Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) Trustee Steve Morrissey is vice president of regulatory and policy for United. In this role, he leads a team of dedicated professionals that advocate for United’s interest before regulatory agencies in the United States and around United’s word-leading international route network.
We recently reached out to Steve Morrissey to find out more about his background, his role at United, and what personally motivates him to positively transform lives through transportation. Steve Morrissey’s responses to our interview questions follow.
Since the beginning of my professional career, the bulk of my time and interest has been spent at the intersection of policy, government and politics. No other area of government or policy impacts every person on the face of the earth like transportation. It supports work and family in a very direct way. It is both the means and method by which millions of people make a living. Transportation connects all of us to the moments that matter most in our lives. In addition to being so impactful, the policy issues in the transportation field are some of the most dynamic, challenging and complex in all of government. Every level of government—from neighborhood associations to countries and international associations—grapples with the pros and cons as well as the implications of decisions around transportation. Finally, the transportation field attracts many of the brightest and most dedicated public servants in all of government—including Norm Mineta—so I’ve been fortunate to have first class role models and mentors.
As Vice President of International, Regulatory and Policy for United Airlines, my team and I advocate for the company, our employees and customers in front of government agencies in the United States and around the world. Commercial aviation is such a dynamic industry and is at the center of some of the most important policy issues of our time. Whether it’s recovery from the global pandemic, rebuilding the international economy and relationships, confronting the crisis of climate change or contributing to a more diverse, equitable and inclusive world, aviation plays an important role. I am very lucky that my company, with our global network and recognizable brand, is making a meaningful positive contribution in all of these areas in the United States and around the globe.
Some of the biggest changes I’ve seen involve the smart use of technology. I may be dating myself, but I remember when self-service kiosks in airports were considered breakthrough technology. Now, customers are empowered with information and control of virtually all aspects of a transaction, from search to purchase to travel, at their fingertips with mobile devices. Additionally, through the focus on combating climate change, we are also in the midst of an exciting technological revolution to reduce transportation’s carbon footprint and make our planet more livable. In addition to technology, safety is another area where the bar is constantly being raised. Technology is certainly a big part of improving the safety of travel—today’s airplanes and vehicles are technological marvels, for example—but intelligent use of safety data and study of human factors to avoid safety problems in the first place are also constantly developing and always exciting.
I am involved in some specific efforts to provide opportunities in transportation for high school and college-aged kids from communities that have sometimes been overlooked. My message to the transportation community is always that these kids may need a little help from us to get started, but we need them for their energy, intelligence and diverse ideas to continuously take our industry to greater heights. Additionally, there are countless opportunities, not just for jobs but for rewarding life-long careers in an industry that impacts all of society in the most positive ways every single day. In transportation you can make a real difference, and we need you!
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