Tom Richards, Vice Chair
Mr. Thomas Richards is Chair and CEO of The Penstar Group,a Fresno-based real estate investment, development and construction company. His projects have extended from Santa Barbara to the Central Valley, from Sacramento to Bakersfield and in the Inland Empire from Corona to Victorville.
Mr. Richards works with local government leaders to address homelessness issues in both the City and County of Fresno. He chaired the Planning Council that prepared the 10 Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, sits on the Leadership Council for the same and chairs the Fresno Mayor's Fresno First Steps Home Initiative.
He was a leader in an initiative to fund, develop and construct a hospitality home in support of families of patients at Community Regional Medical Center's Level 1 Trauma and Burn Center. The first phase of Terry's House, which includes 20 suites, completed in 2010 and is named for his brother Terry Richards.
Mr. Richards is a past member or director of the Business Advisory Council for Valley Public Television, the 21st District Agricultural Association and Fresno Unified School District's Measure K Oversight Committee. He currently is a board member of Fresno's Property Based Improvement District, Vice Chair of Fresno Chaffee Zoo Corporation and Chair of both the Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board and Premier Valley Bank.
Mr. Richards is a licensed real estate broker and general contractor. He lives in Fresno.
Appointed by the Governor.
Andre Boutros, Board Member
Andre Boutros retired from public service in December 2014, after more than 30 years of direct involvement in the development and preservation of California’s transportation infrastructure, with extensive focus on program and project delivery, and transportation policy and finance.
Andre had staffed the California Transportation Commission since 2007, holding the positions of Chief Program Delivery Officer and Chief Deputy Director, leading to his appointment to the Executive Director in January 2013. While with the Commission, Andre also served as a member of the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee, overseeing the construction of the new East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and other Bay Area Toll structures, and a member of the California Transportation Financing Authority, charged with the issuance of revenue bonds to finance transportation projects.
Prior to joining the Commission, Andre spent over 23 years with the California Department of Transportation, holding numerous technical and leadership positions, with extensive involvement in bridge and highway engineering, and program and policy development and implementation.
Andre holds a civil engineering degree from Sacramento State, and is a California-registered civil engineer.
Appointed by the Speaker.
Ernesto M. Camacho, Board Member
Ernest Camacho, of Pasadena, founded Pacifica Services, Inc. in 1979 and currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer. Pacifica Serves specializes in program, project and construction management services as well as civil and electronic engineering.
Mr. Camacho has also has been active in the Southern California community through his volunteer work. He is a current Board Member for the Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce. He also served as a Foundation Board Member of the White Memorial Hospital, Chairman of the Board for Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, Board of Trustees for the Claremont Graduate University, the Board of Regents for the Loyola Marymount University, Chairman of the Board for the Center for Community and Family Services and was the Chairman of the Board for the Rail Construction Corporation which was responsible for the design and construction of the Blue, Red and Green line in Los Angeles County.
Appointed by the Senate.
Martha M. Escutia, Board Member
Martha M. Escutia, former California State Senator, was appointed vice president for USC Government Relations, effective May 1, 2013. Ms. Escutia oversees the university’s federal, state and local government relations.
Immediately prior to joining USC, Ms. Escutia was a partner at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, a law and consulting firm she co-founded, that provides strategic, legal, legislative, regulatory, and policy advice to a wide array of clients. She was also a partner at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips from 2007 to 2010.
Ms. Escutia was a member of the California State Senate from 1998 to 2006 and a member of the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1998. She was the first woman Chair of both the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees.
She has served as a guest lecturer at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and as an adjunct professor in the political science department at East Los Angeles Community College. She currently serves on the Board of the California Emerging Technology Fund, a $100 million fund aimed at bridging the digital divide. She has also served on the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science Board of Trustees and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.
Ms. Escutia received her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University and her Bachelor of Science from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi.
Appointed by the Speaker.
James C. Ghielmetti, Board Member
James C. Ghielmetti is Chief Executive Officer of Signature Homes, Inc., the Northern California land development and homebuilding firm, headquartered in Pleasanton, California that he founded in 1983. Signature is well known throughout the greater Bay Area and Sacramento regions for its diverse product offerings including residential, mixed-use, commercial and its master planned communities.
Mr. Ghielmetti focused on local transportation issues by chairing the Transportation Committee of the Tri-Valley Business Council, serving on the Alameda County Transportation Authority Expenditure Plan Development Committee, and the Solutions on Sunol Coalition Leadership.
In 2000, Mr. Ghielmetti served on the Governor’s Commission for the 21st Century, a group charged with developing a blueprint for California to follow in addressing transportation, housing, environmental and other issues of the 21st Century.
