Visiting Voices

A Conversation with Joel Szabat, Interim Executive Director, Maritime Administration

Joel Szabat, Interim Executive Director, Maritime Administration


Joel Szabat
Interim Executive Director, Maritime Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation


September 11, 2012


11:30 a.m. Registration
12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. Program


RAND Corporation
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Santa Monica, CA

Complimentary parking is available in RAND's underground garage.

Learn More:

View Joel Szabat's Dept. of Transportation presentation (PDF)

About the Program

The $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal, as well as the passage of the U.S.–Panama Free Trade Agreement, will have a significant impact on Southern California. The expansion will affect the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and some estimates show that they could lose up to a quarter of their cargo business after the expansion is completed in 2014. Join us to learn about the status of a new U.S. Department of Transportation study that assesses the true impact of the Panama Canal expansion on the United States, and learn what the Maritime Administration is doing to ensure U.S. competitiveness in global trade.

About the Speaker

As interim executive director, Joel Szabat acts as chief operating officer of the Maritime Administration, improving and strengthening the U.S. marine transportation system to meet the economic, environmental, and security needs of the United States.

Prior to his current appointment, Szabat was deputy assistant secretary for transportation policy in the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). In 2009 he oversaw DOT's implementation of $48 billion in Recovery Act programs, including Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants. He rejoined DOT in January 2008 after eighteen months as chief of staff of the Small Business Administration, where he spearheaded the creation of the Patriot Express loan program to help veterans and their families. He also helped reform the organization's disaster assistance, small business lending, and contract assistance programs.

Szabat previously directed the U.S. government's $500 million transportation reconstruction program in Iraq and served as the Transportation Counselor to the U.S. Ambassador in Baghdad. He also served as the principal consultant for transportation for the California State Assembly Republican Caucus, and as a management and budget aide to the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Visiting Voices at RAND

Leading policymakers and thinkers from around the world regularly visit RAND to meet with our researchers and exchange perspectives on pressing policy concerns. RAND Policy Circle members are invited to join the discussion as part of the Visiting Voices seminar series.

About RAND

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND focuses on the issues that matter most such as health, education, national security, international affairs, law and business, the environment, and more. With a research staff consisting of some of the world's preeminent minds, RAND has been expanding the boundaries of human knowledge for more than 60 years. Visit us online at

Further Inquiries

Contact Nora Kerrigan at or (310) 393-0411, x7560.