
Abedayo Ogunlesi of New York, Chair
Abedayo Ogunlesi is Chairman and CEO of Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), an industry-leading, independent asset manager focused on infrastructure. GIP currently has over $84 billion in assets under management. He is based in New York City. Prior to founding GIP in 2006, Ogunlesi spent 23 years at Credit Suisse, where he held several senior positions including Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Client Officer of the Investment Banking Division. From 2002 to 2004, he was Head of the Global Investment Banking Division and a Member of the Executive Board and Management Committee. Previously, Ogunlesi was an attorney with the New York law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. He also served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Thurgood Marshall, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Ogunlesi holds a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honors) in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University, a Juris Doctor (magna cum laude) from Harvard Law School, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Maria Lehman of New York, Vice Chair
Maria Lehman has more than 40 years of diverse experience in transportation and buildings from planning through decommissioning, with capital expenditures to $3.9 billion. Currently, Lehman leads the U.S. infrastructure business at GHD, focusing on federal and New York State (NYS) government relations programs and provides strategic expertise for markets and specific pursuits. She was the Acting Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the NYS Thruway Authority; VP for Infrastructure in the Northeast for Parsons Corporation; and Commissioner of Public Works for Erie County, NY, among other roles. In October 2022, Lehman will start her term as President for the American Society of Civil Engineers, a professional society with 150,000 members in 177 countries. Lehman received her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo (magna cum laude) and is a licensed professional engineer in several states.
Alan S. Armstrong of Oklahoma, Member
Alan Armstrong became President and CEO of Williams in January 2011. During his tenure, Williams has expanded its reach, currently handling about 30 percent of all U.S. natural gas volumes, through gathering, processing, transportation and storage services. Prior to being named CEO, Armstrong led the company’s North American midstream and olefins businesses through a period of growth and expansion as Senior Vice President – Midstream. Previously, Armstrong served in a variety of leadership and technical roles at Williams. Armstrong serves on the boards of the American Petroleum Institute and the Energy Infrastructure Council, where he co-chaired a working group to develop the first-ever Midstream Company environmental, social, and corporate governance reporting template. Armstrong graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.
Manu Asthana of Pennsylvania, Member
Manu Asthana oversees the largest power grid in North America and one of the largest electricity markets in the world as the CEO and President of PJM. Under his leadership, PJM has established a clear path for defining the grid operator’s role in the transition to a cleaner, more efficient grid while maintaining reliable electric service. He has extensive leadership experience in the energy industry in the areas of power generation operations, optimization and dispatch, competitive retail electricity, electricity and natural gas trading, and risk management. He is a member of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council and serves on the Board of Trustees of Texas Children’s Hospital. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. Asthana earned a Bachelor of Science in economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Benjamin Franklin Scholar and a Joseph Wharton Scholar.
Camille Batiste of Illinois, Member
Camille Batiste is ADM’s Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain & Procurement. In that role, she leads ADM’s global supply chain function, including sales & operations planning and delivery optimization; champions ongoing improvements in ADM’s global sourcing strategy and execution; and oversees ADM’s continuing Transformation efforts. She is a member of the company’s Executive Council. Prior to her current role, Batiste served as President, Nutrition Optimization; and Vice President, Global Procurement. Before that, she spent 20 years at Honeywell International, where she held various roles with increasing responsibility in the company’s performance materials & technologies and aerospace business units. Batiste has a Bachelor of Arts & Sciences in chemical engineering and economics from Stanford University and an MBA from Louisiana State University. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Supply Management.
Madhu Beriwal of Florida, Member
Madhu Beriwal founded Innovative Emergency Management, Inc. (IEM) in 1985 and continues to serve as CEO and President. IEM is the largest woman-led homeland security and emergency management firm in the United States. Under. Beriwal’s leadership, IEM has led some of the largest mitigation and resilience efforts across the United States, building back stronger following disasters including disaster recovery programs, delivering federal funds to survivors and communities faster than any other program of the same type and magnitude. For over 37 years, Beriwal has been dedicated to the use of technology to enhance preparedness and response and build resilience in communities and their critical infrastructure. She was inducted into the International Women in Homeland Security and Emergency Management Hall of Fame in 2012. She holds a master’s degree in urban planning and a bachelor’s degree in geography and economics.
Deneen DeFiore of Ohio, Member
Deneen DeFiore is an accomplished technology and risk management executive with experience across multiple critical infrastructure sectors. She has developed expertise in advising global companies and their most senior executives on technology, cybersecurity, compliance, and digital risk decisions related to products, services, significant initiatives, and ongoing operations. DeFiore currently serves as Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer at United Airlines. She is responsible for leading the cybersecurity organization to ensure the company is prepared to prevent, detect, and respond to evolving cyber threats; as well as initiatives on commercial aviation cyber safety risk, improving cyber resilience, and representing United in working with international partners to reduce cyber safety risk world-wide across the aviation ecosystem. She has received many industry awards & honors and is an inductee of 2021 Chief Security Officer Hall of Fame. She is passionate about diversity in the tech industry and promoting STEM education.
