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Technical Assistance Workshop: Biography of Richard W. O'Brien

Richard W. O'Brien

Richard O'Brien is Director of International Programs and Intergovernmental Affairs for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission A career federal employee with over 23 years service, Mr. O'Brien draws from a diverse government and private sector background. At the Consumer Product Safety Commission, he oversees the regulatory agency's international activities aimed at ensuring the safety of imported consumer products. He also coordinates efforts with other U.S. and foreign government agencies on international consumer product safety issues.

Mr. O'Brien is a retired career U.S. Foreign Service Officer. Immediately prior to joining CPSC, he served as director for U.S. bilateral telecommunications policy at the Department of State for the countries of East Asia and the Pacific region. Before joining the Foreign Service, he worked in trade promotion at the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration and earlier, at the Agriculture Department's Foreign Agricultural Service, the department's export agency.

His background in multiple federal agencies has afforded Mr. O'Brien broad experience in international standards policy, product safety, foreign market access, and market development for a range of goods and services, including electronic, food, agricultural, and consumer products, as well as media, telecommunications, energy, financial, and professional services. Before entering federal service, he held a variety of positions in the public relations and marketing field, including agency account executive, consultant, and regional public relations director for The Salvation Army.

Mr. O'Brien holds a Master's Degree in International Affairs from George Washington University and a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications from Towson State University. A veteran of both the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, he has lived and worked in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, and Switzerland.

Updated June 9, 2023