Mr. Ghielmetti served on the California Transportation Commission from 2003 to 2018. He served as Vice Chair from March 1, 2006 through February 28, 2007 and from March 1, 2011 through February 28, 2013 He served as Chair from March 1, 2007 through February 28, 2008 and March 1, 2013 through February 28, 2014.
Mr. Ghielmetti serves on the California Housing Alliance, a new homebuilding advocacy group, which he co-founded in 2017 that advocates for legislative and regulatory reforms that advance increased housing opportunities for all Californians.
Mr. Ghielmetti is currently a member of the Policy Advisory Board for the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at the University of California, Berkeley.
Mr. Ghielmetti is a graduate of the University of Denver. He currently resides in San Francisco with his wife, Laurie.
Appointed by the Governor.
Nancy Miller, Board Member
Nancy C. Miller, of Sacramento, is a Partner at the law firm of Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP. Ms. Miller has over 30 years of experience in providing legal services to numerous public agency and private clients, including cities, counties, local agency formation commissions (LAFCO), special districts, joint powers authorities, transportation commissions, and councils of governments.
Prior to joining Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai, Ms. Miller was the President of Miller & Owen, a Sacramento law firm that provided legal services across California. Ms. Miller also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and currently serves on the Board of Governors of the University of California, Hastings College of Law in San Francisco.
Ms. Miller also serves on the Boards of both the KVIE Public Broadcasting Station and the Sacramento Federal Judicial Library and Learning Center Foundation.
Appointed by the Governor.
Henry Perea, Board Member
Bio coming soon.
Appointed by the Senate.
Lynn Schenk, Board Member
Lynn Schenk is an attorney and senior corporate advisor. She serves on the Board of Directors of Cambridge, Mass. based Biogen Idec,(NASDAQ BIIB), the Board of Trustees of the Scripps Research Institute, and the Board of the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. In 2006, she completed her term as a commissioner of the California Medical Assistance Commission.
Ms. Schenk served as Chief of Staff to California Governor Gray Davis from 1999 to 2003. As Chief of Staff to the Governor, she oversaw the day to day operations of state government through the 12 Cabinet agencies and more than 75 departments and offices. She managed the Governor's office staff of about 200 and had the homeland security office, the National Guard, and the Office of Emergency Services reporting directly to her. She was the Governor's chief executive and top policy advisor.
In 1992, Ms. Schenk became the first woman elected to the United States House of Representatives to represent the San Diego area. As a member of the 103d Congress, Congresswoman Schenk sat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its subcommittees on Telecommunications and Finance, and Transportation and Hazardous Materials. She also sat on the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee.
Ms. Schenk was an active member of the 103d Congress, focusing on telecommunications, biotechnology, transportation, deficit reduction (she was involved in the formulation of the historic 1993 Budget Act), women and family issues, and victims of crime. Although a first term member, among her House colleagues, Ms. Schenk was the recognized congressional leader on matters related to biotechnology and high-speed rail.
Her work on U.S.-Mexico border issues resulted in hundreds of new border patrol agents, and a border sewage treatment plant. Her accomplishment in establishing a new commuter lane to ease vehicle traffic at the border (now known as SENTRI), is acknowledged as a turning point in cross border commuting. From 1978 to 1983, Ms. Schenk served in the Cabinet of Governor Jerry Brown as California's Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing (the first woman to hold this Cabinet post). She was responsible for a budget of nearly $2 billion, 32,000 employees and 14 departments ranging from Banking, Insurance and Corporations to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Transportation (CALTRANS), and the Highway Patrol. She also had primary responsibility in the Cabinet for California's international trade relations, focusing on Mexico, Canada and the Pacific Rim nations.
Prior to her state Cabinet appointment, Ms. Schenk served as a Deputy Attorney General in the criminal division of the California Attorney General's office, followed by several years as an in-house lawyer to the San Diego Gas & Electric Company. In 1976, she was appointed a White House Fellow by President Ford serving as a special assistant to Vice- Presidents Nelson Rockefeller and Walter Mondale.
Ms. Schenk has combined many years of private sector experience with public service. She has practiced general business law in San Diego, co-founded a community bank, was "special counsel" to a large international law firm and has served on the Board of Directors of several publicly traded companies.
Ms. Schenk has been deeply involved in the San Diego community as a civic volunteer. She was a Commissioner (and Vice-Chair of the Board) of the San Diego Unified Port District. She has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the San Diego Symphony and the Red Cross. Her contributions have been recognized with many awards and honors.
Ms. Schenk earned a B.A. from UCLA, a Juris Doctorate from the University of San Diego School of Law, and did post law school graduate work at the London School of Economics.
Appointed by the Governor.
