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Meet the Commissioners

Helen A. BrohlHelen A. Brohl

Helen A. Brohl was appointed as the first Executive Director of the US Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS) in July 2006 by then-USDOT Secretary Norman Mineta. Maritime transportation oversight and interest within the US Federal government is spread throughout many authorities, departments and budget line items. Ms. Brohl manages the CMTS partnership, created under Presidential Directive and authorized in 2012, that joins over 25 Federal agencies to address our Nation's waterways, ports and intermodal connections. Working with senior political, military and civilian leaders in the Federal government, Ms. Brohl directed the development and Cabinet-level approval of the first-ever National Strategy for the Marine Transportation System to improve the MTS for capacity, safety and security, environmental stewardship; resiliency and financing.

During her tenure, the CMTS has engaged in a number of dynamic issues including Federal infrastructure financing and investment; system performance measures; navigation technology integration and coordination; and integration of marine transportation issues into the President's Arctic and Ocean Policies, National Export and Build America initiatives. Ms. Brohl led development of the CMTS Strategic Action Plan for Research and Development in the MTS; the CMTS response to the National Ocean Policy; the CMTS National Strategy for E-Navigation; the CMTS US Arctic MTS Priorities Report; Federal MTS Funding Handbook; compendium of Federal maritime energy programs; and the recent Ten-Year Projection of Maritime Activity in the US Arctic report to the White House.

From March to September 2012, Ms. Brohl was detailed by USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood to the US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in Kings Point, NY, to facilitate the development of the USMMA Strategic Plan 2012-2017, which was issued August 1, 2012.

For the previous ten years, Ms. Brohl was the Executive Director of the U.S. Great Lakes Shipping Association where she worked with NOAA and Congress to build the Great Lakes Water Level Observation Network, a lakes-wide system of real-time water and atmospheric observations provided directly to the mariner. She also previously served for six years as the President of the National Association of Maritime Organizations, directing the collaboration with US Customs and Border Protection (and legacy INS) and US Coast Guard to develop the maritime operational regulations under the Marine Transportation Security Action of 2002 and related post-9/11 legislation. The outcome was the development of a joint "notice of arrivals" system between the two Federal agencies which significantly eased the burden of increased reporting requirements in a post 9/11 environment.

Additionally, Helen served four years as the national coordinator for the Marine Navigation Safety Coalition which encompassed over 60 maritime related companies. The Coalition successfully improved the 300 year backlog of charts and surveys for our navigable waterways which resulted in a multi-million dollar increase in funding to the National Ocean Service and reduction in backlog by 100 years. Ms. Brohl served as the Director of Marketing and Government Affairs for the Illinois International Port of Chicago where she developed a competitive new barge terminal to successfully address that growth niche market. She also served as a key team member of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, USDOT in the implementation of first-ever trade development missions to Europe, Scandinavia and North Africa. In 1983, Ms. Brohl was awarded a John Knauss Sea Grant Fellowship where she served
with Congress as professional staff with the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee.

Ms. Brohl was recently re-appointed by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works as a Commissioner of the US Section of the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure.

Before joining the Federal government, Ms. Brohl served with two Federal Advisory Committees: the Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee as appointed by the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and as Deputy Chair of the Hydrographic Services Review Panel as appointed by the Administrator of NOAA. Other associations have included the Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species; the Great Lakes Waterways Management Forum, and the Great Lakes Observation System board. Ms. Brohl has a coastal geology degree from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida and her Masters in Science from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio in Great Lakes Land and Water Use Policy. She is currently an alumni mentor with the John Glenn School of Public Affairs and sits on the board of the Women's Aquatic Network which she co-founded in Washington, DC 30 years ago. Helen is a Tier Two Member of the Senior Executive Service.


revised 23 April 2015

Meet the Commissioners