Metro CEO Phil Washington announces key hires and appointments

Over the last half year, several high-ranking Metro employees have left the agency for prominent jobs at other agencies. Most recently, Metro Chief of Security Alex Wiggins resigned to accept the position of CEO of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, and Chief Civil Rights Program Officer Dan Levy announced his retirement. 

On Tuesday, Metro CEO Phil Washington announced a series of appointments to fill these jobs that are part of agency’s Senior Leadership Team. In a memo to staff, Phil said he is pleased that other agencies look to Metro when it comes to hiring top staff — and that he’s equally pleased that Metro has developed talented people within the agency to fill key positions.

Here are the announcements with more biographical info at the bottom of this post.

Nadine Lee becomes Metro’s permanent Chief of Staff. She has held the role of Interim Chief of Staff for nearly six months and was previously the Deputy Chief Innovations Officer at Metro.

Yvette Zoe-Robles Rapose becomes the new permanent Chief Communications Officer. Yvette has served as the Interim Chief Communications Officer since early this year and previously oversaw Metro’s Community Relations Department.

James L. de la Loza is the new Chief Planning Officer. He has over 34 years of experience in the design, planning and implementation of major transportation infrastructure projects and previously worked as the chief planner at Metro from 1996 to 2005.

Jonaura Wisdom is the new permanent Chief Civil Rights Programs Officer. She has been with Metro for five years and served as the agency’s Director of EEO & Civil Rights Program Compliance.

Aston T. Greene, III, has been appointed as the Interim Chief Systems Security & Law Enforcement Officer. Aston is currently Executive Officer, Administration for Metro’s Systems Security & Law Enforcement.

As for other notable departures, Metro Deputy CEO Stephanie Wiggins became Metrolink’s CEO last December; Planning Chief Therese McMillan was hired as the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in the Bay Area in February and Chief Communications Officer Pauletta Tonilas returned to the Denver area’s RTD as Assistant General Manager, Communications in January.

Here is some more info about each of the new hires listed above:

NADINE LEE

As Deputy Chief Innovation Officer for LA Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation. In this role, Nadine launched innovative concepts to provide a more flexible customer-friendly mobility system in L.A. County. She also led the development of Vision 2028, Metro’s 10-year strategic plan to increase prosperity for LA County through improved mobility. In 2015, she led a Leadership American Public Transportation Association (APTA) team to study the role of public transport in today’s mobility ecosystem. Nadine served two terms on the Women Transportation Seminar (WTS) International Board and participated in the Spring 2009 International Transit Studies Program where she explored the use of performance measurements to improve transit service delivery and customer experience in four Southeast Asia cities. Nadine is a graduate of our Multi-Agency Exchange (MAX) Program and of various Leadership Academy Programs. And, this year (May 2019), she was named the WTS International Woman of the Year. Nadine has been a project manager on numerous infrastructure projects (streetcars, bike master plans, people movers, convention center expansions, light rail, BRT, EIS’s, and highway) in California; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Denver, CO; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Minneapolis, MN; and Kansas City, MO. She is a registered Professional Engineer in Kansas and Colorado, and earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has worked and managed big and small highway and transit projects. She is also a member of the Federal Transit Administration’s Research Advisory Council and an active and current Member of APTA’s Mobility Management Committee.

YVETTE ZOE-ROBLES RAPOSE

•As Deputy Executive Officer, Community Relations, Yvette developed the first departmental training module, was the lead architect for outreach on the renowned Carmageddon effort and was leading the effort for procurement of support services and staff augmentation in support of Measure M programs, projects and initiatives. Yvette was a Legislative Deputy for an L.A. Councilmember in the mid-1990s. She worked as a Community Builder Fellow for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) in the late 1990s. She has been at Metro for nearly 20 years and has worked in various roles throughout the Authority. Yvette’s areas of expertise are varied; Community Engagement, Business Resiliency, Public Administration, Policy/Procedure Development and Implementation, Budget Development and Resource Management, Personnel Management, Project Management, Communications Strategy, Facilitation and Consensus-Building, and Diversity Training. Yvette earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in Pasadena, CA; a Master of Science in Public Administration from California State University, Los Angeles; and is a graduate of the Executive Education in Community Planning & Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Yvette was born and raised in Los Angeles and is one of the founders of a non-profit organization, Operation Project HOPE, and directs their Leadership Academy. She directed the Latino/a College Leadership Institute for the National Conference for Community and Justice (formerly National Conference for Christians and Jews), graduated from Metro’s Emerging Leadership Training Program and most recently from Metro’s 12-month Leadership Academy.

JAMES L. DE LA LOZA

•Jim de la Loza has over 34 years of experience in the design, planning and implementation of major transportation infrastructure projects. His background includes transportation multi-modal corridor analysis and planning, operations service planning, development and coordination of funding strategies, policy development, environmental impact analysis and alternative delivery for large multi-modal projects. Mr. de la Loza has a strong commitment to community engagement in the project development process. He has an in-depth understanding of mobility analysis, the relationship of transportation to how we grow our region and the importance of designing a system which is sustainable. He has a proven ability to implement agency goals and objectives in some of the most challenging environments. As the Chief Planning Officer for Metro he oversaw the expansion of the Metro Light and Heavy Rail program, Highway/HOV system and the development of Metro’s Rapid Bus and BRT program. Over the last 15 years, he has served at senior executive level positions at three major National and Global transportation companies. In these capacities, he has led the successful pursuit and delivery of some of the region’s most complex transportation projects and programs including the Regional Connector Project, Eastside Phase 2 Extension, CHSR EIS for 2 segments, West Santa Ana Branch AA Study, and most recently, the SCAG Congestion Pricing Cordon Study. Jim was born and raised in Los Angeles and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Environmental Design from California State University, Long Beach and a Master’s Degree in Architecture and Urban Design from UCLA. His many awards and recognitions include the Federal Transit Agency Safety Planning Award for the Pasadena Light Rail Line in 1996, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Innovations in American Government Award for Metro Rapid Bus and the UCLA Latino Alumni of the Year Award in 2000.

JONAURA WISDOM

•Jonaura Wisdom is a civil rights and equal opportunity specialist and has been in the field for nearly 15 years. She has been with LA Metro for five years and has performed in an exemplary manner as our Director of EEO & Civil Rights Program Compliance. Jonaura is proficient in conducting thorough and timely investigations with specialty in federally protected categories (EEO, ADA, Title VII, etc.). She specializes in conflict resolution, discrimination/harassment trainings and case/personnel management. Prior to LA Metro, Jonaura was Assistant Director/Equal Opportunity Programs & Diversity for Florida International University and prior to that she was EEO Compliance Officer in the Office of Civil Rights Compliance for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Jonaura earned her Master’s Degree in Science & Education from the University of Miami and her Bachelor of Science in Communications Degree, with a Double Major: Public Relations and Criminology, also from the University of Miami. She has also completed a certificate completion from Florida International University in Leadership Development.

ASTON T. GREENE, III

•Aston is currently LA Metro’s Executive Officer, Administration for our Systems Security & Law Enforcement. He is an accomplished Executive Leader for Security & Emergency Management and a sworn law enforcer with 20+ years of homeland security and emergency management expertise. Aston has been a State Corrections Officer with the New York State Department of Corrections, a Police Officer, Detective and Executive to the Deputy Chief with the DeKalb (GA) Police Department. Most recently, he was Major/Commander, Office of System Security & Emergency Management with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Police Department, where he oversaw the emergency management development and implementation of critical plans and initiatives. Aston earned a Master’s of Public Administration in Criminal Justice, with Honors, from Troy University and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from American Intercontinental University.

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