Ex Officio Board Member
Honorable Dr. Joaquin Arambula
Dr. Joaquin Arambula was elected in April 2016 in a special election to represent California’s 31st Assembly District. Assembly member Arambula now serves the cities of Biola, Bowles, Calwa, Cantua Creek, Caruthers, Coalinga, Del Rey, Easton, Firebaugh, Fowler, Huron, Kerman, Kingsburg, Mendota, Monmouth, Orange Cove, Parlier, Raisin City, Reedley, San Joaquin, Sanger, Selma, Tranquility and approximately 41% of the City of Fresno.
Dr. Arambula (D-Fresno) is the first Latino physician ever elected to the State Assembly. Prior to running for office, Dr. Arambula served as Medical Director of California Emergency Physicians at Adventist-Selma Hospital. As a member of the State Assembly, he is using his experience as an emergency physician to advance the precept that health care is a fundamental human right.
Dr. Arambula attended medical school with the goal of serving rural communities similar to where he was raised.
Since his election, he has focused on the shortage of doctors in the Central Valley. To help this shortage in rural communities, Dr. Arambula has been a vocal advocate for building a new medical school in the San Joaquin Valley, with the hope of encouraging more trained medical professional to remain in their communities.
As a doctor, he has been on the frontlines of some of the most serious challenges and has seen the issues that impact the lives of Valley residents. His experience working in the emergency room galvanized his commitment to ensuring that everyone, regardless of their social or economic status, receives the care they deserve. Seeing patients in the emergency room taught him that investment in preventative care is key to building healthier communities.
Communities in the district Dr. Arambula represents are some of the most disadvantaged in the state, with some of the highest poverty rates and highest exposure to environmental pollution. To that end, he has been working to ensure that pollution prevention programs are benefiting the areas most impacted by greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
He is also focused on workforce development and improving access to and availability of water in the Central Valley. He is currently working closely with the San Joaquin Valley delegation in advocating for the Temperance Flat Dam.
He was born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley and his parents instilled in him a commitment to hard work and public service, as well as a dedication to making the Central Valley a better place to live, work and raise a family. Dr. Arambula said that he and his siblings learned from their parents the importance of giving back to the community: “They instilled in us a deep commitment for helping those less fortunate.”
Dr. Arambula and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Fresno with their three daughters.
Assembly member Arambula was appointed as an Ex Officio member of the Board by the Speaker of the California State Assembly in May 2017.
Honorable Jim Beall
Senator Jim Beall, of San Jose, has served as State Senator for the 15th District since 2012. He previously served in the State Assembly, on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and on the San Jose City Council. Over the course of his career in public service, Senator Beall has amassed over 30 years of expertise and knowledge in transportation, tackling a wide range of road, mass transit, and highway projects.
Beall, who represents the cities of San Jose, Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Monte Sereno, serves as chairman for the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. Beall has a long record of championing mass transit projects to reduce traffic congestion and pollution.
His work includes securing funding to extend BART to San Jose and setting the stage for the electrification of Caltrain from San Francisco to San Jose. He is also the author of SB 9, the Transit, and Intercity Rail Capital Program, to ensure rail mass transit projects can receive long-term funding from Cap and Trade revenue to speed construction. And, he successfully passed SB 628, legislation to enable local governments to construct roads, utility infrastructure, and affordable housing around transportation centers by creating enhanced infrastructure finance districts.
Senator Beall was appointed as an Ex Officio member of the Board by the California State Senate Rules Committee in March 2017.
Chief Executive Officer
Brian P. Kelly, CEO
On January, 16, 2018, the Board of Directors selected Brian P. Kelly as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. He comes to the Authority with a wealth of experience in transportation. Kelly served as the first secretary of the new California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA), an agency created in 2013, which focused solely on transportation. At CalSTA, Kelly oversaw eight departments, boards and comissions 38,000 employees and a budget of $18.1 billion – one of the largest portfolios in the State of California.
At CalSTA, he was responsible for a variety of complex transportation issues which directly impacted almost every Californian, the state’s economy, public safety, highway construction and maintenance, and public transit. During his tenure, his many accomplishments included passing Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the single largest investement in California’s transportation infrastructure, moving forward the nation’s first state rulemaking to allow the test and deployment of autonomous vehicles, and breaking ground on the first high-speed rail system in the nation in California’s Central Valley.
Prior to that, Kelly had spent almost two decades at the center of major transportation policy decisions in the state of California by serving four successive Senate President pro Tempores. He was executive staff director for Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg from 2008 to 2012. He was executive principal consultant for Senate President pro Tempore Don Perata from 2004 to 2008, principal consultant for Senate President pro Tempore John Burton from 1998 to 2004, and assistant consultant for Senate President pro Tempore Bill Lockyer from 1995 to 1998.