Secretary of Transportation
Sean T. Connaughton
Sean T. Connaughton is Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia serving in the cabinet of Governor Bob McDonnell. As Secretary, he oversees seven state agencies with more than 9,700 employees and combined annual budgets of $5 billion.
Connaughton was named U.S. Maritime Administrator by President George W. Bush in 2006. As Maritime Administrator, he was head of the Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, and responsible for the daily management of that agency and its promotional programs for the marine transportation industry. This included advising and assisting the Secretary of Transportation on commercial maritime matters, operation of over 50 ships in the Ready Reserve Force, supervision of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, oversight of the six State Maritime Academies, and administration of various shipyard and cargo programs. Connaughton was appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
Prior to joining the McDonnell administration, he served as Corporate Vice President, Government Affairs for the American Bureau of Shipping, one of the world's leading ship and marine classification societies.
Connaughton is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and served the U.S. Coast Guard as both a commissioned officer and as a civil servant in the Office of Marine Safety, Security, and Environmental Protection. After gaining a Master's degree from Georgetown University, he joined the American Petroleum Institute, representing companies involved in the energy and marine transportation industries, during which time he also earned a law degree from George Mason University.
As a lawyer in private practice he specialized in maritime and international law. He has appeared before the United States Supreme Court and is a member of the Virginia Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar Association. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1986 until retiring in 2006. He is a graduate (with honors) of the U.S. Naval War College.
Connaughton was elected Chairman At-large of the Prince William County (Va) Board of Supervisors in 1999 and overwhelmingly reelected in 2003. Under his chairmanship, the Prince William County Department of Transportation was created to manage, develop and update the county's transportation system. Connaughton served on numerous regional boards and commissions, including the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. In 2004, he was recognized by the National Association of Counties with its Distinguished Service Award for his efforts on workforce development.
He was selected to receive the 2009 Vincent T. Hirsh Maritime Award for Outstanding Leadership by the Navy League of the United State, named the "2007 Maritime Person of the Year" by the Propeller Club of the United States and was awarded the "2007 Government Man of the Year" by the Maritime Port Council of Greater New York and Vicinity. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in Public Administration from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. The Journal of Commerce named him to its 2008 "JOC Leadership Roll" and in 2009 he was presented with the "Maritime Samaritan Award" from the Apostleship of the Sea of the United States. George Mason University named him their Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in 2012.
Connaughton serves as chairman of both the Standing Committee on Water Transportation and the Special Committee on Intermodal Transportation and Economic Expansion for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). He currently is a Trustee of the Joe Gibbs Youth for Tomorrow home, a residential program for at-risk adolescents of the Greater Washington area and serves on the Board of Directors of the Hylton Performing Arts Center. He and his wife, Teresa, have two children - - Courtney and Sean Jr.