Joshua J. Descant of Louisiana, Member
Joshua Descant is CEO of REV/REV Business, a leading broadband and telecommunications provider headquartered in Southeast Louisiana’s Capital Region. With decades of history providing regional communications access and data security services, REV builds and maintains critical network infrastructure services for a wide array of industry sectors and consumers in Louisiana with expansions along the gulf region. Creating and supporting an extensive infrastructure presence throughout the industrial port corridor of South Louisiana, REV is an important strategic component to the United States’ energy needs, and foreign and domestic trade. With 25 years of extensive leadership experience in the telecommunications and media industries, Descant currently serves on the leadership committee of USTelecom (a dedicated alliance of connectivity executives representing local and regional broadband innovators); is a member of The Committee of 100 for Economic Development, Inc. (C100), representing the Capital Region of Louisiana; is a member of the Ascension Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors; and is proud to have formerly served in the United States Marine Corps. He holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Christine H. Fox of Maryland, Member
The Honorable Christine Fox is a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). Previously, she was the Assistant Director for Policy and Analysis at APL, a position she held from 2014 to early 2022. Before joining APL, she served as Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense from 2013 to 2014 and as Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation from 2009-2013. As Director, CAPE, Fox served as chief analyst to the Secretary of Defense. She officially retired from the Pentagon in May 2014. Prior to her Department of Defense positions, she served as president of the Center for Naval Analyses from 2005 to 2009, after working there as a research analyst and manager since 1981. Fox holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science from George Mason University.
David L. Gadis of the District of Columbia, Member
David Gadis serves as CEO and General Manager of DC Water, overseeing a one billion dollar annual budget, a workforce of approximately 1,200 employees, and the largest Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant in the world that provides services for nearly 700,000 District residents. Since taking leadership of the Authority in May 2018, Gadis has led several transformative initiatives related to environmental justice and water equity. Many of these programs, such as the $2.7 billion Clean Rivers Project, and the Lead Free DC initiative, which will eliminate all lead service lines within the District by 2030, are now a part of the national conversation around water equity. Prior to joining DC Water, Gadis was Executive Vice President of Veolia North America and as CEO and President of Veolia Water Indianapolis. He graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU), with a bachelor’s degree in marketing communications. In recognition of his exceptional basketball skills and leadership abilities, Gadis was inducted to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.
Michael D. Hayford of Georgia, Member
Michael Hayford is CEO of NCR Corporation, a Fortune 500 technology company based in Atlanta doing business in 160 countries. Prior to NCR, Hayford served in several C-suite financial technology roles. He was Chief Financial Officer and corporate executive vice president of FIS, a Fortune 500 financial technology company, from 2009 until 2013. He served as president and COO of Metavante Technologies, Inc., and held prior roles as CIO and CTO. Hayford started his career with Accenture, a global technology consulting company. Mike serves on the Atlanta Police Foundation’s Public Safety First Cabinet, is a board member of the Georgia Music Accord, sits on the Georgia Tech Advisory Board and is a member of the Woodruff Arts Center Board of Trustees. He is a Certified Public Accountant and holds an MBA from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science in accounting and computer science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Constance H. Lau of Hawaii, Member
Constance (Connie) Lau headed Hawaii’s largest public company which included the electric utility serving 95% of the state and Hawaii’s third largest bank. Lau also served on the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council and is a C3E Ambassador for the Department of Energy. Lau serves on the Board of Matson Inc., the principal shipping company serving Hawaii and Alaska and with service to the Pacific, China and Japan. She also serves on the Board of Associated Electric & Gas Insurance Services, a key mutual insurer to American electric and gas utilities.
Norma Jean Mattei of Louisiana, Member
Norma Jean Mattei is an internationally known expert and leader in critical civil infrastructure, having forty years of experience in civil engineering. She is a professor at the University of New Orleans and serves as the senior civilian member and one of two civilian civil engineer Commissioners on the Mississippi River Commission, nominated by President Obama in 2012. Mattei served as the 2017 President of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), chairing that organization’s Board of Directors that year as well as debuting the 2017 ASCE Report Card on America’s Infrastructure. Locally she serves on the ASCE New Orleans’ Chapter of the Structural Engineering Institute, and several non-profit organizations such as the Water Institute of the Gulf, SciHigh and GNO STEM. Mattei received her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Tulane University and practiced as a consulting engineer in the New Orleans area for a decade before returning to Tulane University for her doctorate. She, her husband, two engineer daughters and engineer son-in-law all reside in New Orleans.
