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Patrice M. Kelly


Patrice Kelly has been the Director of the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) in the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) since late 2017.  ODAPC’s mission is to enhance public safety within transportation industries across the United States by issuing regulations to prevent alcohol misuse and illegal drug use in transportation systems and ensuring that DOT’s drug and alcohol policies are implemented in a consistent, fair and efficient manner.

Patrice has served in ODAPC since 2007, having been named the Deputy Director in 2008 and the Acting Director in 2013.  She serves as the lead expert on a highly experienced team of antidrug and alcohol misuse prevention policy advisors.

Before joining the Office of the Secretary, Patrice served at the Federal Aviation Administration as the Deputy Division Manager of the FAA’s Drug Abatement Division, as the Senior Attorney for Aerospace Medical Issues, and as an FAA attorney.  Patrice began working with FAA’s industry drug and alcohol testing regulations as an FAA enforcement attorney more than 20 years ago.  She was the first FAA attorney to revoke an air carrier’s certificate for failure to implement drug and alcohol testing, and she initiated the FAA’s first civil penalty cases enforcing the drug and alcohol testing regulations.

In her roles at the FAA and the Office of the Secretary, Patrice has worked extensively on the changes to the drug and alcohol testing regulations since 1996.  Patrice has been instrumental in policy-making, litigation, intergovernmental agency working groups and advising foreign governments regarding drug testing.  In her role as the Department’s decision-maker, she issued the first Public Interest Exclusion against a noncompliant service agent issued in the history of the DOT’s drug and alcohol testing regulations.  In addition, she has been a featured speaker at many industry association meetings.

A graduate of Boston College, and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Patrice received a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center.  She is admitted to the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania Bars.

Patrice has served in all three branches of the Federal Government.  In the Legislative Branch, she worked for the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy in his office in Boston, Massachusetts.  In the Judicial Branch, Patrice worked for the Supreme Court of the United States.  In the Executive Branch, in addition to her work at the FAA and in the Office of the Secretary, Patrice has served at the United States Department of State.

In private industry, Patrice worked on Wall Street in Employee Relations and later in Corporate Bond Trading.  After graduation from Georgetown University Law Center, she  practiced law as an associate in transportation law firms in Washington, DC, before beginning her career with the FAA.

Patrice has a passion for management and for mentoring others.  In her second year as a manager at the FAA, she was nominated for “Manager of the Year” in an organization of more than 700 employees.  In addition, Patrice brought more than 120 unpaid interns from law schools across the United States to serve in the FAA’s Office of the Chief Counsel in a well-recognized internship/seminar program that she developed.  One of her proudest accomplishments was being named “Mentor of the Year” by the FAA’s Chief Counsel’s Office during a time when she was not an employee of that office.  She firmly believes that true leadership is inspiring others to lead and not to follow!

Updated: Thursday, October 12, 2017
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