Fred K. (Herb) Ford is the Assistant Chief Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation. Mr. Ford leads a team of lawyers providing legal services on all motor carrier enforcement program issues and serves as the point of contact for enforcement and rulemaking litigation support involving the Agency or its officials. Before joining FMCSA, Mr. Ford served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, retiring at the rank of Colonel after 24 years of service. Over his decorated Army career, he has held a variety of legal positions including Legal Advisor to the Army Inspector General and Staff Judge Advocate and Deputy Staff Judge Advocate Forward with U.S. Forces in Iraq. From 2008-2009 he was Special Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division at the Department of Justice, as part of an Army War College fellowship. He brings to MC-CCE a wealth of substantive legal experience in administrative law and litigation involving civil and criminal trials and before federal administrative boards, as well as extensive and varied experience managing legal offices. Mr. Ford is a graduate of Arkansas Tech University (B.A. History/Political Science) and the University of Tulsa (J.D.). He also holds an L.L.M. from the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Debra Straus is an attorney in the Enforcement and Litigation Section. A native New Yorker, Debra has lived in Washington, DC since attending law school at the American University Washington College of Law (J.D. 1983). Debra has spent most of her career in government practice focusing on litigation and regulatory enforcement. Following law school, she worked for the District of Columbia Attorney General's Office litigating cases in D.C. Superior Court. She then served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney and an AUSA in the General Crimes Division of the U. S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Debra also joined her husband on a Foreign Service assignment to El Salvador where she worked on a USAID-funded judicial reform project. Debra joined the Department of Transportation in 1997, specializing in enforcement of hazardous materials regulations at the Federal Aviation Administration. In 2002, she became an Assistant Chief Counsel at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), helping to develop the new administration's regulatory enforcement program. Debra returned to DOT in December 2006 when she joined FMCSA's Office of Chief Counsel. She lives in the District of Columbia with her husband and two sons.
Scott Mirelson is an attorney-advisor in FMCSA's Office of Chief Counsel, Enforcement & Litigation Division in Washington, DC. Scott focuses on commercial issues for FMCSA, including Household Goods Consumer Protection, broker regulation, FMCSA's Self-Insurance program and FMCSA's commercial jurisdiction. He has also worked with the Agency's Americans with Disabilities Act program and was actively involved in FMCSA's recent enforcement action against a motor carrier for ADA violations. Prior to joining FMCSA in June 2009, Scott was an Associate in the Washington Office of the international law firm of Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where he represented clients in the rail, motor carrier and aviation industries and participated in the firm's litigation practice. Before attending law school, Scott worked as a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in New York City. Scott is a 1997 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where he received a BS in Economics (concentration in accounting) from the Wharton School and a BA in History from the College of Arts and Sciences. He is a 2001 cum laude graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center. In his free time, Scott enjoys exercising, reading non-fiction, travel and reading maps.
Heather Raber is a staff attorney in the Enforcement and Litigation Division of the Office of Chief Counsel. Heather moved to Washington, D.C. and joined FMCSA in April 2008. During her time with FMCSA, Heather has had the privilege to work with the program offices on projects including Passenger and Household Goods operating authority vetting, CSA 2010, registration, and New Entrant issues. Heather received her B.A. from Bowling Green State University in 1996. Following college, Heather spent several years in banking working as a loan officer/underwriter for the State Employees' Credit Union in its management training program in Raleigh, NC. She received her J.D. from Wake Forest University in 2002. Following law school, Heather joined a firm she had previously clerked with in Charlotte, NC. From September 2002 until April 2008, Heather primarily focused her practice on the defense of trucking companies in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases. Heather and her husband live in Northern Virginia with their son.
Valerie Beck is a staff attorney in the Enforcement and Litigation Division of the Office of Chief Counsel. Valerie received her B.A. in history and government, summa cum laude, from the College of William and Mary in 2003. She received her J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center in 2007, where she was a member of the Georgetown Law Journal and the Institute for Public Representation. Prior to joining FMCSA in February 2013, Valerie was a litigation and enforcement associate in the New York and Washington offices of the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, where she represented clients on a wide variety of complex commercial matters in federal court, including securities litigation, contract actions, tort claims, bankruptcy matters, and antitrust work, as well as on enforcement matters before the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice.
Gabrielle Hessman is a staff attorney in the Enforcement and Litigation Section. Prior to working for FMCSA, Gabrielle was an attorney investigator for the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General where she investigated fraud, waste, and mismanagement of DOT programs and grants as well as employee integrity issues within the Department. She also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia where she litigated cases in D.C. Superior Court. Gabrielle is a graduate of American University Washington College of Law (J.D. 2006, M.B.A. 2009) and Clemson University (B.A. 2001).
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