The Board is authorized to have five members, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, each with a five-year term of office. Information on previous Board Members can be found here.
Martin J. Oberman was designated Chairman of the Surface Transportation Board by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on January 21, 2021. Marty was sworn in as a member of the Board on January 22, 2019. He is serving in his first, five-year term following his confirmation by the United States Senate on January 2, 2019. His current term expires December 31, 2023.
Marty has had an extensive career in both the public and private sectors. His first public position was serving as the first General Counsel to the Illinois Racing Board from 1973 to 1974, where he worked closely with the Board’s chairman to bring long needed reforms to the Illinois horse racing industry.
From 1975-1987, Marty served on the Chicago City Council as Alderman of the City’s 43rd Ward where he earned a reputation as a reform leader, committed to promoting transparency in key governing processes while also working to reduce government corruption and profligate spending.
Following his departure from the Council, the Mayor of Chicago appointed Marty as Chairman of a special commission to fix Chicago”s eroding shoreline, which required collaboration with an extensive set of stakeholders, and resulted in the publication of formal recommendations, many of which have since been implemented.
In 2013, Marty was appointed to the board of Metra, the Chicago region’s commuter railroad, the second largest in the U.S. In 2014, he was unanimously elected Metra chairman and served until the end of 2016. While at Metra, he gained approval for the agency’s first long term fare program aimed at tackling the agency’s multi-billion dollar state-of-good-repair backlog, and led the Board’s effort to institute transparency and professional management in an effort to overcome an historic culture of politics and patronage abuses at the railroad.
Most recently, he served on the board of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) until November 2018.
Since 1975, Marty also maintained a successful practice in Chicago as both a trial and appellate lawyer.
His unique combination of litigation experience, elected public service, and exposure to the significant complexities of railroad infrastructure finance and operations will inform his work as a Member of the Surface Transportation Board.
Marty graduated from Yale University and the University of Wisconsin Law School, cum laude, and served as a Note Editor of the Wisconsin Law Review. He has been married to his wife, Bonnie, since 1971, and has two children, and three grandchildren. Marty is a native of Springfield, Illinois.
Patrick Fuchs was sworn in on January 17, 2019, as a Member of the Board for a term of office expiring on January 17, 2024, following his confirmation by the United States Senate on January 2, 2019.
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Fuchs was senior professional staff member working on surface transportation and maritime issues for the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation under the leadership of Chairman John Thune of South Dakota.
Mr. Fuchs has played an integral role in the development and enactment of major railroad legislation, including the first reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Board since its creation in 1996 and the first passenger rail reauthorization in over seven years. He also worked on legislation to improve rail project delivery, rail financing, and hazardous materials safety, all of which were enacted as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), the five-year, $305 billion surface transportation authorization.
Mr. Fuchs helped develop and enact the first reauthorization of the National Transportation Safety Board in over a decade. He also worked on legislation to increase safety by addressing opioid abuse in transportation, reforms enacted as part of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. His work also includes reauthorization of the Federal Maritime Commission as well as three reauthorizations of the Maritime Administration, enacted as part of the National Defense Authorization Acts for Fiscal Years 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Prior to serving Chairman Thune, he was a policy analyst and Presidential Management Fellow at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where he managed railroad and maritime regulatory reviews. During his time at OMB, Mr. Fuchs worked on regulations pertaining to rail safety technology, rail tank car safety, and railroad operating practices, among other issues. He has also worked for the U.S. Department of State, where he received the Meritorious Honor Award for extraordinary contributions to substantive economic analysis. His experience also includes time with the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the National Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education.
A Wisconsin native, Mr. Fuchs graduated with distinction in economics and political science and earned an M.P.A. from the University of Wisconsin, where he received the Director’s Achievement Award for his outstanding academic record.
Michelle Schultz was sworn in on January 11, 2021, as a new member of the Surface Transportation Board. Michelle was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 18, 2020. Michelle served as Vice Chairman of the Board from February 2022 to January 2023.
