Staff

Executive

Nila Gonzales, Interim Executive Director

On August 18, 2020, the TJPA Board of Directors unanimously appointed Nila Gonzales as the Interim Executive Director. Ms. Gonzales has served as the Chief of Staff since 2010; she joined the TJPA in 2005 as the Office Manager. Prior to joining the TJPA, Ms. Gonzales worked for the City and County of San Francisco as the Mayor’s Director of Scheduling and subsequently for the Department of Children, Youth, and Families. Before that, she had a successful career with the San Francisco Chronicle.

As a San Francisco native, Ms. Gonzales has devoted her career to serving the City she grew up in. She advocates for innovation while preserving the innate charm and community vibe of the City. The Transbay Program is a dream project for her as it symbolizes the infinite possibilities of her hometown. Ms. Gonzales is personally involved in the community and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Young Women’s Freedom Center/Center for Young Women’s Development.

In her new role as Interim Executive Director, Ms. Gonzales’s purpose is to dutifully lead the TJPA and advance the Transbay Program by delivering the Downtown Rail Extension/Phase 2, in collaboration with the San Francisco Peninsula Rail Program Executive Steering Committee, and operating the Salesforce Transit Center and Salesforce Park in a world-class, cost effective manner in partnership with regional leaders, transit agencies and neighborhood stakeholders.

 

 

Lily Madjus Wu, Communications and Legislative Affairs Manager

Lily Madjus Wu joined the TJPA in December 2020 after working with the City and County of San Francisco for over 14 years working on public outreach, communications and government affairs. During her tenure at the City, she worked at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Mayor’s Office of Communications under then Mayor Gavin Newsom and the late Edwin Lee with her last position at the Department of Building Inspection as their Communications Director. She has diverse experience in conducting communications and public outreach as well as government affairs. Ms. Madjus Wu holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Sacramento State University and a Master of Public Administration with a focus on Urban and Strategic Management from San Francisco State University. As the Communications and Legislative Affairs Manager, she will lead development and execution of the TJPA’s communications and legislative efforts.

 

 

Facility Operations

John Updike, Facility Director

John Updike joined the TJPA in May 2020 as Facility Director, with three decades of wide-ranging public service experiences in Arizona and California. He has a deep real estate transaction and facility management background from 20 years at the City of Tucson, AZ, leaving there as the Real Estate Administrator to move to San Francisco. That was followed by 14 years at the City and County of San Francisco, much of that time as Director of Property, overseeing 4,000,000 square feet of assets across a portfolio of over 60 buildings, and advising the Mayor and Board of Supervisors on all real estate transactions.

He is thrilled to have the opportunity to guide this iconic facility after having been a part of the original acquisition program, the financing effort, and helping to develop the vision for the Center’s operations. As a resident of the downtown area, John looks forward to ensuring this property is a best-in-class, vibrant and welcoming transportation and commercial hub for residents, commuters and tourists alike.

A graduate of the University of Arizona in Regional Development, John serves on several Boards that make San Francisco a safer and more sustainable City, and in his spare time enjoys time with family and cheering on his beloved Green Bay Packers and UofA Wildcats!

 

 

Engineering

Alfonso Rodriguez, Project Director

Alfonso Rodriguez joined TJPA in July 2021 as the Downtown Rail Extension (DTX) Project Director following a career spanning three decades in the public and private sectors including executive leadership and project management roles.

Mr. Rodriguez is a California licensed Civil Engineer and Land Surveyor experienced in design and construction of a wide variety of projects including subway transit, highways and bridges, and other municipal infrastructure.  Throughout his career he has worked collaboratively with community groups, stakeholders and partnering agencies as well as elected and appointed officials towards developing and constructing projects in urban settings. As a first-generation engineer, he also engages in outreach and mentorship to underrepresented segments of the engineering community through his professional organization involvement.

As Project Director for DTX, Mr. Rodriguez provides leadership to the project delivery team and through collaboration with partnering agencies and stakeholders, is responsible for delivering Phase 2 of the Transbay Program, the Downtown Rail Extension, that will extend Caltrain commuter rail and California’s future high-speed rail service to the Salesforce Transit Center in downtown San Francisco.

 

E.R. “Skip” Sowko, Senior Design & Engineering Manager

Skip Sowko joined TJPA in March 2017 and brings more than 38 years of engineering experience gained while at the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Before joining TJPA, his extensive work in the San Francisco Bay Area included serving as a Principal Transportation Engineer (Division Chief for the Division of Design South – Caltrans, District 4) for 14 years. This experience included leadership roles as Project Director on the Presidio Parkway and Project Manager on the Tom Lantos Tunnels at Devil’s Slide. Throughout his career, Mr. Sowko has held managerial and supervisory positions in Design, Project Management, Construction, Geotechnical, and Materials. He received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at the University of California, Irvine, and is licensed as both a Civil Engineer and Geotechnical Engineer in the State of California.

