Carnegie Mellon University

Rick Stafford

Distinguished Service Professor, Heinz College

Rick Stafford has been a Heinz College Distinguished Service Professor of Public Policy since 2006.

He directed the launch of Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 and Metro21 initiatives, the university's foray into the smart cities arena.

Prior to his Heinz appointment, Stafford served as Chief Executive Officer for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. The Conference worked to undertake several major regional initiatives in the Pittsburgh region in public governance, regional economic development, education and workforce development, and civic reorganization. Prior to the Conference, much of his career had been dedicated to public service. He served as Secretary of Legislative Affairs in the cabinet of Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh during the governor’s first term, and as chief of staff for the last 16 months of his second term. Stafford was Director of Research and Issues for the Thornburgh for Governor Committee and served as the Director of Transition between the administrations of Governor Milton Shapp and Governor Thornburgh. Previous to that position, he served as Special Assistant to the Executive Director of the Port Authority of Allegheny County.

Building on his professional governmental and civic experience, Stafford’s research and teaching are focused on the intersection of elective politics and policy making, particularly at the state and local government level. He develops case studies to illustrate principles of what he defines as “engineering public policy change.” Building on his experience in launching Traffic21 and Metro21, his current teaching is focused on the societal consequences of technological change and the public policy responses to those consequences.

Stafford has done extensive consulting in the private sector and public policy arena, as well as served on various governmental and community organizations. He currently serves on the Advisory Committee to The Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy at the University of Pittsburgh and the Natural Gas Advisory Committee of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. As a partner in a family farm in southwestern Pennsylvania, Stafford is involved with several organizations related to food, environment, and agriculture.

Stafford is a recipient of Carnegie Mellon University’s Alumni Merit Award and the Heinz College’s Public Service Award, an inductee into the Hall of Fame of Junior Achievement of Southwest Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics Coleman Award for Civic Leadership.

“Technology can solve community problems. The challenge is deploying them so that they ‘do no harm.’” — Rick Stafford, Distinguished Service Professor, Heinz College