Ms. Salazar retired as San Joaquin Regional Transit District’s (RTD) Chief Executive Officer in March 2022, leaving with 30 years of experience in the transit industry. Her leadership as Deputy CEO/CFO for 18 years greatly contributed to RTD receiving the coveted Outstanding System of the Year Award by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in 2018. In 2022, RTD was awarded District of the Year for innovation by the Center of Digital Government. The same organization also gave a leadership award to Ms. Salazar.
Because of Ms. Salazar’s business acumen, RTD has consistently delivered balanced budgets without incurring long-term commercial debt. In her first year as CEO, she led her team to thoughtfully and significantly adjust the operating budget and service to minimize the impact of COVID-19 to the organization while preparing RTD for recovery and sustainability. Informed by her prior finance experience, Ms. Salazar designed effective business processes and implemented robust systems, such as initiating a financial reporting system that has earned RTD a Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) award for excellence in financial reporting for 18 consecutive years. Ms. Salazar also negotiated its Union contract and retirement plan for the first time since 2003. Ms. Salazar left RTD in a healthy financial condition without any commercial debt that will enable RTD to work its way to recovery from COVID, a much-improved funding level of its pension plan, a buildable competency training model for its employees, and a culture of fiscal responsibility, innovative mindset, and excellent performance.
A graduate of Leadership APTA (American Public Transportation Association) and a participant in two international mission studies, Ms. Salazar also served on the California Transit Finance Corporation (CFTC) board and currently teaches for University of the Pacific and previously for Willamette University for their Transit/Paratransit Management Certificate Program. In 2017, Ms. Salazar was also honored by the Central Valley Asian Chamber of Commerce for breaking through the glass ceiling in her leadership and community service. In 2016, she was also selected by her peers at RTD to receive the John Lopez award for her inspiring leadership. Ms. Salazar has been a featured speaker at various conferences as well as for high school and college students.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Ms. Salazar finished her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, magna cum laude. She left behind an already illustrious career as a Certified Public Accountant in 1987 to come to the United States. Rising through the ranks at various firms while completing a Master in Business Administration Degree, she also passed all parts of the Uniform CPA exam in the first sitting.