Clara L. Pratte of Arizona, Member
Clara Pratte has advocated for tribal communities nationwide on economic development and sustainable growth. She grew up on the Navajo reservation and has committed her work to poverty alleviation, economic empowerment, and advancing tribal sovereignty. Today she assists and advises tribes nationwide on economic development matters. She founded Strongbow Strategies, a government services firm, in 2013 and joined the Navajo Power leadership team in 2018 to implement new energy development models on the Navajo Nation. Her past experience includes serving as the Tribal Engagements Director for the Biden-Harris campaign and transition, Navajo Nation Chief of Staff, the Navajo Nation Executive Director of the Washington D.C. office, the National Director of the Office of Native American Affairs of the U.S. Small Business Administration. She has won numerous awards including the 2020 Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award (UCLA) and 2020 Native Disruptor Award (Native Business Magazine).
Gil Quiniones of Illinois, Member
Gil Quiniones is CEO of ComEd, an Exelon company, which powers the lives of more than 4 million residential and business customers, or 70 percent of Illinois’ population. He oversees the management of the electric grid for Chicago and most of northern Illinois and ComEd’s partnerships with the diverse communities it serves. Before joining ComEd, Quiniones served more than a decade as president and CEO of the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility. Under his leadership, NYPA played a key role in the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative to use market forces and new technology to empower customers and encourage the growth of clean renewable energy and energy efficiency. Before joining NYPA in 2007, Quiniones held several positions in the administration of New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, including more than four years as senior vice president of energy and telecommunications. Quinones attended De La Salle University in the Philippines where he received a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering.
Jorge Ramirez of Illinois, Member
Jorge Ramirez is a Managing Director at GCM Grosvenor, where he focuses on Labor and Government strategies and initiatives and serves on the ESG Committee and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. He is the former president of the Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL), the third largest central labor council of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), representing 300 unions and a half million working people across the Chicagoland area. In his role as president of the CFL, he served on executive and advisory boards for labor, civic, and community organizations across the City of Chicago and around the country. He served as an officer of the CFL since July 2006 and was elected the CFL’s first Latino president in July 2010. He graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso, with a double major in marketing and computer information systems, and he obtained his Juris Doctor from the Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Pasquale Romano of California, Member
Pasquale Romano is President and CEO at ChargePoint, the world’s largest electric vehicle charging network, headquartered in Campbell, California. Romano joined ChargePoint in February 2011, bringing more than 30 years of technology industry leadership and executive management experience to the company. Before joining ChargePoint, he founded 2Wire and Fluent Inc, leading providers of telecommunications hardware and software solutions. Romano holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Harvard University and received his master’s degree from MIT.
Beverly A. Scott of California, Member
Beverly Scott’s career in the public transportation industry spans forty years, including four appointments as CEO/General Manager – Boston (MBTA), Atlanta (MARTA), Sacramento (SRTD), and Rhode Island (RIPTA). She is the CEO of Beverly Scott and Associates and Founder of Introducing Youth to American Infrastructure. Nationally recognized for her “equity-centered” leadership, public service, and emphasis on “shared prosperity” for all people and communities, she is a frequent speaker, serves on several national boards, and has received numerous national and local awards and recognitions – including recognition as a “Transportation Agent of Change” by the White House and the US Department of Transportation. She was first appointed to the NIAC in 2011 by President Barack Obama. Scott holds a doctorate in political science from Howard University; and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Fisk University (magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa).
Patricia G. Sims of Alabama, Member
Patricia Sims has been the President of Drake State Community & Technical College, a Historically Black College (HBCU) located in Huntsville, Alabama, since 2018. Under Sims’ leadership, Drake State has seen a significant increase in state and federal funding, has increased strategic partnerships, and expanded its program offerings. Sims has over 28 years of progressive experience in the field of Education. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Alabama State Port Authority, the Alabama Partnership for Children, and the Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust.
L. Vance Taylor of California, Member
Luis (Vance) Taylor is the Chief of the Office of Access and Functional Needs at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Taylor leads the team responsible for ensuring the needs of individuals with disabilities and persons with access or functional considerations are identified and integrated into the State’s emergency management systems before, during, and after disasters. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taylor was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a child and uses a power wheelchair. Prior to joining Cal OES, Taylor worked in Washington, D.C. as an advisor for two members of Congress on homeland security, emergency management, and infrastructure protection issues. Taylor is a nationally recognized public speaker and an advocate for individuals with disabilities. Taylor has a master’s degree in homeland security from the University of Connecticut and a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in communications. He is married to his sweetheart, Casey. They live with their two wonderful teenage daughters in Rancho Cordova, CA.
