Director of Strategic Initiatives for Research and Innovation
Ellen Bell serves as the director of Strategic Initiatives for Research and Innovation at U.S. DOT’s Volpe Center, part of the Office of the Secretary of Transportation. In this leadership position, she brings together leaders and decision makers from across the transportation enterprise to anticipate future transportation issues, generate fresh approaches to emerging issues, and build and reinforce key stakeholder and sponsor relations.
Bell serves as a senior advisor to the Volpe Center director and both deputy directors on Center-wide initiatives, outreach, programs, planning, and policy issues.
Her extensive experience ranges from planning and implementation of high-impact Departmental strategic initiatives to serving as chief of staff, director of strategic outreach and government relations, and facilitator and enabler of all levels of management change and organizational transformation. She has led development of several highly visible U.S. DOT and cross-agency planning and strategy initiatives and publications.
Prior to joining the Volpe Center, Bell served at U.S. DOT headquarters in Washington, D.C., within the Office of the Secretary of Transportation and at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Bell’s contributions to U.S. DOT have been recognized by three secretaries of transportation and include the Secretary’s Silver Medal for her leadership and technical contributions toward advancing the strategic goals of the Department, the Secretary’s Partnering for Excellence team award, and the Secretary’s Gold Medal for her contributions to the Region 1 DOT Team. In 2016, she received the Volpe Center’s Richard R. John Award for thought leadership and innovation.
Bell holds a BA in political science from Stonehill College and a Master of Liberal Arts from the Harvard University Extension School, with a concentration in government. She completed the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Education Senior Executive Fellows Program.