NJ TRANSIT BOARD MEMBER FLORA CASTILLO ELECTED VICE CHAIR OF APTA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
September 30, 2011
NEWARK, NJ — The American Public Transportation Association (APTA), a nonprofit international association of more than 1,500 transit agencies, elected its 2011-2012 Executive Committee and Board of Directors last week, naming NJ TRANSIT Board member Flora M. Castillo as Vice Chair of the APTA Board.
Ms. Castillo was first appointed to the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors in 1999 by then-Governor Christine Todd Whitman. She currently chairs the Board’s Customer Service and Administration committees, overseeing an annual budget of more than $3 billion and 11,000 employees.
“During her tenure as an NJ TRANSIT Board member, Flora Castillo has maintained a sharp focus on the needs of the State’s public transit customers,” said New Jersey Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman James Simpson. “As Vice Chair of the APTA Board of Directors, I know she will bring her passion for advocating for transit riders to the national level, while continuing to concentrate on initiatives that are in the best interests of New Jersey’s rail, bus and light rail riders.”
“Flora possesses a great understanding of the transportation industry and knows what is its most important asset—the transit customer,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director James Weinstein. “She will not only bring valuable insight to her role as Vice Chair of the APTA Board, but she will broaden her horizons as an NJ TRANSIT Board Member, which will benefit the agency and our customers as we move forward with key initiatives to improve the customer experience.”
Active with the association since 1999, Ms. Castillo has served in various capacities, including as an APTA Board member, as well as an executive committee member as Vice Chair of Transit Board Members. In that position, she helped to increase board members’ participation in APTA committees and initiated activities to enhance professional development. Her accomplishments include participation in the development of a training curriculum for Transit Board members in partnership with the National Transit Institute and the ENO Foundation.
She also initiated a program where APTA Board Members are invited to write articles for Passenger Transport Magazine, enabling them to share their experiences with other board members around the country. In addition, she conceived the idea of quarterly webinars for Board members to share best practices around the country, in which hundreds of Board members participated.
Last October, Ms. Castillo was honored by APTA as the 2010 Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member for her contributions to the public transportation industry.
During her tenure at NJ TRANSIT, Ms. Castillo has worked diligently to ensure quality service for customers, including increased seating capacity, cleaner trains and buses, and new equipment, and she played a key role in enhancing customer amenities for new multilevel rail cars that NJ TRANSIT has been placing into service on its busiest rail lines.
In 2003, she launched the Corporation’s first-ever Transit Academy Workforce Awareness and Readiness Program, formed to expose high school students and young adults to the different career opportunities within the transportation industry and to help those who become interested acquire the underlying skills to successfully compete for and secure these jobs. She believes that the transportation field must be at the table when these students finish college and select career paths and to date, more than 400 high school students have participated in the program. Just recently, the Transit Academy was recognized by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and was one of six recipients nationwide that received a two-year FTA demonstration grant in the amount of $183,900 to expand the program.
Born and raised in El Salvador, Ms. Castillo immigrated to Long Island, NY in 1981. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Long Island University. In addition to her responsibilities at NJ TRANSIT and APTA, Ms. Castillo is Vice President of Corporate Public Relations at AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies, the largest family of Medicaid Health Plans in the United States headquartered in Philadelphia. She currently resides in Atlantic County.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of more than 1,500 public and private member organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.
About NJ TRANSIT
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 164 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 19,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.