For the previous 14 years, Michelle served in various leadership roles with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), which serves the public transportation needs of over one million daily riders in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. She is regarded as a leading lawyer and policy professional in the public transportation space. Most recently, Michelle served as SEPTA’s Deputy General Counsel, where her responsibilities included: representing the agency before the Federal Railroad Administration and Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission; serving as lead counsel on a major railroad reconstruction project; overseeing compliance, regulatory, and legislative issues; and, serving as lead counsel on real estate transactions and contract negotiations.
During her time with SEPTA, Michelle also served as the Director of Legislative Affairs where she managed a team of public policy professionals who advocated for SEPTA on the local, state and federal level. She was also responsible for reviewing legislation and regulations at the local, state and federal level for impact to SEPTA as well as drafting provisions. Michelle served as SEPTA’s representative to the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association and the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition.
Early in her career, Michelle was an associate with White and Williams LLP where she represented businesses from diverse industries with a focus on financing matters including Chapter 7 and 11 bankruptcy, commercial litigation, and collection matters. Prior her time in private practice, she served as a judicial law clerk for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and prior to that, as a judicial law clerk for the late Vincent A. Cirillo, President Judge Emeritus of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
Schultz obtained a Master of Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania; a Juris Doctor from Widener University School of Law; and a Bachelor of Arts from the Pennsylvania State University. She is licensed to practice law in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Robert E. Primus was sworn in as a Member of the Surface Transportation Board on January 7, 2021, following his confirmation by the U.S. Senate on September 16, 2020. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a full term on December 20, 2022 and sworn in on January 12, 2023. Mr. Primus served as Vice Chairman of the Board from February 2021 to February 2022.
For the past thirty years, Robert Primus has been involved in various aspects of the United States Congress and the Federal legislative process. In 1991, he began his government service with the late Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. In 1993, he moved to the House of Representatives to join the legislative staff of former Representative Carrie Meek of Florida. Mr. Primus joined the staff of former Representative Mel Reynolds of Illinois in early 1994 and remained there as the Congressman’s principal legislative assistant until the end of that year.
In 1995, Mr. Primus transitioned from the Hill to the lobbying firm of Van Scoyoc Associates, Inc. where, for four years, he represented and advised firm clients on budgetary, appropriations, transportation, and national security matters. Mr. Primus returned to Capitol Hill in 1999 as Legislative Director to former Representative Michael Capuano of Massachusetts. In 2002, Representative Capuano promoted Mr. Primus to the position of Chief of Staff, a post he held until December of 2018, when Representative Capuano departed Congress. In addition to his Chief of Staff duties, Mr. Primus advised Rep. Capuano on national security, health care, transportation and Coast Guard-related matters.
In January of 2019, Mr. Primus joined the office of Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán of California as her Chief of Staff. In October of 2019, he departed Representative Barragán’s office and joined the office of former Presidential candidate and current Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio as his Senior Advisor. He served with Congressman Ryan until February 2020, when Mr. Primus joined the office of Congressman Tony Cárdenas, first as his Senior Advisor and then as Chief of Staff.
Mr. Primus is a native of Madison, New Jersey. He graduated with honors from Hampton University in 1991, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. Additionally, Mr. Primus received a certificate from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2007 for his participation in the school’s Executive Education Program. He is happily married and enjoys the daily challenges associated with raising three adventurous young boys.
Karen J. Hedlund was sworn in on January 3, 2022, as a Member of the Board for a term of office expiring on December 31, 2025, following her confirmation by the United States Senate on December 16, 2021. Karen was named Vice Chairman of the Board on January 9, 2023.
Karen served in the Obama Administration as Chief Counsel of the Federal Highway Administration from 2009 to 2010, and as Chief Counsel and Deputy Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration from 2010 to 2014. Since stepping down from that position, Karen has advised governmental authorities and private investors on the development of passenger rail and transportation-oriented development projects.
Prior to joining the FRA, Karen had a long career as a legal advisor to governmental agencies and private lenders and investors on the development of a broad range infrastructure projects across the United States, including rail, transit, highways, airports, water and energy facilities. She practiced with leading national law firms in Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, DC. Karen is a graduate of Harvard University (AB) and Georgetown University Law Center (JD). Karen has two children and two grandchildren in Brooklyn, New York, who love to ski and hike with her near her home in Colorado.