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Rick Siger Nominated To Serve as Secretary of Community and Economic Development for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

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Peter Kerwin
University Communications & Marketing

Carnegie Mellon University's Rick Siger(opens in new window) has been nominated to serve in the incoming Shapiro-Davis administration as secretary of Community and Economic Development for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Rick Siger

Siger, who is currently chief of staff and senior adviser to the president at CMU, will assume his duties on Jan. 17.

The Department of Community and Economic Development's mission is to foster job and business growth and support the vitality of Pennsylvania's communities across all 67 counties. As secretary, Siger will serve as the department's chief executive, overseeing a staff of more than 300 and a budget of over $300 million, and as senior adviser to Gov.-elect Shapiro on economic and business development, job creation and community engagement.

"Gov.-elect Shapiro has said his top priority is to grow our economy and build a better future for all Pennsylvanians," said Siger. "As secretary in the Department of Community and Economic Development, I will work tirelessly to help our small businesses grow, foster innovation and increase opportunities in forgotten communities across our commonwealth. I am honored to carry out Gov.-elect Shapiro's vision to help ensure every Pennsylvanian has access to good-paying jobs and an opportunity to thrive as we become a national leader in growth and innovation."

Siger has spent a total of seven years at Carnegie Mellon University and has acted as chief of staff in the President's Office(opens in new window) since 2020. As chief of staff, he is a key member of the Executive Management Team, and plays a critical role in strategic planning, decision-making, and execution of decisions and provided leadership for a broad set of university-wide initiatives.

"I will work tirelessly to help our small businesses grow, foster innovation and increase opportunities in forgotten communities across our commonwealth." — Rick Siger

Siger has also been serving as lead adviser on economic development and community engagement, working with regional and national partners to help ensure the university generates broad-based impact and opportunity. He was instrumental in formulating and driving the successful proposal from Carnegie Mellon University and more than 90 regional partners for the U.S. Economic Development Administration's Regional Build Back Better Challenge. The Southwestern Pennsylvania region was awarded a $62.7 million grant(opens in new window), which will help broaden the scope and impact of opportunities in the innovation ecosystem to improve quality of life across the region.

Siger brings a long history of public service leadership to his new role in Harrisburg. He served in President Barack Obama's administration for more than seven years — including as chief of staff at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and deputy chief of staff at the Department of Commerce. At OSTP, he served for three years as the principal policy and political counselor to President Obama's science adviser, managing a staff of more than 100 scientific and technical experts and working on legislative, regulatory, oversight and appropriations issues touching nearly every aspect of science and technology policy in the United States. Siger also previously served then-Gov. Tim Kaine as deputy secretary of Commerce and Trade in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

CMU enjoys a long legacy of contributions to public service. The university's faculty and staff serve as thought leaders and advisers helping to shape the national research and education agenda. They frequently testify before Congress and are also regularly tapped to serve at the highest levels of government, including the following recent appointments to senior positions in the Biden administration:

  • Nickolas Guertin, a former senior systems engineer from CMU's Software Engineering Institute, currently serving as the director of Operational Test and Evaluation for the Department of Defense and nominated by President Biden to be assistant secretary of the Navy.
  • Costa Samaras, associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, selected to serve as chief adviser for energy policy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
  • Jeanne VanBriesen, the Duquesne Light Company Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy, being appointed to lead the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems at the National Science Foundation.

"CMU's leadership is regularly called upon to serve both the public and private sectors, and Rick Siger's nomination is another testament to the expertise our staff and faculty contribute to the nation," said Carnegie Mellon President Farnam Jahanian(opens in new window). "Rick has consistently demonstrated a commitment to public service and a passion for merging innovative ideas with thoughtful public policy. I am delighted to see him take this step in his career and I am confident that Gov.-elect Shapiro and the entire commonwealth will benefit from his leadership."

Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro and Lt. Gov.-elect Austin Davis are set to be inaugurated on Jan. 17, 2023.

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