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Community Liaisons (CLs)

About

PHMSA's Community Liaisons (CLs) are responsible for face-to-face outreach and field compliance assistance on the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). Their goal is to improve hazardous materials transportation safety and security through increased communication and education. CLs are assigned to each of PHMSA's regional offices and are available to help businesses comply with the hazardous materials transportation regulations through educational and technical assistance. They also provide compliance assistance to federal, state, and local governments.

Marc Nichols, Director
Field Outreach and Engagement

Image of Marc NicholsMr. Nichols brings over 30 years of transportation inspection, enforcement experience to his position as Director, Field Outreach and Engagement for the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA), Office of Hazardous Materials Safety.

Prior to his arrival to PHMSA, Mr. Nichols spent 12 years with the United States Air Force as a Transportation Specialist. Upon completion of his military tour of duty, Marc performed emergency response responsibilities with an area of focus on cylinder reclamation and radioactive materials. Marc joined PHMSA's Southern Region and a Compliance Investigator in June 2003.

Prior to becoming the Director, Field Outreach and Engagement, Marc has held the positions of Director for Western Region from 2015 to 2021 and Southern Region's National Lead for the System Integrity Safety Program (SISP) from 2007 – 2014. As the national lead, his duties included developing and implementing in-depth analyses of companies that have a higher-than-normal hazardous material incident rate. Additionally, he held the position of Chief Investigator for Southern Region from Start – Finish.

Marc co-founded and was the head coach of The Running Panthers Track Club (RPTC), of Clayton County GA, a nonprofit organization with a mission of developing male and female athletes, mentally, spiritually, and physically. Mr. Nichols is also an author, he released his first book "I'm on the Right Road Now" in June of 2016, which tells short stories from his past which has made him the man he is today. His book has received rave reviews and he is currently working on his second book.

Marc routinely works with the local school systems to promote "The Roadmap to Success" program in his hometown of Omaha, NE; Atlanta, GA; and Los Angeles.

Clayton Hatfield, Chief
Field Outreach and Engagement

Image of Clayton Hatfield

Mr. Clayton Hatfield brings over 35 years of transportation experience to his current position as the Chief, Field Outreach and Engagement within Field Operations of PHMSA. Prior to becoming Chief, Field Outreach and Engagement in October 2023, Mr. Hatfield served as a Southern Region Investigator from 2018 to 2023, and as an outreach coordinator on PHMSA's Hazardous Materials Safety Assistance Team (HMSAT) from 2015-2018. Clayton joined PHMSA's office of HAZMAT Safety in November 2015 in the Southern Region.

Prior to joining PHMSA, Clayton was a transportation specialist for the US Navy in Virginia Beach, VA. His responsibilities included the safe and timely movement of all command operational gear and personnel to worldwide locations. He instructed and evaluated command personnel on the worldwide transportation of hazardous materials for multi modal shipment.

Clayton enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1984 and served 20 years on active duty as an Aircraft loadmaster with a three-year assignment as a mission planner at Fort Bragg, NC; he retired from active duty and moved to Virginia Beach where he was a Transportation Specialist for Naval Special Warfare Command.

Clayton has earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Aviation Operations from the Community College of the Air Force and a Bachelor of Science from Excelsior College.

Mr. Hatfield is married to his wife, Tracy; He has two children, daughter Cayla and son Conner both resides in the Atlanta area.

Community Liaison Bios

Vielka Moreno

Image of Vielka MorenoVielka Moreno joined the Southern Region as a Community Liaison in March of 2023 and is an advisor and liaison for all hazardous material outreach and engagement initiatives and activities for the Southern Regional Office serving the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Vielka is a military Veteran and prior to coming to PHMSA, Vielka worked as a Law Enforcement Officer in the Metro Atlanta area. Her prior responsibilities included acting as a communication Specialist. She regularly engaged with local, state, and federal government officials while monitoring safety communications systems for first responders in support of real-time incidents and on-going investigations. She also served as a Spanish-speaking liaison amongst her colleagues and with crime victims.

Vielka currently resides in the Metro Atlanta GA. Area. She enjoys meeting and engaging new people she meets wherever her travels take her.

