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FRA Key Personnel

Patrick Warren, Executive Director

Mr. Warren joined FRA's Office of Railroad Safety in 2014, where he held the positions of Director of Regional Operations and Deputy Associate Administrator. 


Prior to FRA, Mr. Warren served in the U.S. Army across the United States, and in Afghanistan, Germany, Turkey, and Belgium.  He was the Commander or Senior Administrator for training and administrative organizations, and in tactical military units dedicated to emergency response, safety compliance, security, and defense.  Some of his many assignments included that of Senior Safety Officer, Operations Director, and Chief of Staff.  He further served as a political-military advisor for the Department of Defense while with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  He also served as a Federal Executive Fellow with the Brookings Institution.

Mr. Warren earned master's degrees in computer science from the Naval Postgraduate School and in national strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.  He received a bachelor's degree in engineering from the U.S. Military Academy.

Office of Railroad Safety

Robert C. Lauby, Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety and Chief Safety Officer

With more than 35 years of railroad and transit experience involving safety, security, accident investigation, project management, project engineering, manufacturing, and vehicle maintenance, Mr. Lauby is responsible for FRA's rail safety promotion, oversight, and enforcement programs.  Prior to becoming Associate Administrator in September 2013, he served in several leadership roles within FRA's Office of Railroad Safety.


Before joining FRA in 2005, Mr. Lauby was a Booz Allen Hamilton safety and security consultant for the Federal government and railway and transit industries.  As Director of the National Transportation Safety Board's Office of Railroad Safety, he managed hundreds of railroad and transit accident investigations.  Mr. Lauby also served as a Knorr Brake Corporation project manager on numerous new light rail vehicle procurements and as a Conrail maintenance supervisor.  He has testified numerous times before Congressional and Senate subcommittees on railroad safety and is a licensed Professional Engineer.

Karl Alexy, Director of Safety Analysis

Mr. Alexy oversees and manages the rail safety program planning process; long-range program goals, objectives, and requirements; and monitors State rail safety programs.  His portfolio includes the data collection and analyses that guide and inform FRA's enforcement and industry's risk mitigation efforts.   


Previously, he served as FRA's Hazardous Materials Division staff director and general engineer.  Prior to coming to FRA in 2009, he worked as the senior engineer in the DuPont Company's Logistics Group where he oversaw design, construction, and modification of DuPont's tank car, intermodal tank, and cargo tank fleet.  He had also served as a fleet manager, overseeing maintenance of company owned and leased tank cars.

Mr. Alexy earned degrees in biology from Bloomsburg University (Pennsylvania) and civil engineering from Drexel University, summa cum laude and first in his class.  He earned a professional engineering license from the State of Maryland.

Thomas Herrmann, Director of Technical Oversight

Mr. Herrmann leads FRA's technical experts in the railroad safety specializations of operating practices, motive power and equipment, signal and train control, hazardous materials, track and bridges, alcohol and drugs, and industrial hygiene. 


Since joining FRA as a trial attorney in 1991, he has served in many positions, including Assistant Chief Counsel for Safety Law and Senior Program Advisor to the Associate Administrator for Safety and Chief Safety Officer. 

He began his Federal career in 1989 as a staff attorney at the U.S. Department of Labor, where he reviewed administrative law judge decisions related to coal miner "black lung" cases and longshoremen's and harbor workers' compensation claims.

Mr. Herrmann received a Juris Doctorate from Washington University School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice from the University of Missouri. 

Paul Nissenbaum, Associate Administrator for Railroad Policy and Development

Mr. Nissenbaum is responsible for Federal rail investment programs; research, development, and technology; and rail policy and planning.  From 2008 until 2012, he served as Director of Passenger and Freight Programs, where he oversaw FRA's implementation of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, including development of the High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail program, new partnerships with states, railroads, and other stakeholders, and FRA's capacity to fulfill its new responsibilities.  Recognition of his service includes the Presidential Rank Award (2011), Administrator's Award (2010), and Secretary's Award for Meritorious Service (2009).


Prior to joining FRA, Mr. Nissenbaum worked for 9 years at Amtrak in several capacities, including Vice President of Planning.  He has also worked for Congress and led a transportation and environmental consulting practice.  Mr. Nissenbaum holds a master of public policy degree from Harvard University and a bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University.

