After an extensive nationwide search and thorough, ten-month recruitment process, a selection committee comprised of five VTA Board members presented their recommendation to the full Board at its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, October 3, 2013. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Board of Directors has appointed Ms. Nuria I. Fernandez as the next General Manager for VTA.
Fernandez has an extensive and impressive career in the public transportation industry, most recently serving as the Chief Operating Officer for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) where she is responsible for the overall security of the MTA system, development of its capital and environmental sustainability programs, federal and state government affairs, and management oversight of the five operating agencies and its capital construction.
“When General Manager Michael Burns announced his retirement late last year, we knew we were going to have a significant challenge to find his successor,” said Joe Pirzynski, VTA Board Chair. “The primary concern in our search was to find a candidate possessing the qualities that would continue the forward progress that VTA experienced in the eight plus years Michael dedicated to the organization.
We have concluded our search and are very pleased with our selection of Nuria Fernandez. She is an individual who possesses the personal and professional characteristics that we know will move VTA forward. We are excited to have Nuria take this leadership position with VTA.”Nuria has over 30 years of experience in the transportation field and a professional career that includes, planning, design and construction of mass transit systems, airport operations and policy development of federal transportation programs. Her accomplishments include managing the operations of O’Hare International Airport; providing high-level policy and program expertise at the U.S. Department of Transportation; and managing the design and construction of multi-billion dollar rail expansion programs in Chicago and Washington, D.C.
She has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Bradley University and an MBA from Roosevelt University in Illinois. Nuria serves on the Board of Directors of the American Public Transportation Association, the Mineta Transportation Institute’s Board of Trustees, the Advisory Board of Bradley University’s College of Engineering and Technology, and a member of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials and the Women’s Transportation Seminar, among other organizations.
“I am excited about this new opportunity to lead an organization that is on track to change the public transportation landscape in Silicon Valley forever, and my experience working in the industry, both public and private, has positioned me for the challenges that come with this great responsibility,” states Fernandez.
Nuria joins VTA at a time when the agency is making important strides to advance its capital program and enhance transit service to build upon growing ridership. Construction on the first 10-mile phase of the BART Silicon Valley Project is making great progress; the first bus rapid transit line in the Bay Area will break ground early next year; and plans to speed up light rail trains and improve frequency in preparation for BART and the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara are well underway. Fernandez’ official start date is early December 2013.