Metrolink CEO Darren Kettle on Thursday announced the appointments of Don Filippi as chief operations officer and Arnold Hackett as chief financial officer, and the addition of Paul Hubler as chief strategy officer. The appointments follow Kettle’s selection as CEO of the region’s premier passenger rail service in September 2021.
“We have ambitious plans to transform Metrolink into the backbone of the region’s transportation system – one that enables people to connect to opportunity, family and fun across all six counties,” Kettle said. “Achieving our vision as we emerge from the pandemic will require a strong leadership team that brings both focus and innovation. We are thrilled with Don’s and Arnold’s vital contributions to the team from their previous interim roles and look forward to the fresh perspectives, ideas and connections that Paul will bring as he joins our dynamic team.”
As the interim Metrolink COO since February 2021, Filippi has led the operations team through the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those challenges included ensuring the continuity of operations, implementing enhanced cleaning and sanitizing practices and optimizing train schedules to meet the evolving needs of essential workers.
Filippi brings nearly 27 years of freight and passenger rail experience from both the public and private sectors, and an extensive background in safety and operations. Before assuming the interim chief operations role, he was overseeing Metrolink’s safety, security and compliance program since December 2018. Filippi joined Metrolink in 2018 from the North County Transit District (NCTD), where he served as chief operations officer and chief safety officer. Prior to NCTD, Filippi served for five years at the California Public Utilities Commission, rising to the position of superintendent, rail transit safety section, and 14 years with Union Pacific Railroad, where he served as a switchman, a locomotive engineer, and ultimately rose to a manager of operating practices.
Hackett joined the agency as a technology consultant in May 2019. He subsequently proved to be a strong leader and held several interim executive roles throughout the pandemic including chief financial officer from March 2020 through May 2021. Hackett is credited with implementing process and policy enhancements that improved Metrolink’s financials and transparency. In May 2021, Hackett was selected by the Metrolink Board of Directors as its interim CEO following the departure of Stephanie Wiggins. When Kettle assumed the CEO position in September 2021, Hackett was tapped as interim chief strategy officer.
Hackett has more than 30 years of experience in the private technology industry at the Xerox Corporation where he served as vice president and general manager of Alliance and Partnership Management. His career experiences have made him an expert in research, strategy development, technical project/program management, business development and global process improvement initiatives. He holds a Bachelor of Science from UCLA, a Master of Science in computer science from California State University, Long Beach, and an MBA from the University of Southern California.
Hubler will join Metrolink on Feb. 28 as the chief strategy officer, providing executive oversight and leadership for planning, government and community relations, sustainability initiatives and railroad services. 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 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 and an MPA from the University of La Verne. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Mobility 21, southern California’s regional transportation advocacy coalition.
[Information via news release from Metrolink.]