Anthony W. Thomas of Arkansas, Member
Anthony Thomas is President and CEO of Windstream. He was appointed to the position in December 2014. Thomas has more than 20 years’ experience in the communications industry. Thomas served as the chief financial officer for Windstream from August 2009 through September 2014. During his five-year tenure as CFO, Thomas played an integral role in Windstream’s expansion by completing seven acquisitions totaling more than $5.6 billion in transaction value. In addition, Thomas has deep capital market expertise, having led almost $10 billion in debt transactions. Thomas joined Windstream as controller following the spinoff from Alltel Corp. He held a variety of financial and operational leadership roles at Alltel after joining the company when it merged with 360 Communications in 1998. Before entering the communications industry, he was with Ernst & Young in the telecom practice. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Wake Forest University and a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from the University of Illinois.
Conrad M. Vial of California, Member
Conrad Vial is a senior executive at Sutter Health, an integrated healthcare delivery system caring for 3.5 million Northern Californians. As Sutter Health’s Chief Clinical Officer, Vial accountabilities include: development of Clinical Strategy, Research & Graduate Medical Education, Quality & Equity – inclusive of clinical outcomes, experience, efficiency and safety, Clinical Operations Integration, Mental Health & Addiction Services, Laboratory services, Pharmacy, Digital Health, and Design & Innovation. Vial is also a practicing cardiothoracic surgeon who has held various leadership roles in multi-specialty medical group practice and integrated healthcare delivery. Vial received his bachelor’s degree and medical doctorate from Stanford University. He earned a Master of Philosophy at Cambridge University in England, while also completing a postdoctoral fellowship in transplant immunology. He completed his general surgical and cardiothoracic surgical training at Stanford University Medical Center. He has been board certified in both general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery.
Sadek Wahba of Florida, Member
Sadek Wahba is Chairman and Managing Partner of I Squared Capital, an independent global infrastructure investment company based in Miami, Florida. He was previously a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, New York as well as an economist at the World Bank, Washington D.C. He holds a doctorate in economics from Harvard University, a master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the American University in Cairo. Wahba is a published author on economic research and a frequent commentator on the need for infrastructure investments to promote economic growth. One of his publications was selected by MIT as one of their 50 most influential papers in the last 50 years. He is a Senior Fellow of the Development Research Institute, NYU, a member of the Global Advisory Council of the Wilson Center, Washington D.C. and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Christopher J. Wiernicki of Texas, Member
Christopher Wiernicki is Chairman, President and CEO of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and Chairman of the ABS Group of Companies, Inc. ABS is a leading global maritime technical and standards organization providing classification, certification, technical, and risk management services. Wiernicki has over 35 years of extensive commercial, government and international experience in marine and offshore design, operations, infrastructure and safety management, ports and bunkering, digitalization, cybersecurity, and clean energy transition. He is a member of the International Maritime Hall of Fame, was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and was selected as a member of the Marine Committee of the U.S. Transportation Research Board. Wiernicki holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Vanderbilt, a master’s degree in structural engineering from George Washington University, a master’s degree in ocean engineering from MIT, and completed Harvard University’s Advanced Management Program.
Robert O. Work of Virginia, Member
Robert Work was the thirty-second Deputy Secretary of Defense, serving alongside three Secretaries of Defense across two administrations from May 2014 to July 2017. In 2001, he retired as a Colonel in the United States Marine Corps after 27 years on active duty. He currently is the President and Owner of TeamWork, LLC, which specializes in defense strategy and policy, programming and budgeting, military-technical competitions, revolutions in war, and the future of war. He sits on the Board of Directors of Raytheon Technologies and several smaller high-tech firms. Work holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois, a Master of Science from the University of Southern California, a Master of Science from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a Masters in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute of Strategic Studies.
Audrey A. Zibelman of California, Member
Audrey Zibelman is an experienced energy industry executive who has led the decarbonization of the power industry as a CEO and as a government leader. Zibelman is currently a Vice President and industry advisor at X (formerly Google X), Alphabet’s moonshot factory. There she leads and supports the development of Tapestry, X’s moonshot to digitalize the electric grid, and other breakthrough technologies to address climate change. Before joining X, Zibelman was the Managing Director and CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator, the national power system and gas system operator for Australia. Zibelman has served as the Chair of the New York Public Service Commission and held executive positions at PJM and Xcel Energy. Zibelman holds non-executive board and advisory positions with the Rocky Mountain Institute; EOS Energy, a leading U.S. battery manufacturer; Squadron Energy, a privately held Australian based renewable energy developer; Advanced Energy Economy and the Smart Electric Power Alliance.