Robert Johnson has served as DOTs Chief of Staff since November 2006. Prior to this position, he was the Assistant to the Secretary and Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Transportation. He began his service in September 2003 with the prime task of developing a cohesive national message for the department and its ten subordinate agencies.
Working with a team of more than 100 communicators, Mr. Johnson developed and implemented the departments first-ever comprehensive media message and strategy to position transportation as vital to the health of the American economy.
Prior to his arrival at the Department, Mr. Johnson was the Director of Communications and Public Information for the Transportation Security Administration, where he was on the media front lines in the nations war against terrorism, responsible for communicating the latest developments in transportation security to a global media audience.
Mr. Johnson has more than 24 years of experience in politics, journalism and public affairs. He got his start working as press secretary to Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe and campaign spokesman to Arizona Senator Jon Kyl. He created a pro-active communications strategy for embattled Arizona Governor Fife Symington, and directed transition media coverage for Arizona Governor Jane Hull. Mr. Johnson also re-tooled the image of the Arizona Department of Transportation while serving as its Director of Communications at a time when a critical 20-year urban freeway plan was being rewritten.
During his time in the private sector, he developed successful media relations campaigns showing kids the horrors of tobacco use, coaxing people to car pool and ride the bus, urging poor parents to get health care for their kids, asking neighborhoods to recycle, convincing voters to fund art museums and football stadiums, and building public support for a new campaign finance law.
In addition to his experience making headlines, Mr. Johnson also has logged time reporting the news. His journalism career includes work as a reporter, editor and producer in radio, television and wire service newsrooms in Denver, Phoenix, and Tucson.