Skip Elliott has over 40 years of experience leading high-profile and high-risk business operations in private industry and the federal government.
Skip recently transitioned from public service where he served as both the Senate confirmed Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), and as the Acting Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). While at PHMSA, Skip was responsible for overseeing the safety of the Nation’s 2.8 million miles of liquid and gas pipelines and the 1.2 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by air, water, highway, and rail across the United States. His direct financial responsibilities at USDOT included managing annual budgets of multiple agencies exceeding $350 million. As Acting Inspector General, he led the organization responsible for protecting the integrity and efficiency of USDOT by conducting independent audits and investigations at the Nation’s top transportation agency with 55,000 employees and an annual budget of $89 billion.
Prior to being called to public service, Skip had a distinguished 40-year career at one of the nation’s largest freight railroads, CSX Transportation (NASDAQ: CSX), where he served as vice president of public safety, health, and environment for the last 13 years of his career. In that role, he oversaw an extensive portfolio that included hazardous materials transportation safety, environmental compliance, crisis management, corporate security, infrastructure protection, and occupational health management.
Skip’s in-depth business acumen has been established over the course of a distinctive and successful career where he worked at every level — from the rail yard to the board room — gaining broad knowledge and insight across all facets of complex business organizations and across all transportation modes. He has developed and championed innovation that has been adopted industry-wide, including a severity index for rail hazmat incidents and technology that provides emergency management officials and first responders with the capability to monitor real-time freight train location and rail car contents. Skip has built lasting and valuable partnerships, working productively with a wide spectrum of public, industry and government stakeholders including law enforcement agencies, emergency first responders, and adversely affected communities.
He has attained board governance experience in both the corporate and non-profit arenas. While at CSX he provided regular briefings to the CSX Board of Directors and served on the board and as board manager of CSX IP, a subsidiary specializing in high-security intellectual property storage. He is a current board member and a former board chair for National Safe Place, a national outreach and prevention program for at-risk youth. While at USDOT, Skip served as a member of the Transportation Research Board executive committee, a component of the National Academies of Science.
Skip is well known for his composure, resiliency, and steadying influence during times of crisis. His skill under pressure, ability to mitigate major disruptions and insight into how to successfully manage their outcomes, has made him a trusted authority on safety, security, and crisis management issues. He has had direct responsibility for formulating and leading the response to many man-made and natural disasters, including hazardous materials derailments with serious community and environmental impacts and major hurricanes.
He is a long-standing member of the Executive Dean’s Advisory Board at Indiana University’s (IU) College of Arts and Sciences. In recognition of his active engagement at IU, Skip received the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award, the University Bicentennial Medal, and the Department of Criminal Justice Distinguished Alumni Award. Skip received his master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Columbia Southern University and his bachelor’s degree in English and forensic studies from IU.