Sean T. Connaughton has served as President and CEO since 2014. Prior to joining VHHA, he served as Virginia’s Transportation Secretary from 2010-2014 in the Cabinet of Governor Robert F. McDonnell. In that role, he led efforts to pass a major transportation funding package for the Commonwealth in 2013.
Connaughton served in a Presidentially-appointed, U.S. Senate-confirmed position as Administrator of the United States Maritime Administration from 2006-2009, and was Corporate Vice President of Government Affairs for the American Bureau of Shipping. Connaughton’s public service also extends to elected office – from 2000-2006, he was Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, which is the chief elected position in Virginia’s second largest county – and the armed forces.
Connaughton served as a commissioned officer on active duty with the United States Coast Guard, and later joined the United States Naval Reserve, retiring from that service with the rank of Commander. Connaughton is a licensed attorney admitted to practice in Virginia and the District of Columbia. He practiced law for 15 years with private firms and has appeared before the United States Supreme Court.
He has a Bachelor’s degree from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, a Master’s degree from Georgetown University, a law degree from George Mason University, and he graduated from the United States Naval War College. Connaughton has received numerous awards over the years, including Alumnus of the Year from George Mason University, the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Counties, the Vincent T. Hirsch Maritime Award for Outstanding Leadership from the Navy League of the United States, Maritime Person of the Year from the Propeller Club of the United States, the Maritime Samaritan Award from the Apostleship of the Sea of the United States, and Government Man of the Year from the Maritime Port Council of Greater New York. He also has been designated a Henry Toll Fellow by the Council of State Governments, a Virginia Institute of Political Leadership Fellow, and recently was named a Fellow by the Virginia Law Foundation. He is married to Teresa and has two adult children, Courtney and Sean Jr.