NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


April 24, 2002

WASHINGTON, DC - National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Marion C. Blakey today announced the following appointments to top agency posts.

Robert Sturgell is named Senior Policy Advisor to the Chairman. Sturgell will serve as the Chairman's primary advisor and coordinator on the NTSB's recommendations, policy programs and other initiatives. Sturgell joins the NTSB from United Airlines, having served as flight operations supervisor and line pilot. Prior to United, Sturgell was an attorney practicing aviation law at the Washington, DC law firm Shaw Pittman. Sturgell, a Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserves is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and University of Virginia School of Law.

David Balloff is named Director, Government and Industry Relations. Balloff will act as the NTSB's chief liaison to Congress as well as overseeing relationships with industry to promote and enact the Safety Board's recommendations and policies. Before coming to the agency, Balloff was the longstanding transportation policy advisor and press secretary to Congressman and House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman John J. Duncan, Jr, having worked on the AIR-21 legislation and the Aviation Security Bill. Balloff was also a three-time elected member to the Tennessee State Republican Executive Committee. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma.

Brenda Lee Yager is named Director, Family Affairs. Yager will lead the NTSB's outreach and government response to the needs of families immediately affected by transportation accidents as well as keeping families informed throughout the accident investigative process. Prior to her appointment, Yager served the state of Illinois as Deputy Director and legislative counsel at the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. She also previously served the Federal Aviation Administration as its Assistant Administrator for Government and Industry Affairs. Yager is a graduate of Augustana College, Brown University and DePaul University School of Law.

Greg Martin is named Director, Communications. Martin will head up strategic communications planning, speechwriting and advocacy efforts at the NTSB. Martin previously served as spokesperson for General Motors Corporation at its government relations office in Washington, DC. Before returning to Washington, he oversaw communications activities for Saturn Corporation in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Martin's previous federal government service includes an assignment in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. Martin is a graduate of Mount Saint Mary's College, Emittsburg, Maryland.

David Mandell is named Special Counsel to the Chairman. Mandell was an associate at the Philadelphia headquarters of the law firm Blank Rome Comisky and McCauley. Specializing in civil, commercial, securities and environmental litigation, Mandell also served on the Novemeber 2000 Bush-Cheney Florida Recount and represented the campaign in Lee and Manatee counties. Mandell is a graduate of Washington University and Temple University School of Law.

The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent Federal agency that investigates every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in the other modes of transportation, conducts special investigations and safety studies, and issues safety recommendations to prevent future accidents. Safety Board investigators are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.