Have a question? Contact Vielka.

Nii Amahtey Sampah

Image of Nii Amahtey SampahNii Amahtey Sampah joined PHMSA's Western Region as a Community Liaison in May 2023. As the liaison for the Western Region, his main responsibility is to bridge the gap between US DOT, PHMSA, regulated industries, partner agencies, and community stakeholders in terms of compliance. Nii Amahtey feels privileged to be able to serve the American public in this role.

Nii Amahtey's journey in public service began in the United States Army, where he served as a Special Electronic Device Repairer for over ten years. As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he was recognized for his leadership skills and unwavering commitment to his mission and fellow service members. After his military service, Nii Amahtey ventured into the nonprofit sector, providing support services for intellectually disabled adults, including residential care, medical assistance, and community integration. During this time, he also pursued his associate degree by attending night classes at the Community College of Baltimore County. Eventually, he earned his degree in General Studies. He furthered his education by obtaining a bachelor's degree in business administration with a specialization in global supply chain management from Wayne State University in Detroit. Currently, Nii Amahtey and his wife are in the exciting process of relocating back to their home state of Maryland.

Have a question? Contact Nii.

Eastern Region

James Peter M. Matthews

James MatthewsJim Matthews joined the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in April 2024. Serving as the Eastern Region's Community Liaison, his duties include assisting federal, state and local governments, tribal nations and their emergency response and management agencies, in addition to private sector stakeholders, in their efforts to enhance public safety during the transportation of hazardous materials by air, rail, highway and/or water within the states of New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.

Prior to joining PHMSA Jim served as a firefighter for over 35 years in the Connecticut fire service. His assignments included Firefighter, Fire Service Instructor, Apparatus Operator, Fire Lieutenant, Fire Captain and Fire Battalion Chief, retiring as Group-2 Shift Commander of the West Hartford (CT) Fire Department. Simultaneously, Jim served as a Soldier in the United States Army Reserve for over 34 years, retiring as a Division Command Sergeant Major (CSM). Enlisting as an Infantryman in 1985, his assignments included Infantry Platoon Sergeant, Brigade Operations NCOIC, Military Police First Sergeant and CSM for Civil Affairs, Aviation, and Operational Commands. These assignments included multiple combat tours and Homeland Security missions, including CSM, Task Force-76, US Army North, responsible for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Response Forces during Defense in Support of Civil Authorities operations under USNORTHCOM.

For professional and institutional education Jim holds a Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and a Bachelor of Science in Leadership, both from Purdue University Global; is a graduate of the National Defense University Keystone Command Senior Enlisted Leader Course, Class 13-2 and the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, Sergeant Major Course, Class 01-04; and continues to expand his fire service education, which currently includes Fire Officer IV, Fire Service Instructor II, Fire Code Inspector, and numerous firefighting, rescue, apparatus and leadership discipline certification courses.

As a native, and lifelong resident of Winsted, CT with his wife Leslie, three children and five grandchildren, when time avails Jim continues to give back to his local community as a member of Winsted Elks Lodge #844 and Riverton American Legion Post #159; serves as Junior Vice Commander, Winsted Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #296; and serves as Chairmen, Legislative Affairs, Department of CT VFW.

Southern Region

TBD

Central Region

Dan Richards

Image of Dan RichardsDan Richards began his role as Community Liaison with PHMSA's Office of Hazmat Safety, back in March of 2019. Based out of the Central Region, his main responsibilities are to provide stakeholders with the necessary tools and resources to operate within the federal Hazardous Material Regulation safely and confidently.

In April of 2013, Dan started his career with PHMSA as a Compliance Investigator in the Central Region, where he gained years of firsthand knowledge and experience applying the Hazardous Material Regulations to real life transportation situations, as well as providing resources to improve safety and packaging practices.

Prior to joining the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration, Dan served in the United States Army for 9 years. While serving in the Military Police Corps, Dan was responsible for the enforcing the U.S. Department of Defense regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice as well as providing training and guidance to junior soldiers. As a member of Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Field Artillery Units, he gained experience in the safe transportation, storage, and handling practices of class one hazardous materials.

Have a question? Contact Dan.

