Adams has served as FMCSA’s chief counsel since July 2021, according to the agency's news release.
He takes over the role previously held by Robin Hutcheson, who was officially confirmed as FMCSA’s administrator on Sept. 22, 2022.
As deputy administrator, Adams will join Administrator Hutcheson to lead the agency and will oversee a portfolio of initiatives across the agency’s program offices that supports FMCSA’s mission to prevent crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.
“Earl is a mission-driven leader and thinker who embodies the values of our agency and the entire Department of Transportation,” said Robin Hutcheson. “His vast experience, intellect, and people skills are exactly what the role of Deputy Administrator calls for. I look forward to continuing to work with Earl on policies, initiatives, and data-based strategies to prevent crashes, improve safety outcomes on our roadways, and ultimately achieve our goal of zero fatalities.”
Adams has legal and executive experience across several modes, including surface transportation, rail, and aviation. In his role as chief counsel, Adams was responsible for legal policy on all aspects of agency programs and activities including the development, issuance, interpretation, enforcement, and defense of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations before state and federal courts. He also provided executive oversight for FMCSA’s technology and innovation portfolio, including rulemaking on autonomous vehicles.
Prior to joining FMCSA, Adams worked in the private sector with several law firms, and most recently as a litigation partner with a national law firm, where he also served as the managing partner of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.
Adams served with distinction as chief of staff to Maryland’s former Lt. Governor and has held several leadership positions, including serving as the former chairman of the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, former vice chairman of the Bowie State University Board of Visitors, and former board member of the Economic Club of Washington.