- Darren Kettle — Chief Executive Officer
- Alexander Barber — Interim Chief Financial Officer
- Ilyssa DeCasperis — Chief People Officer
- Don Del Rio — General Counsel
- Don Filippi — Interim Chief Operations Officer
- Darrel Fizer — Interim Chief Safety, Security & Compliance Officer
- Justin Fornelli — Chief, Program Delivery
- Elisabeth Lazuardi — Senior Manager, Audit
- Melvin Lee — Chief Technology Officer
- Noelia Rodriguez — Chief of Staff
- Jennifer Vides — Chief Customer Experience Officer
Darren M. Kettle
Chief Executive Officer
Darren Kettle is Chief Executive Officer of Metrolink, Southern California’s regional passenger rail service that provides a safe, easy, affordable, and stress-free alternative to car travel for the more than 18 million residents of the six-county mega-region. He became the Metrolink CEO in September 2021.
Kettle has more than 30 years of experience with local and regional government agencies. Before joining Metrolink, Kettle was the Executive Director of the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) for 14 years. Previously, Kettle was with the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) from 2000 through 2007. Early in his SANBAG tenure, Kettle was Director of Intergovernmental and Legislative Affairs for both SANBAG and the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC).
Kettle has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master’s in Public Administration from California State University, San Bernardino.
Interim Chief Financial Officer
Alexander Barber is the Interim Chief Financial Officer for Metrolink, responsible for overseeing the controller/treasurer, budgets and financial analysis, contracts and procurement, general accounting and payroll, grants administration and fiscal management, along with accounts receivable and payable.
Barber joined the Metrolink team in 2018 and has 17 years of finance and accounting experience including 5 years with Cast & Crew Entertainment Services leading the accounting and accounts payable teams, and 6 years with the Target Corporation as a lead on the assurance, sales accounting and operations, and financial services teams.
Barber is a Certified Public Accountant and has earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of St Thomas, Minneapolis.
Chief People Officer
Ilyssa DeCasperis is the Chief People Officer of Metrolink, responsible for leading strategies and processes to build and retain team members. She is also the agency’s Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.
DeCasperis brings more than 32 years of legal experience and 20 years in HR management to the position, including a deep background in healthcare.
She has been Vice President of Human Resources at Doctors Hospital in Riverside, where among other responsibilities, she developed and implemented employee experience strategies. Prior to that, she spent two years at New York City MTA in labor relations.
DeCasperis is a classic car enthusiast and has owned numerous classic muscle cars. While she believes life is a highway, when it comes to work, her motto is “We are here to be Human and Resourceful.”
Don Del Rio
Don Del Rio joined Metrolink in early 2012 as its first in-house General Counsel. He brings over 20 years of legal experience from both private and public corporation as well as public agency environments, which includes San Diego Data Processing Corporation, Security Escrow & Trust, Inc., DVI Financial Services, Inc., and Bell Atlantic Corporation.
Del Rio established a new legal department for Metrolink and provides daily advice and counsel to the CEO, senior staff, and Board of Directors. This includes areas of governance, a wide range of contractual and transactional matters affecting operations and procurement, assisting Human Resources staff, and litigation management.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Notre Dame, and Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis.
Interim Chief Operations Officer
Don Filippi is responsible for ensuring a safe and secure environment for rail passengers, employees and the community while maintaining partnerships with federal and local law enforcement.
Filippi leads Metrolink initiatives to develop and implement safety measures systemwide to enhance Metrolink’s safety performance and organizational culture. He will also oversee programs to prevent and respond to train incidents.
With more than 24 years’ transportation experience, Filippi has served as chief operating officer for rail of the North County Transit District in Oceanside, Calif., served for five years at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), rising to the position of superintendent, transit operations and safety section and 14 years with Union Pacific Railroad, starting as a conductor and rising to manager of operations.
Filippi studied criminal justice at Lane College in Eugene, Ore. and business development at the University of California, San Diego.
Interim Chief of System Safety, Security, and Compliance
Darrell Fizer is the Interim Chief of Safety & Security for Metrolink responsible for developing and implementing safety measures systemwide to enhance Metrolink’s safety performance and organizational culture. He also oversees programs to prevent and respond to train incidents.
Fizer brings 23 years of railroad experience to the position, most recently as Metrolink’s Assistant Director of Safety. Previously, he has worked for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) as an operating inspector and then later as a grade crossing inspector in southern California. Fizer was promoted to an Instructor in the FRA’s Technical Training Division in Pueblo, Colo., where he instructed in multiple disciplines.
