Home    |    Practice   |     Our Team    |   News   |    Contact Us


Robert J. Chipkevich

Bob Chipkevich served as the National Transportation Safety Board’s Director of Railroad, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Investigations in Washington, D.C. for 9 years until he retired in 2010. He worked for NTSB for more than 25 years and has more than 35 years of work experience in transportation safety. He headed the NTSB railroad accident investigation program since 2000, the pipeline accident investigation program since 1995, and the hazardous materials program since 1990. 

Mr. Chipkevich testified before Congress more than a dozen times on accident investigations and transportation safety issues. As a result of his work with Congress, many safety improvements have been written into legislation and enacted into law.  He served on the Board of Inquiry for NTSB accident investigations across all modes, accepting testimony from witnesses and determining factual information necessary to determine the cause of accidents and documentation needed to address safety issues. He also worked with leaders in Canada, Europe and Asia to address transportation safety issues.

Mr. Chipkevich has considerable knowledge and experience in railroad safety, including freight and passenger trains operations; rail transit systems; highway safety; pipeline safety; and hazardous materials transportation safety. As the director for accident investigations, Mr. Chipkevich assessed hundreds of railroad, pipeline and hazardous materials accidents each year and launched investigation teams to the most serious accidents. He served as the on-scene investigator-in-charge of railroad, pipeline, highway, and hazardous materials accidents, and served as a technical specialist on aviation and marine accident investigations. 

Before joining NTSB, Mr. Chipkevich worked for the Federal Highway Administration in Boise, Idaho. He conducted safety audits of motor carriers and hazardous materials shippers in the northwestern United States and Alaska; reconstructed highway accidents involving commercial motor vehicles; implemented a program to sample and analyze waste streams at hazardous waste sites; and helped to establish a state motor carrier safety enforcement program in Idaho.

Mr. Chipkevich began his career in transportation safety at the Tennessee Public Service Commission in Nashville as Assistant Director of the Motor Carrier Division. He oversaw the State of Tennessee’s commercial motor carrier safety and hazardous materials enforcement programs.

Mr. Chipkevich is a graduate of the University of Tennessee. He has served on numerous transportation safety committees and panels including the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board, the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee, the National Association of State Fire Marshals Pipeline Safety Committee, the Flight Safety Foundation, the American Lifelines Alliance, the Dangerous Goods Panel of Experts – VOLPE, and the Association of American Railroads’ Tank Car Committee.


Claude Harris

Claude Harris was a Senior Executive for the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (NHTSA) since 2001. He recently served as Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance (OVSC) responsible for assuring all passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. meet all applicable federal auto safety and fuel economy standards. Each year OVSC tested over 100 vehicles and 2000 auto equipment items to assure compliance, and when violations were noted initiated action requiring vehicle manufacturers to recall and correct safety problems. It collected on an average $25 million/yr. in civil penalties from vehicle manufacturers not meeting fuel economy standards.

In 2009, he provided management oversight of the NHTSA Clash for Clunkers program providing rebates for 700,000 vehicles; In 2011 served as the NHTSA Acting Associate Administrator for Enforcement responsible for managing all auto safety recalls conducted in the U.S.; in 2014 he served as the NHTSA Acting Associate Administrator for Rulemaking managing the completion and publication of all NHTSA federal auto safety regulations. He developed expertise in vehicle crash testing, fuel economy standards, auto safety standards, emerging vehicle technology, and retired from NHTSA in June 2014.

Before joining NHTSA, Claude served as investigator-in-charge and eventually becoming Director for the Office of Highway Safety at the National Transportation Safety Board. He investigated numerous highway, railroad, and bridge collapse accidents to determine probable cause and make safety improvement recommendations. He personally drafted numerous final investigation reports that were adopted by the Safety Board, and became a national expert in highway safety issues.

Before joining the Safety Board he served as a design engineer for the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, where he designed rear suspensions for luxury car lines, oversaw product testing and certification, and addressed production problems during new vehicle assembly. Claude obtained a BSME at Howard University, an MBA from Cornell University, graduated from the Executive Development program at George Washington University, and is currently a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers.


Ian Naish

Ian is a transportation consultant, with a focus primarily on rail safety. He has 28 years’ experience in the transportation safety area. Between 1998 and 2009 he was Director of Rail and Pipeline Investigations at the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. During that time he was directly accountable for 180 Board investigations.

Ian’s most significant recent work has been the provision of consulting services to the Saudi Railways Commission. The major tasks consisted of leading independent investigations into two major accidents. The outcome resulted in 11 wide-ranging recommendations to enhance rail safety in the Kingdom. Other related work for the SRC involved safety management, safety certification, on-site auditing of two main line railway companies, planning a national accident investigation function.

Other recent consulting work has been for clients in Canada, Ireland, South Africa and the USA has related to accident investigation, safety regulation, risk management and safety management systems.

Ian graduated from the University of London in 1969 in London, UK, with an honors bachelors degree in civil engineering and in 1971 he received a postgraduate degree in transportation engineering at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, NB. In 1982 he received his Masters in Business Administration from the Ivey Business School at Western University in London Ontario. He is a registered professional engineer and is based in Ottawa, Canada and a European Rail Agency Independent Designated Expert.


