Brigham A. McCown (born July 3, 1966 in Ironton, Ohio) is a former senior executive at the United States Department of Transportation, and current entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is currently the CEO of a Washington, D.C., consulting firm and chairman of a nonprofit focused on innovative solutions for issues with the nation's infrastructure.
An 8th generation American of Scottish and Irish descent, McCown's ancestors first immigrated to Augusta county Virginia in 1740. McCown grew up in rural southern Ohio and graduated from Ironton High school in 1984. Thereafter he attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, a prestigious "public ivy" long known for producing some of the country's elite including current Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. He graduated from Miami in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in diplomacy and foreign affairs.
In 1997 he obtained a juris doctor law degree from Northern Kentucky University. In 2015 he earned a graduate certificate from Stanford University in Energy Innovation and Emerging Technologies.
Most recently McCown served as an advisor to the 2016 presidential transition as a core member of the president-elect's infrastructure policy and agency action teams. He then served as an interim key advisor to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao (R-KY) during her initial days in office.
Until 2007 McCown served in several leadership roles during both terms of George W. Bush's presidency in Washington D.C. Appointed initially to the U.S. Senior Executive Service by Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, (D-CA) he was later reappointed by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, (R-AZ). McCown initially worked as the first chief counsel (general counsel) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), where he was responsible for legal oversight of the nation's trucking, motor coach, moving industry and NAFTA. During this time, He advocated for stronger truck and bus safety regulations, including better oversight of the commercial bus industry and the requirement for all buses to be equipped with seat belts.
Mineta then appointed McCown to become the first acting administrator / CEO and first deputy administrator / COO of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). During his tenure he was responsible for oversight of over one million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air including the nation's 2.6 million miles of pipelines. McCown was instrumental in restoring national critical infrastructure following hurricane Katrina and Rita and received the department's highest award (Gold Medal) for his actions. He also oversaw the government's initial response to the largest oil spill on Alaska's North Slope and implemented the one call damage prevention program "811". While serving as the country's chief energy transportation regulator, McCown was first to raise concerns over the country's aging pipeline infrastructure network but was also avid in his support of pipelines over other transport methods.
From 1988 to 1998 McCown served on active duty as a U.S. naval officer and as a naval aviator and participated in worldwide deployments including Operation Desert Storm and Operation Uphold Democracy. From 1998 until his retirement in 2013, McCown served as a member of the ready reserve force with assignments in Europe, Africa, and Asia including Operation Unified Assistance.
Since retiring from federal service, McCown has continuously served as the Chairman and CEO of Nouveau, Inc. a Washington, D.C. based consulting and advisory firm. He is also the co-managing shareholder of Kilgore | McCown, PLLC, a business law firm located in Dallas, Texas. He is also the Chairman and Founder of the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure, a national non-profit organization focused on developing solutions to the nation's most pressing infrastructure issues.
McCown serves on the Salmon P. Chase College of Law's Board of Visitors, and is Co-Chair of the American Bar Association's Transportation Committee of the Administrative and Regulatory Law Section Additionally he is a Program Council Member for the Warsaw Security Forum in Warsaw, Poland. He previously served on the Southlake, Texas Planning & Zoning Commission.