Southwest Region

Mayra Ramos

Image of Mayra C. Ramos Mayra Ramos joins the Southwest Region as a Community Liaison. Mayra's previous role before joining PHMSA was as a Medical Logistics, Training Analyst at the Veterans Affairs (VA) agency. Her primary responsibilities involved providing consultative expertise to support training initiatives and documenting the features and functionalities of the medical logistics system. Mayra conducted virtual and on-site instructor-led training sessions for employees. Mayra's experience prior to her employment with the VA includes a distinguished 12-year career in the United States Air Force, where she excelled as both a Medical Logistician and an International Curriculum Developer. Mayra completed her studies at Trident University International and successfully earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.S.B.A) in 2022. 

Mayra's place of birth is Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and her upbringing took place in the central coast of California. Presently, she resides in San Antonio, Texas alongside her husband and four children. In her leisure time, she takes pleasure in going on trips with her family.

Have a question? Contact Mayra.

Michael S. Senigo

Image of Michael S. Senigo Mike Senigo, a highly accomplished individual with a diverse background and a passion for serving others. After dedicating 24 years of his life to military service, Mike recently retired, leaving behind a legacy of excellence and leadership. Throughout his military career, he gained invaluable experience in various fields including security, aviation, training, education, curriculum development, leadership, Human Resources Management, strategic planning, and program management. Mike's academic achievements are equally impressive, holding a master's degree in Executive Leadership and a bachelor's degree in Outdoor Education. Furthermore, he has acquired multiple certificates that enhance his professional capabilities. Mike's remarkable career and unwavering commitment to safety, education, and community engagement have established him as a respected leader and a trusted advocate. His dedication to serving others and making a positive impact in the world is truly inspiring.

With a wealth of knowledge and expertise, Mike embarked on a new journey with the US Department of Transportation, where he has assumed the role of Community Liaison for Hazmat Safety. In this capacity, he actively engages with communities, leveraging his skills to ensure the highest levels of safety and preparedness in hazardous materials transportation.

Beyond his professional pursuits, Mike possesses a genuine love for the outdoors and enjoys engaging in various outdoor activities. Whether it's golfing, hiking, hunting or exploring nature's wonders, he finds solace in the beauty of the natural world. He is dedicated to serving at his church and also enjoys spending time with his wife and seven children.

Have a question? Contact Michael.

Western Region

Evelyn Yang

Image of Evelyn YangEvelyn joined PHMSA's Western Region in March 2023. As the Community Liaison for the Western Region, she serves as a bridge between the regulated industries, local communities, and the Federal Government. She takes pride in facilitating information exchanges and resource support to increase awareness of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), promote the safe transportation of hazardous materials, and ensure the safety of the American public.

Evelyn started her service career in public defense as a forensic specialist before transitioning to an investigator. She communicated complex scientific data and intricate case details effectively to audiences of various sizes and levels of understanding to obtain the best outcome for her clients. She graduated from George Washington University with a Master's in Crime Scene Investigation and from The University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor's in Biochemistry/Cell Biology.

Have a question? Contact Evelyn.

Wayne Lalicon

Image of Wayne LaliconWayne Lalicon has been PHMSA's Eastern Region Community Liaison for hazardous materials since August 2020. His primary responsibilities include cultivating relationships with industry partners, federal and local agency counterparts, the public at large, and underserved communities; assisting the public in understanding PHMSA's regulations and resources; and relaying and exchanging information and expertise with government colleagues. In pursuit of new challenges and novel solutions to lingering problems, he approaches each task as a possible learning opportunity. By relying on his ability to make personal connections via substantive conversation and keen listening skills, Wayne connects individuals to key information and resources.

Prior to joining PHMSA, Wayne had served in the Peace Corps in Rwanda (2014-2017) and Benin (2018-2020) where he honed his interpersonal and multicultural communication skills. He is an alumnus of Rutgers and UC Irvine as well as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Sigma Alpha, and Phi Sigma Iota honor societies. For his bachelor's degree and dissertation research, Wayne conducted substantial qualitative research on transnational migration, citizenship, and veterans. He is fluent in French, can converse in Kinyarwanda, and is learning Yoruba.

Have a question? Contact Wayne.