Ed Belkin

Edward (Ed) Belkin is a leading crisis communications and public affairs expert with extensive experience providing strategic counsel to Fortune 500 CEOs and high-level government officials. He also coaches senior-level executives and government officials for effective news media interviews, Congressional testimony, and public speaking engagements. His management experience includes serving at the broadcast network news and local station levels, in government, at global public relations agencies, and at major trade associations.

As a Senior Vice President at strategic communications firms including Hill & Knowlton, Mr. Belkin worked with EgyptAir following the Flight 990 crash, Boeing during the McDonnell Douglas M&A, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines throughout a “poison pill” dispute, the Government of Ontario, Canada during the SARS outbreak, and the International Olympic Committee in the aftermath of the Salt Lake City scandal.

As Vice President of Communications & Public Affairs at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Mr. Belkin helped advance the industry’s advocacy efforts and strengthened strategic relationships with key stakeholders.

Mr. Belkin previously served as Senior Director of Communications for U.S. Senator David Durenberger of Minnesota, providing counsel on high-profile public policy issues.

As Managing Editor at the NBC Radio Network in New York and Washington, D.C., Mr. Belkin directed national and international news operations. He was architect of the network’s Custom Affiliate News Service that provided affiliates with tailored coverage of major breaking news events. Mr. Belkin planned the network’s around-the-clock live coverage of the first Persian Gulf War. He also produced live coverage of space shuttle launches at Cape Canaveral. Mr. Belkin previously served as Executive Editor and News Director at KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia and produced the station’s award-winning coverage of the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island and the outbreak of Legionnaires Disease.

Mr. Belkin earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Syracuse University, dual majoring in broadcast journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and in political science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the College of Arts and Sciences.


James E. Henderson

James Henderson currently runs his own business conducting hazardous materials accident investigations and training.  Henderson has more than 32 years of regulatory and investigative experience in hazardous materials transportation safety working both with the Department of Transportation and the NTSB.  His expertise in hazardous materials transportation safety is recognized within the government and industry. 

He began his career in running the DOT truck and bus enforcement program in Minneapolis and the southern half of Minnesota where he began specializing in the design and construction of highway cargo tanks.  In 1978, he was offered a position in the formation of a new hazardous materials packaging enforcement team in what is now PHMSA.  Over the next twelve years, he developed their cylinder enforcement program and inspected every cylinder manufacturing facility in the United States and several facilities in Canada and Puerto Rico.  This program brought him the Administrator’s Superior Achievement Award and was used as a model for other specialized container enforcement programs.  Before leaving PHMSA, he ran the branch that oversees all hazardous materials packaging and had been on inspections of every type of packaging manufacturing, retesting, reconditioning and repairing.

For the National Transportation Safety Board, Henderson became the Senior Hazardous Materials Accident Investigator.  While in this role, he conducted more than 50 major hazardous materials accident investigations and many smaller ones serving as the Investigator-in-Charge and Group Chairman.   These investigations covered all modes of transportation from the Graniteville, South Carolina, train wreck that released poisonous chlorine gas killing 9 individuals in a nearby plant and on the train crew to the ValuJet Flight 592 crash in the Everglades, Florida, that involved a fire started by chemical oxygen generators.  As part of the NTSB’s Valujet team, he received the 1997 Laurel Award from Aviation Week and Space Technology.  During this time, he expanded his proficiency into rail tank cars, marine cargo ships and aircraft cargo compartments.  In 2005, the NSTB honored him with the Dr. John K. Lauber Award for his expertise in hazardous materials transportation as it contributed to the mission of the Safety Board.

Over the years, Henderson also the representatived the NTSB at the National Tank Truck Carriers conference, the IATA conference on hazardous materials and several Association of American Railroad’s hazardous materials and tank car seminars.  In addition, he was the NTSB’s representative during the rewrite of the ANSI Safety Requirements for the Storage and Handling of Anhydrous Ammonia (ANSI K61.1)


Earl H. McKinney

Earl H. McKinney Jr. joined Hall & Associates LLC as a consultant. Originally from Bowling Green, Ohio, McKinney specializes in aviation and human factors safety.

McKinney has published a number of articles on aviation and human factors safety. His research examined flying experience in the following criteria: crisis decision-making, the impact of the familiarity of pilots on crew performance, the role of communication on early flight deck team development, and organizational learning in response to aircraft accidents. He has received grants from the Air Force Mobility Command and Air Force Research Lab to study crew behavior and help design an IT system to support the collaborative needs of decision-makers in crisis.

His consulting work is varied. From the Crew Resource Management training to ground controllers for a major U.S. airline, McKinney has worked with some of the best and brightest in the field. Additionally, he helped write the Air Force’s New World Vistas report that identified new technologies for military use. Recently, he served on a blue-ribbon panel for the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture that reported on the safety and effectiveness of aerial wildland firefighting.

