Justin R. Ehrenwerth serves as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Commerce. As Chief of Staff, he assists the Deputy Secretary in overseeing issues of management, policy and strategic planning for the Department which has an annual budget of $8 billion and approximately 45,000 employees. Ehrenwerth works closely with senior Department officials to implement the top policy priorities of the Obama administration.
Previously, Ehrenwerth served as an Assistant Counsel in the White House Counsel’s Office where he was a member of the Oversight and Litigation group representing the White House in Congressional investigations and advising Federal agencies on oversight matters. In conjunction with the Department of Justice, he worked with Counsel from across the Executive Office of the President on issues related to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Multidistrict Litigation.
During the first two years of the Obama administration, Ehrenwerth served in the Department of Commerce’s Office of General Counsel. As Counsel, he assisted with the management of over 325 lawyers in fourteen offices, drafted numerous legal opinions and coordinated the Department’s responses to Congressional investigations. Ehrenwerth received the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) General Counsel's Award for Excellence for work related to the response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Ehrenwerth has held leadership positions on a number of national and statewide political campaigns including the Obama for America and Kerry-Edwards campaigns. He has been active in the non-profit sector having worked at the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics, Northern California Grantmakers, Pennsylvania League of Young Voters, and the American Jewish Committee. He also served as a Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Teaching Fellow as well as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ehrenwerth is a summa cum laude graduate of Colby College and holds an MA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He is a member of the Pennsylvania and District of Columbia bars.