Prof. Rick Kowalewski

Faculty: Adjunct
Phone: 301-275-1518
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

  • Strategic planning
  • Performance measurement
  • Program evaluation
  • Risk evaluation
  • Transportation safety
  • Safety culture
  • Accident investigation
  • Federal budget process
  • Statistical data quality
  • Information systems
  • Incident response operations
  • Leadership

Rick Kowalewski is a teacher, advisor, and life practitioner.  He has over 40 years of leadership experience across six agencies, including 17 years as a Federal executive, working closely with political leadership, career executives, staff, oversight agencies, and Congressional committees.  He has managed formulation of a $50 billion budget; directed the statistical and economic programs for one of the 14 major Federal statistical agencies; and served on the Secretary's executive management team across two administrations.  Rick is recognized internationally as an expert in performance measurement and management.  He led many of the early efforts to implement the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) including the first, and one of the most widely cited, pilots in performance planning.   He has taught planning and performance measurement widely throughout the Federal government, and consulted internationally. 

As a career Coast Guard officer, he served in a variety of field and staff positions in the maritime safety programs.  He’s been an inspector, investigator, licensing examiner, emergency responder, national security planner, and field manager of all these activities.  He developed information systems for collecting data, and led strategic planning and analysis for major Coast Guard operating programs.  For two years, he helped manage the Army Corps of Engineers’ navigation program.  As the senior Coast Guard officer at the National Defense University, he taught the art and science of strategy to senior military and civilian leaders. 

Retired now from public service, Rick teaches yoga, paints, and shares his public policy experience with students at the George Washington University.


MS, National Security Resource Strategy, National Defense University, Washington, DC
BA, English, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Personal Interests

  • Watercolor painting and drawing
  • Yoga
  • Guitar
  • Woodworking
  • Exploring


  • James E. Webb Award for best paper (Redirecting Programs with Performance Information), American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) Conference, 1996
  • Transportation Secretary’s Medal for Superior Achievement, 1996
  • Meritorious Service Medal, 1989 and 1995
  • Coast Guard Commendation Medal, 1985 and 1991
  • Past Member of the National Coordinating Council, Key National Indicators Initiative
  • Past Member of the Interagency Council for Statistical Policy, 2002-2005
  • Past Member (ex officio) of the Transportation Research Board Executive Committee, 2002-2004
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1972

Classes Taught

PPPA 6077  Program Management