Administrator of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration: Who Is Gregory Winfree?
President Obama has nominated Gregory D. Winfree, who is deputy administrator of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) in the Department of Transportation, to take the agency’s top job. He has served at RITA, which manages the department’s research and development programs with the goal of creating technologies to improve transportation, since March 2010.
Born in New York circa 1964, Winfree earned a B.S. in Communications and Public Relations at St. John’s University in 1986 and a J.D. from Georgetown University in 1989, where he served as a lead articles editor for The Tax Lawyer, the A.B.A. journal of taxation.
After a stint as a litigation associate at Venable, Baetjer, Howard & Civiletti in Washington, D.C., from 1989 to 1991, about which he later wrote a chapter in the book My First Year as a Lawyer: Real-World Stories from America’s Lawyers, Winfree served as a trial attorney in the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division from 1991 to 1993.
Embarking on an in-house career, Winfree was senior litigation counsel at Union Carbide from 1993 to 2000, and director of litigation at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which is now part of Pfizer, from 2000 to 2004.
From 2004 to 2010, Winfree was chief litigation counsel for Freeport-McMoRan Corporation, which through its subsidiary, Phelps Dodge, is one of the world’s largest producers of copper, gold and other industrial and precious metals. During these years, Winfree resided in Phoenix, Arizona, where he also founded the Eight Iron Golf Apparel Company to market his two patents, registered in 1995, for a “sport shirt or other garment provided with a load-distributing shoulder yoke for relieving the strain resulting from carrying a golf bag.”
Winfree was also the co-founder of Charting Your Own Course (CYOC), a professional networking organization for minority in-house attorneys.
Winfree left the private sector for public service again in 2010, serving as chief counsel at RITA from March 2010 to August 2011, as deputy administrator since June 2011, and as acting administrator from September 2011 to January 2012.
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