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Executive Team

Darren M. Kettle


Chief Executive Officer

Darren Kettle

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.

 

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Frank Castellon


Chief Safety, Security & Compliance Officer

Arun Chakladar

Frank Castellon became the Chief Safety, Security & Compliance Officer for Metrolink in May 2022. Castellon oversees programs that continuously improve safety protocols for the agency and promote a proactive safety culture resulting in safer transit operations for all.

Castellon has nearly 20 years of experience in passenger rail, light rail and bus transit safety and security having previously worked with the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District (TriMet) in Portland, Phoenix Valley Metro, LA Metro and Bombardier Transportation North American.

Castellon earned a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety and Health from Columbia Southern University where he is currently completing a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership.

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Elisa Cunningham


Chief Technology Officer

Elisa Cunningham

Elisa Cunningham joined Metrolink in September 2022 as its Chief Technology Officer with responsibility and oversight of the agency’s digital strategy. Cunningham directs staff and teams in the agency’s Information Technology, Fare Collections and Positive Train Control (PTC) systems divisions.

Cunningham brings over 30 years of experience in technology and leadership of multidisciplinary teams enabling business transformation and deploying new technologies in public and private organizations across various industries including Aerospace & Defense, Gas & Utilities, State & Local Government and Public Transit. She has held leadership roles at the County of Riverside, City of Dallas, L3Harris, EDS, and Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

She has been the assistant Vice President of Technology at Dallas area rapid Transit, where she implemented an agency-wide Enterprise Asset Management program, Data Science/Intelligence, Governance models, and Web/Mobile product development to enhance business operations and customer strategies.

Cunningham has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Louisiana State University, and an MBA with an Information Systems concentration from the University of Redlands. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Denver focusing on Strategy and Innovation.

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Ilyssa DeCasperis


Chief People Officer

Ilyssa DeCasperis

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 holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from St. John’s University and Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School.

She 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.” 

 

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Don Del Rio


General Counsel

Donald Del RioDon 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.

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Don Filippi


Chief Operating Officer

Don FilippiDon 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.

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Justin Fornelli


Chief, Program Delivery

Justin FornelliJustin 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.

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Arnold Hackett


Chief Financial Officer

Arnold Hacket

Arnold Hackett is Chief Financial Officer of Metrolink. As CFO, Arnold is responsible for budgets and financial analysis, contracts and procurement, payroll, grants, accounts receivable and payable.

Hackett, who was previously the Interim Chief Executive Officer for Metrolink, joined the agency in May 2019. He has more than 30 years’ experience in private technology industry at Xerox Corporation; he has served as Vice President and General Manager of Alliance and Partnership Management, positions in research, engineering, strategy development, technical project/program management, business development and global process / performance improvement initiatives.

Arnold holds a BS from UCLA, an MS in Computer Science from CSULB, an MBA from USC, and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

 

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Paul Hubler


Chief Strategy Officer

Paul Hubler

Paul Hubler is Chief Strategy Officer for Metrolink, providing executive oversight and leadership to the Planning and Development, Government and Community Relations, Sustainability, and Railroad Services departments. He is responsible for overseeing strategic planning, legislative programs and regulatory strategies and funding major implementation initiatives. He joined Metrolink in early 2022.

Hubler has more than 25 years of experience in transportation policy and legislative and public affairs. Prior to joining Metrolink, Hubler was the Director of Government and Community Relations for the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments for 14 years, responsible for securing grant funding for the Alameda Corridor-East rail infrastructure construction program in Los Angeles County. He previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff to a Southern California member of the U.S. House of Representatives and as legislative aide to a California State Senator.

Hubler has a Bachelor’s Degree from Pitzer College in Claremont, California and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of La Verne. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Mobility 21, Southern California’s regional transportation advocacy coalition.

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Scott Johnson


Interim Chief Customer Experience Officer

Scott Johnson

Scott Johnson is the Interim Chief Customer Experience Officer, responsible for leading the agency’s customer relations, customer and market insights, communications and public relations, marketing and branding, advertising, digital and social media, along with the agency’s corporate partner program. He is also the agency’s Director of Communications. Scott Johnson has been our Director of Communications since May 2021 and has also been a part of Metrolink’s public affairs family since 2012. 

Scott brings 25 years of public affairs and communications experience to this role, and he recently concluded an 11-year career in the Army National Guard. His service in the U.S. Army included a combat deployment to Afghanistan, reaching the rank of captain as a Human Resources Officer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from California State University, San Bernardino.

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Elisabeth Lazuardi


Senior Manager, Audit

Elisabeth Lazuardi

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.

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Noelia Rodriguez


Chief of Staff

Noelia Rodriguez

As Chief of Staff, Noelia Rodriguez serves as a top advisor to the CEO, 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.

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