He spent 2010-2013 with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as an operating practice inspector and was promoted to the position of Senior Supervisor with oversight of multiple disciplines in the rail safety division. He began his railroad career with the Union Pacific railroad as a conductor, engineer. He was promoted to Remote Control Instructor, later becoming a Manager of Operating practice.
Fizer received a degree in electronic engineering from ITT. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and served during the Gulf War.
Chief, Program Delivery
Justin Fornelli is Chief of Program Delivery for Metrolink. Fornelli directs staff and teams of consultants on the delivery of Metrolink’s capital programs including rehabilitation, new capital expansion and third-party projects. He oversees Metrolink’s long term planning for the Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion (SCORE) Program, Metrolink’s 10-year, $10 billion plan to re-build the region’s rail infrastructure to allow for more frequent service prior to the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Fornelli serves as representative of Metrolink’s operational and engineering interests on large third-party projects, such as the Foothill Gold Line Phase 2B Extension, Link US Project and California High Speed Rail project.
Fornelli has more than 20-years’ experience in freight and passenger rail having previously served as Director of Transit and Rail Programs for the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA), one of Metrolink’s member agencies. He also was Chief Rail Engineer for North County Transit District (NCTD) in San Diego County and Senior Supervising Engineer to the Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA) for Parsons Brinckerhoff.
Fornelli is a California Profession Civil Engineer and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Davis.
Fornelli is married and has two sons, who he enjoys coaching in football, soccer and baseball.
Senior Manager, Audit
Elisabeth Lazuardi is Senior Manager, Audit at Metrolink responsible for overseeing and managing the Internal Audit team to conduct audits in accordance with Board of Directors-approved Annual Audit Plan and in compliance with auditing standards. Lazuardi ensures the completion of the annual agency-wide risk assessment, coordination of external audits and monitoring of corrective actions from the past audits.
Lazuardi has 13 years’ public accounting firm experience including at PKF in Glendale, Calif. and Hutchinson & Bloodgood, LLP.
Lazuardi earned a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Accounting degree from USC.
Chief Technology Officer
Melvin Lee joined Metrolink in 2020 as its first Chief Technology Officer. He brings over 20 years of information technology management experience to Metrolink from his work with Albuquerque Public Schools, Technology Integration Group, and the New Mexico Department of Public Safety/New Mexico State Police.
Lee is responsible for the vision, leadership, and planning required to transform the agency technologically. In this new role, he will define and communicate the agency’s technological vision and top priorities with transparency and take a proactive, service-oriented and strategic approach to agency partnerships.
Lee received his Master of Business Administration in Technology Management at the University of Phoenix and is currently working on his Ph.D. from Walden University in Information Systems Management.
Melvin Lee is a veteran of the United States Air Force.
Chief of Staff
As Chief of Staff, Noelia Rodriguez serves as a top advisor to the CEO, responsible for managing customer relations, driving excellence in performance and reporting for Metrolink.
An accomplished executive, Rodriguez has worked in several prominent roles including Communications Director for First Lady Laura Bush, Deputy Mayor for Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, and President and CEO of LA 2000, the Host Committee for the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. She’s held C-suite positions at the Port of Long Beach and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). She started her career at Southern California Edison, as a spokesperson, public relations and advertising manager in corporate communications.
Rodriguez was selected to be a Resident Fellow at Harvard University’s prestigious Institute of Politics then recruited to be the Director of The Kennedy School’s, John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum. She was also Vice President of Corporate Communications at Univision Communications - the country's largest provider of Spanish-language content.
She is a standing member of the planning committee for the biennial Leadership California Goes to DC Women’s Program and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University, Los Angeles.
Chief Customer Experience Officer
Jennifer Vides leads the team responsible for enhancing the experience for Metrolink customers – starting from the moment they learn about the service and try it for the first time, and through every subsequent touch point. Functionally, Vides directs CX, customer and market insights, customer relations, branding, marketing & communications and public information.
Previously, Vides oversaw brand strategy, integrated marketing, communications and business intelligence for the Public Media Group of Southern California, formed by the merger of PBS SoCal and KCETLink Media Group. Vides played a key role in the merger, driving market research to inform brand and programming integration, and leading a marketing campaign to inform the community about the benefits of the merger.
Vides previously directed marketing departments and launched new brands at national specialty retailers Hot Topic and Gymboree, and led campaigns for clients of global public relations firms Burson-Marsteller and Weber Shandwick. Vides specializes in navigating challenges for organizations undergoing transitions including mergers, corporate turnarounds, brand repositioning, product recalls, litigation and more.
Raised in Central America and the Caribbean, Vides is fluent in Spanish and proficient in French. She holds B.S. degrees in Communications and French from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.