Faculty Details

Photo of Richard A. Stafford

Richard A. Stafford

Distinguished Service Professor

Email: rstaff@andrew.cmu.edu



    Professional Background

    Rick Stafford has been a Distinguished Service Professor of Public Policy at the H. John Heinz III College, School of Public Policy and Management, of Carnegie Mellon University since June, 2005. He holds a B.S. in mathematics and M.S. in Public Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

    Prior to his Heinz appointment, he served as Chief Executive Officer for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its affiliated regional development organizations, the Pennsylvania Economy League-Western Division, Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, and Pittsburgh Regional Alliance. During his tenure from 1991 to 2003, the Conference stressed the need for the greater Pittsburgh region to work across organizational and political jurisdictions and address challenges and opportunities as an economic region. The Conference worked with others to undertake several major regional initiatives in the areas of public governance, regional economic development, education and workforce development, and civic reorganization.

    Prior to the Conference, much of his career had been dedicated to public service. He served as Secretary of Legislative Affairs in the cabinet of Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh during the governor’s first term and as chief of staff for the last year and one-half of his second term.  Mr. Stafford was Director of Research and Issues for the Thornburgh for Governor Committee and served as the Director of Transition between the administrations of Governor Shapp and Governor Thornburgh.

    His experience prior to state government included Special Assistant to the Executive Director of the Port Authority of Allegheny County, the public transit system; Research Associate with the Urban Systems Institute of Carnegie Mellon University; and Systems Analyst with Westinghouse Research Laboratories. He authored and co-authored numerous reports and articles during his tenure in these positions.

    He has done extensive consulting in the public policy arena, including work for the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Pennsylvania Manufacturer’s Association, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, the Institute of Politics at the University of Pittsburgh, the Progress Fund, the Alliance for Regional Stewardship, the Heinz Endowments, the William Penn Foundation, the Pittsburgh Foundation, the Institute of Public Affairs at Temple University and several regional civic organizations throughout the country.

    Mr. Stafford has also been active in the private for profit sector, working as Director of Corporate Finance at the Pittsburgh investment banking firm of Russell, Rea, & Zappala. He has helped launch two family businesses. The first, FARR Communications, Inc., owned, operated and divested an AM/FM radio station in the Pittsburgh region. The second, Laurel Vista, Inc., owns and operates a produce farm, growing and delivering produce and added value products to consumers in the Pittsburgh region. The family resides on the farm in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

    Research and Teaching

    Stafford’s research and teaching interests are focused on the area of “engineering public policy change,” that is, how to develop and execute “civic campaigns” or “legislative campaigns” to realize the enactment of significant public policy change. In contrast to political campaigns aimed at influencing the public to elect a candidate to public office, a civic or legislative campaigns aim at influencing elected officials to approve a proposal to change public policy. Stafford explores the intricacies of successful campaigns through research of actual cases from his own experience as well as that of others. He focuses his student assignments on the application of principles and models to current public policy challenges.

    Stafford directs CMU’s Traffic21 Initiative. See www.traffic21.org. The objective of Traffic21 is to advance new areas of research in intelligent transportation systems that can be linked to regionally based demonstrations and deployments and to enhance Carnegie Mellon’s existing leadership in related activities focused on critical infrastructure, transportation access, transportation routing and efficiencies, and autonomy and the vehicle of the future. Underway as of July 1, 2009, Traffic21 is made possible by seed funding from the Hillman Foundation. Traffic21 has played an integral role in winning and supporting CMU’s Technology for Safe and Efficient Transportation, a U.S. Department of Transportation University Transportation Center (see http://utc.ices.cmu.edu/utc/home.asp).

    Stafford has been the CMU faculty advisor on the Pennsylvania Policy Database Project. Organized by Dr. Joseph McLaughlin, Director of the Institute of Public Affairs at Temple University, The Project has established the first comprehensive state policy database. See   http://www.temple.edu/papolicy/ for more information. Stafford has also worked with Dr. McLaughlin and colleagues at the Institute in publishing “The Temple Papers on the Pennsylvania General Assembly” (see http://www.temple.edu/ipa/papers/ ). The papers document research on the evolution of the General Assembly and current institutional topics. As a member of the Pennsylvania Policy Forum, Stafford has helped organize symposia for the Pennsylvania General Assembly related to the institution’s history and current operation. The Forum is a consortium of faculty members and academic leaders from Pennsylvania colleges and universities who share an interest in generating ideas, analyses, and symposiums that might prove useful to citizens, elected officials, and civic leaders in addressing major issues confronting the Commonwealth and its local governments.

    He also serves on the Advisory Committee to The Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy at the University of Pittsburgh. The Forum offers various educational programs and promotes the use of the Thornburgh Archives as a research and teaching tool for faculty and students from any university. 

    Community Service

    Stafford serves on the “Implementation Committee” of Power of 32, a regional visioning initiative that led to a series of recommendations for the future quality of life and economy of the four state, 32 county region in which Carnegie Mellon resides. He is co-chair with Dr. Esther Barazzone, President of Chatham University, of a committee to make recommendations to the Mayor of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Executive on the governance of the Allegheny County Sanitary Sewer Authority (ALCOSAN). He serves on the Natural Gas Advisory Committee of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Stafford is also currently involved with several organizations related to food, environment and agriculture.

    He has served on a variety of public and non-profit boards and commissions including the Flight 93 National Memorial Task Force, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission of Pennsylvania; the Commission on Financing Higher Education in Pennsylvania; the Pennsylvania Public Television Network; Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival; Regional Industrial Development Corporation; and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

    Stafford is a recipient of Carnegie Mellon University’s Alumni Merit Award, the Heinz School’s Public Service Award, and an inductee to the Hall of Fame of Junior Achievement of Southwest Pennsylvania.


    B.S. in mathematics and M.S. in Public Management from Carnegie Mellon University