Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Mary E. Peters (2006–2009): Secretary of Transportation

Mary E. Peters was born on December 4, 1948, in Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of Phoenix and attended Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government Program for State and Local Government Executives.

In 1985, Peters joined the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). She worked her way up through the department, and in 1998, Governor Jane Hull promoted her to director of the agency.

In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Peters head of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). During her four years there, she emphasized innovative public-private partnerships that would help build roads faster and for less money, and advocated the use of technology to reduce construction time and build safer, longer-lasting highways.

In 2005, Peters joined HDR, Inc., a transportation engineering firm, where she served as the national director for transportation policy. As director, she was responsible for creating a management consulting practice and developing public policy initiatives for the firm's transportation program.

In September 2006, President George W. Bush nominated Peters to become secretary of the Department of Transportation. She assumed office that same month.