Before joining Hall & Associates, he was an associate professor in the business school of Bowling Green State University. Prior to assuming that position, he served in the United States Air Force. His military career includes 2,500 hours of flying time as a pilot and instructor pilot in T-37, T-38, F-4, and TG-7 aircraft.

Trained at the Air Force Safety School, McKinney served as a Wing Flying Safety Officer, investigating and reporting on aircraft accidents and incidents and leading the safety program for more than 100 fighter pilots. He holds an undergraduate degree from the Air Force Academy, a master of industrial engineering degree from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas. He served on the faculty of the Air Force Academy for nine years.


Robert Pearce

Robert Pearce serves as a consultant for Hall & Associates LLC.  Prior to this he served as a U.S. Army combat pilot, a flight instructor, and research pilot, as well as Senior Air Safety Investigator and later Regional Director for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). 

He began his career in 1967 as a combat pilot for the 101 st Airborne Division where he logged more than 1,000 combat flying hours.  After serving for five years, he moved on to the New Jersey Army National Guard, where he served from 1972 until 1994.  While with the Army National Guard, he commanded the 50 th Combat Aviation Brigade and the 150 th Combat Aviation Battalion.  During his time, Pearce also served as a civilian research pilot for aircraft and weapons systems where he compiled data and wrote specifications for airworthiness releases for test aircraft.  He retired from the Army National Guard in 1994 at the rank of Colonel and Master Army Aviator.

In 1992, Pearce joined the NTSB as an Air Safety Investigator.  While in this role, he conducted more than 260 aviation accident investigations serving as the Investigator-in-Charge and Group Chairman.  These investigations covered a wide spectrum including general aviation, corporate, government, and air carriers.  By 1997 he was serving as Senior Air Safety Investigator and in 1998 was promoted to Regional Director of the NTSB for the Northeast United States.  During his tenure as Regional Director, he was Chief Investigator and report writer for the Piper PA-32 crash off the coast of Martha's Vineyard that resulted in the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. and his family.  While in this charge, he also briefed State Department officials and the Egyptian Ambassador in the wake of the EgyptAir Flight 990 crash as well as supported the FBI on scene at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001.

Pearce has attended Fairleigh Dickinson University, Rutgers University and the University of Southern California, where he specialized in accident investigation.


Charles M. Pereira

Charles M. Pereira joined Hall & Associates LLC, as a consultant in 2006.  Pereira specializes in aviation, aerospace, rail, and marine accident and incident investigation.

From 1986 to1988, while attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University , Pereira worked for Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation as Engineering Intern in its Flight Test Division and Stability and Control Division.

From 1990 to 2005, Pereira worked for the NTSB as Senior Aerospace Engineer in the Engineering Services, Vehicle Recorder, and Vehicle Performance divisions.  He went on to serve as NTSB Group Chairman on more than 100 high-profile aviation, aerospace, rail, and marine accident investigations including Sen. John Heinz's fatal airplane crash in Merion, Pa.; the TWA Flight 800 explosion off Long Island, N.Y.; and Sen. Paul Wellstone's fatal crash in Eveleth, Minn.  The NTSB also loaned Pereira 's services to other federal agencies during the course of several high-profile investigations, including the C-172 that intentionally crashed onto White House grounds, and the break-up of the Space Shuttle Columbia.

Following the events of September 11, 2001, Pereira was the sole NTSB investigator selected by the 9-11 Commission to serve as a member of its professional staff.  While detailed to the 9-11 Commission, Pereira was responsible for the analysis, written summary, and public presentation of all radar, FDR, CVR, ATC, Command and Control, terrain, and building geometry data for hundreds of aircraft, numerous ATC and Command and Control facilities, and three crash sites – all of which were spread out between Florida, Indiana, and Massachusetts.  Pereira used his analyses of these data to co-write significant portions of the 9-11 Commission report and to develop 3-D animations of the hijacked airplanes, military airplanes, Air Force One, and other commercial and general aviation airplanes of interest on 9-11, including synchronous playback of audio recordings from FAA, military, and other sources.

Pereira received his bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1989 and is in the process of completing his master of science degree in aeronautical science with a specialization in aviation/aerospace safety.  He received his United States Coast Guard Captain's license from the USCG Baltimore Regional Exam Center in 2000 and frequently operates offshore charter and commercial fishing vessels as President of Sushi Sportfishing, Inc.  Pereira received his North Carolina General Contractor's Unlimited License in 2004 and is President of Beach Design & Construction, Inc.

J. Vernon Roberts

J. Vernon Roberts serves Hall & Associates LLC as a consultant. For the past 30 years, Roberts has worked in the automotive industry as both an engineer and a consultant.

Roberts’ previous experience includes supervising vehicle safety for General Motors, conducting clinical accident investigations for the National Highway Traffic Board and serving as chief engineer for the National Transportation Safety Board. Most recently, he served as a consultant to the United States Air Force to improve vehicle fleet operational safety. He also recently consulted to Battelle and the federal Department of Transportation for peer review of regulatory analysis for upgrading federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 216 for Roof Crush Protection.

He received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee.


Disclaimer   |   Privacy Policy
2006 Hall & Associates. All Rights Reserved