Jamie Rennert, Director of Program Delivery

Ms. Rennert currently leads FRA's investment programs to develop and sustain high performance passenger and freight rail services, overseeing execution of a $25 billion grant portfolio and providing technical assistance in support of $35 billion in loans and credit facilities.  From 2014 to 2015, Ms. Rennert served as Deputy Associate Administrator in FRA's Office of Railroad Safety, where she was responsible for daily operations and the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee. 


Prior to joining FRA, Ms. Rennert worked for 12 years at the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in several capacities, including Deputy Director for Public and Governmental Affairs, Chief of Passenger Rail Operations, and attorney in the General Counsel's Office.  Prior to her service at the STB, she was a partner in the law firm of Foley & Lardner. 

Ms. Rennert received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Michigan.

Michael Lestingi, Director of Policy and Planning

Mr. Lestingi focuses on expanding FRA's transportation planning capacity and conducting in-depth policy analysis in support of FRA's mission.  Previously, he held several leadership positions in FRA, including Division Chief for Passenger Rail Policy, Staff Director for railroad security, acting Director for Safety Assurance and Compliance, and acting Regional Administrator in Fort Worth, Texas.


Mr. Lestingi studied transportation, economics, and government as a Fulbright Fellow in Moscow, Russia, and holds degrees from Lafayette College in mechanical engineering, international studies, and Russian and Eastern European studies.

Tamela Riggs, Associate Administrator for Administration

As FRA's "Triple A," Ms. Riggs and her team of 60 professionals ensure FRA has the technology, human resources, contracts, facilities, and vehicle fleet to accomplish its mission.


In 2014, she joined FRA with more than 25 years of experience with the General Services Administration (GSA).  She served as Assistant Commissioner in the Federal Acquisition Service, where she led the agency's research, outreach, and account management programs.  She also served as the Deputy Assistant Commissioner for more than $3 billion of acquisitions in the Public Buildings Service and acting Deputy Regional Administrator of the National Capital Region.

She is an alumna of Marshall University with a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Rebecca Pennington, Chief Financial Officer

Mrs. Pennington is dedicated to strengthening financial management and oversight and improving program and financial accountability for taxpayer resources.  Serving as the chief performance manager and integrator for FRA budgetary and financial matters, she advises FRA executive leadership on fiduciary matters and articulates the agency's resource requirements to the Secretary of Transportation, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Congress.


Her 25 years of experience in Federal financial management provides FRA with the expertise necessary to ensure effective operation of the budget process and proper utilization of and accounting.  Before joining FRA 2012, Mrs. Pennington served as the Deputy Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Acquisition Officer, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  She acquired additional financial management experience at the Departments of Treasury and Navy.  As a Treasury financial management consultant, she worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the National Reconnaissance Office.

She is a graduate of Potomac State College of West Virginia University and Mary Washington College (now the University of Mary Washington).

Sarah Inderbitzin, Deputy Chief Counsel

Ms. Inderbitzin is responsible for oversight of safety law matters such as determinations of FRA jurisdiction over railroads, rulemakings, and civil penalties and general law matters such as ethics, human resources, Buy America, and grants.


Prior to joining FRA in 2014, Ms. Inderbitzin held senior positions with the Department of the Interior.  Most recently, she led the Denver, Colorado, enforcement and appeals office for the Office of Natural Resources Revenue.  In that capacity, Ms. Inderbitzin was responsible for issuing civil penalties, settling royalty disputes, and deciding administrative appeals that established policy and legal interpretations of regulations and mineral leasing law.  Previously, she was the senior attorney-advisor for Federal and Indian royalties.

Ms. Inderbitzin received her LL.M. in environmental law from the George Washington University, juris doctor with honors from Georgia State University, and Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland.

James Jordan Jr., Director of Regional Operations (Acting)

Mr. Jordan leads FRA’s regional safety operations with responsibility for about half of all FRA personnel. 


He joined FRA in 2005 as an operating practices trainee.  During the next decade, he served as an inspector, accident analyst, National Transportation Safety Board liaison, deputy regional administrator, and regional administrator.  He is the youngest person and first African-American to serve as an FRA regional administrator.

James Jordan Sr., Mr. Jordan’s father whose railroad career spans over 43 years, greatly inspires his son’s dedication to railroad transportation and railroad safety.  The younger Mr. Jordan began his railroad career in Waycross, Georgia, and worked as a brakemen, conductor, engineer, yardmaster, and trainmaster with CSX Transportation.

Mr. Jordan earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in public administration.  The Sacramento Business Journal recognized him as one of Sacramento’s top 40 under 40 and top 100 executives under 50.  He serves on the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters in California.

Updated: Monday, January 30, 2017
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