WTS cites RTA’s mission of advancing women in the transit industry

The Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) has long been a champion of recruiting, retaining and advancing women in the transit industry. Now the Agency has a regional award to prove it.

The Inland Empire chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), an international organization that promotes female leadership in the transportation industry, has recognized RTA with an Employer of the Year Award. The award goes to RTA for its focus on empowering and engaging women whether they are driving the buses or serving in executive roles.

“RTA has worked hard to create a workplace culture that celebrates diversity and provides opportunities for women to thrive in their careers,” said RTA Chief Executive Officer Larry Rubio. “I am so proud of the women in this industry who are doing extraordinary things and keeping this complex business of public transit moving.”

Over the past 10 years, RTA has more than quadrupled the number of women serving in executive positions with plenty more in management roles. In the past year alone, four women have been promoted to management or executive positions. None more significant than the recent advancement of Kristin Warsinski who was unanimously chosen by Board members this fall to be RTA’s next chief executive officer, filling a position held by Rubio who has had the title since 2001.

Women are certainly having a high impact at RTA. In fact, women either manage or direct operations, human resources, contract operations, finance, procurement and planning departments. Plus the number of female coach operators has grown from 43 percent a decade ago to nearly 50 percent today.

In 2019, RTA welcomed its first female maintenance supervisor and the number of female servicers who ensure buses are cleaned, fueled and ready for the day, has climbed from just one a decade ago to eight today, an increase of 700 percent. The Agency’s executive team, which is comprised of 11 members, has changed drastically over the years to include more women. Ten years ago, only one person in the group was female. Now five members, or 45 percent are female.

One of them is Chief Administrative Services Officer Laura Camacho, who has overseen RTA’s human resources department for the past 20 years. Camacho has also benefitted from RTA paying some of her bachelor’s and all of her master’s degree to help advance her career.

“RTA is thrilled to be part of an effort to build a gender diverse workforce where people feel valued,” Camacho said. “There’s no doubt that when we have women in the workforce serving in a variety of roles, we are putting ourselves in a position to provide a great experience for our diverse group of customers, empower and engage our workforce and be a sustainable business for the long haul.”

Female leadership isn’t limited to staff. RTA’s governing board, which is comprised of 22 elected officials from 18 cities and four members of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, has been female-led for four of the past five years. Current Chair Linda Krupa served in both 2017 and 2021 and previous Chair Bridgette Moore served from 2018 to 2020. Both women have helped the Agency safely steer through the financial challenges of the pandemic and introduce a variety of ambitious programs including mobile ticketing and free rides for youth and college students.

“This award is a testament to the work RTA does every day to provide a service that not only focuses on customer service, but also celebrates the people who are delivering the service,” Krupa said. “RTA wants to reflect the community it serves and that means committing to a more diverse and inclusive workplace.”

The award comes during a significant period for RTA which is working hard to rebound from the pandemic and give its customers more reasons to ride the bus. Over the next few years, RTA is expected to kick off a microtransit pilot program in the Hemet-San Jacinto area, create new transit centers in Riverside and Hemet, and welcome a new fleet of clean-air buses.

Jillian Guizado, who is the president of the local WTS chapter, said the award couldn’t have come at a better time. “RTA deserves a lot of credit for advancing women in the transportation industry,” Guizado said. “With their focus on equality, the recent appointment of a female CEO, and their ongoing commitment to community, RTA is certainly leading the charge in how business should be done.”

Riverside County native Kristin Warsinski takes leadership of the Agency

Kristin Warsinski will be Riverside Transit Agency’s (RTA) new chief executive officer, filling a position currently held by Larry Rubio who has held the title since 2001.
The RTA Board of Directors unanimously approved Warsinski as the Agency’s new leader during their meeting on October 28.

Warsinski officially assumes her new role on December 31.

Warsinski will take leadership of an organization that looks to rebound from the pandemic by building ridership, continuing to make good use of taxpayer dollars, focusing on equitable service and fostering healthy bonds with the community. Several ambitious projects are already in the works, including the creation of a transit hub in Riverside, the launch of microtransit service in San Jacinto and Hemet, and the transition to a zero-emission bus fleet.

“I am truly honored and humbled to lead the best transit agency in the nation,” Warsinski said. “RTA has a proud history of serving the community and providing world-class transportation for the people of Riverside County. I look forward to building on that momentum and partnering with our talented employees and community partners to provide an exceptional service that our customers can be proud of in the weeks, months and years ahead.”

A Riverside County native, Warsinski has more than a decade of service in the public transit industry. As RTA’s director of planning, she oversaw the development of RTA’s routes and schedules, short-range transit plans, and grant applications from federal, state and local sources. Warsinski also spearheaded RTA’s Zero-Emission Bus Rollout Plan, an ambitious blueprint for converting RTA’s entire fleet to hydrogen-powered buses. She also led the Agency through the Transportation Development Act and Federal Transportation Administration triennial audits, both of which resulted in perfect reviews, ensuring the Agency’s ongoing competitiveness in acquiring future grant money.

Since her arrival to RTA more than six years ago, Warsinski has also served as grants manager and planning and programming specialist. Prior to RTA, she held various administrative positions with the City of Beaumont. She has a master’s degree in public administration from California Baptist University and a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from UC Irvine.

Public service runs in her family. In fact, Warsinski is the second-generation daughter of a career city government executive — something that she credits for helping familiarize her with the innerworkings of the public sector, the fine art of business management and the importance of having empathy for constituents. “I am excited to keep the Agency’s mission alive, its core values in the forefront and its employees challenged, focused and inspired,” she said. “I will work tirelessly to maximize our success as we enter a future ripe with possibility.”

Linda Krupa, Hemet City Councilmember and Chair of the RTA Board of Directors, said Warsinski will bring a fresh perspective and a unique level of expertise to the Agency.

“Kristin Warsinski brings the necessary leadership experience and skills to guide and implement RTA’s service goals for years to come,” Krupa said. “This is an exciting time for public transportation as we all work to recover from the pandemic and look to rebuild, inspire and give our customers more reasons to ride the bus.”