WASHINGTON — A former Baltimore-based developer who led a White House effort on infrastructure and government innovation is leaving the job, the White House said Friday.
Reed S. Cordish, a former partner at the Cordish Companies, joined the Trump administration in January as the head of the Office of American Innovation. The group is tasked with bringing private-sector ideas to longstanding government problems.
Cordish, 43, said in an interview that he never intended to stay in the job for more than a year. He said that the time was right to move on partly because the White House recently sent its framework for overhauling infrastructure to Congress.
“In that regard, it’s a good time for a transition for me,” Cordish said.
Cordish, whose last day will be later this month, will be replaced by Brooke L. Rollins, a former aide to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the White House said. Cordish said he would return to the private sector, but would not say whether that meant returning to the Cordish Companies.
The Gilman School and Princeton University graduate, long friendly with the Trump family, pointed to the infrastructure framework as a top accomplishment. That plan, which Congress will now consider, would attempt to leverage $1.5 trillion in private infrastructure spending from about $200 billion in government funding.
Critics have countered that a lack of dedicated money would make that a significant challenge.
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Cordish said his office also worked with the Bethesda-based National Institutes of Health to encourage public-private partnerships. One of those partnerships, announced last fall, will lead to collaboration between the agency and nearly a dozen pharmaceutical companies to test immunotherapy cancer treatments.
He said that the administration also is working toward a similar arrangement to help address the opioid epidemic.
“I was proud to see that through those efforts and others… that the administration decided to fully embrace NIH in terms of recommending full budget funding in the 2019 budget — in a tough budget year, when most things are having, unfortunately, to have some degree of cuts,” Cordish said.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner described Cordish as an “invaluable” member of the administration.
“His leadership on initiatives ranging from work-force development to prison reform to modernizing key [Veterans Affairs] services will have a positive impact for millions of Americans,” Kushner said in a statement.
Cordish also formulated the administration’s workforce development initiative, unveiled in June, which sought to expand apprenticeship programs and streamline job training. He said he helped broker the deal announced last year in which the Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn agreed to build a large manufacturing plant in Wisconsin.
Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and now an assistant at the White House, set Cordish up with her best friend. The two married in 2010 and now have two children.