Los Angeles CA—On Thursday, Metrolink CEO Stephanie Wiggins announced the appointments of three new chief positions for Metrolink, Southern California’s premier commuter rail service. With this announcement, Ms. Wiggins has nearly completed the full roster of her executive leadership team.
Justin Fornelli, who served as acting chief of program delivery has been promoted permanently to the role. Jennifer Vides Hirsch has been hired as chief marketing and communications officer. Don Filippi will serve as the chief safety, security and compliance officer after performing this role in an acting capacity this year.
“Our Metrolink team of talent continues to grow. I am excited to welcome these dynamic professionals to help lead Metrolink into the future,” said Ms. Wiggins. “In addition to knowledge and experience, these individuals share our belief that to serve the region’s needs, we have to continue to build our ridership by always putting our customer first as well as building a modern system that is safe and integrated with other transportation systems.”
Over his 20-plus-year career in the rail industry, Mr. Fornelli has worked in both freight and passenger rail. Prior to joining Metrolink in 2017, Mr. Fornelli served as director of transit and rail programs for the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA), one of Metrolink’s member agency partners. He will oversee the agency’s Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion (SCORE) Program and state of good repair projects.
With more than 25 years of experience, Ms. Vides Hirsch has an extensive background in brand-building and strategic communications, particularly for organizations in transition. She joins Metrolink from the Public Media Group of Southern California, formed by the merger of PBS SoCal and KCET, where she served as the vice president of Marketing, Communications & Brand. There, she played a key role in PBS SoCal’s merger with KCETLink Media Group, leading market research to inform brand and programming integration, and directing a marketing communications campaign to inform the community about the benefits of the merger. Ms. Vides has also held several senior level brand marketing and communications positions at Hot Topic, Inc., the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Monica, the Gymboree Corporation, and two of the world’s largest global communications firms, Weber Shandwick and Burson-Marsteller.
Mr. Filippi also brings nearly 20 years of freight and passenger rail experience from both the public and private sectors. Mr. Filippi has an extensive background in safety serving as the chief operations officer and chief safety officer for North County Transit District. Mr. Filippi served as senior transportation supervisor for the California Public Utilities Commission and manager operating practices at Union Pacific Railroad.
“The future is bright at Metrolink. I look forward to working with our new leadership team as we build on our last five consecutive years of ridership growth to meet my goal of doubling ridership by 2023,” Ms. Wiggins said.
For more information about Metrolink, please visit metrolinktrains.com.