FAA names AT&T exec Daniel Mehan to become its first chief information officer

The Federal Aviation Administration last week tapped Daniel J. Mehan to be its first
chief information officer.


FAA chose the career AT&T Corp. executive from a pool of more than 50 candidates.
Mehan, 54, is AT&T’s international vice president of quality and business
management in New Jersey. He will start his new job at FAA on Feb. 1.


Mehan said the technical and management skills he honed for 31 years in the private
sector will help him in his new role at FAA.


“I have experience in bringing together constituencies,” he said. “I can
assess points of view and design programs around everyone’s objectives.”


Mehan spent his entire career in information systems at AT&T. After graduating with
a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Drexel University, he joined Bell
Laboratories in 1967 as a systems engineer working on data communications.


He stayed with the company when Bell Labs became AT&T in 1978. During the 1980s, he
worked on product development. In the 1990s, he managed the company’s systems abroad
and oversaw quality control.


As he climbed AT&T’s corporate ladder, Mehan also earned a master’s in
systems engineering and a doctorate in operations research from the University of
Pennsylvania.


The intense scrutiny FAA has received from Congress and the General Accounting Office
on year 2000 and other information technology concerns did not scare him away from the
job, he said, but drew him in.


“To use a sports analogy, the Super Bowl is the toughest game, and every player
wants to be there because of the challenge and excitement,” Mehan said.


Mehan said he sought the FAA CIO position because he has always wanted to work in the
public sector. “I think I can take the skills I’ve learned in industry and blend
them with those of people in government,” he said.


He is not entirely new to Washington, having served on the boards of the Japan-U.S.
Telecommunications Research Institute, the U.S. Telecommunications Training Institute and
the North American Telecommunications Association.

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