 

 

Edmond Sum, Engineering Manager

Edmond Sum joined the TJPA in 2006 from EPC Consultants, Inc., a San Francisco-based program/construction management firm where he practiced as a professional engineer. Mr. Sum has provided technical expertise on major projects for the City and County of San Francisco (DPW’s Bureau of Construction Management and SF International Airport), Bay Area Rapid Transit and the San Diego County Water Authority, among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dennis Turchon, Senior Construction Manager

Dennis Turchon joined the TJPA in 2013 after working for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for 25 years. Mr. Turchon worked in various different Caltrans districts throughout the State, with 24 of those years in their construction division. Noteworthy projects in San Francisco that he handled as construction manager are the SFOBB West Approach replacement, the SFOBB West Span superstructure seismic retrofit, the SFOBB South/South detour and most recently the Doyle Drive Replacement (Phase 1). He is a licensed civil engineer in the State of California and is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering.

 

 

 

 

 

Finance/Procurement

Franklin Wong, Chief Financial Officer
Bio and Photo Coming Soon

 

Hakam Hendi, Financial & Systems Accountant 

Hakam Hendi joined the TJPA in 2017 as a Staff Accountant and was promoted to Financial & Systems Accountant in August 2021.  Before joining the TJPA, Mr. Hendi served as an associate auditor for Ernest & Young in Saudi Arabia.  Prior to that, he served as an accounting supervisor for Royal Jordanian Airlines, where he managed/reconciled major vendors’ accounts and monitored general ledger accounts for the finance department.  With a love for transportation, Mr. Hendi relocated to San Francisco in 2016, and has been able to continue his passion in the transportation industry while working for the TJPA.

Mr. Hendi holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Jordan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Davina Vrazia, Accountant II

Davina Vrazia joined the TJPA in February of 2021 following a brief staff accountant position at the TJPA as a contractor from April 2020 to December 2020.

In addition to being a class of 2018 Finance graduate from San Francisco State University, Ms. Vrazia brings over two years of accounting experience to TJPA. She has experience in General Ledger accounting, Account Payables, and Account receivables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna Tang, Management Analyst

Anna Tang joined the TJPA in 2020 as a recent graduate from the University of California, Santa Cruz. As a previous Staff Accountant, she is able to utilize her financial experience in her new role as a Management Analyst. With a background in Environmental Studies and Economics, she is excited to expand her knowledge on how sustainable infrastructure relates to environmental change. A San Francisco native, Ms. Tang cherishes the opportunity to work in her hometown amongst so many wonderful individuals. She is grateful and excited for the opportunities to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Security

Rodney Harris, Chief Security Officer

Rodney Harris joined the TJPA in December 2017 as the Deputy Chief Security Officer and became the Chief Security Officer in February 2020. He is responsible for the Safety and Security Program of the Transbay Program, including overseeing the daily physical security operations at the Transit Center and oversight of the TJPA’s comprehensive security and emergency management programs. Prior to joining TJPA, Mr. Harris served as the Security Manager for the Southern California Regional Rail Authority-Metrolink and he led the efforts on the design and development of Metrolink’s physical security program with over $15 million in federal and state railroad security grants. Prior to Metrolink, he worked in various leadership roles within the Aviation Security industry on the enforcement of CFR 49 Part 1542 (Airport Security). Mr. Harris has had the honor and privilege of serving in a leadership role protecting some of the most significant events, assets, and buildings in the United States which has allowed him to gain specific knowledge in security operations, emergency management, law enforcement operations, security awareness training, and technical fluency in the design, implementation, and management of physical security systems. He has a Bachelor of Science from Troy University, an Airport Certified Employee-Security (ACE), and a Certified Protection Professional (CPP).

 

 

 

Ali Talabe, Physical Security Manager

Ali Talabe joined TJPA in March 2020.  He brings ten years of experience in contract security with a background in IT networks and business administration.

Mr. Talabe began his career working at corporate sites, where he specialized in security and access control systems.  This eventually led to responsible charge positions managing contract security accounts with a focus on operations control centers.

As an active member of ASIS International, Mr. Talabe leverages experience and trends in security worldwide to address the security needs of the unique Salesforce Transit Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Administration Support

Jason Blick, IT Director

Jason Blick joined the TJPA as IT Director in February 2019 and brings more than 21 years of Information Technology experience. He came from NetXperts where he was the VP of Engineering focused on day to day operations, overarching project management, vendor relationships and leading their team of engineers. Prior to that Mr. Blick served as a Consulting Systems Engineer for World Wide Technology (WWT) primarily supporting the Kaiser Permanente account from a pre sales perspective positioning, designing and selling network solutions. He holds several Information Technology (IT) certifications including Cisco Certified Network Associate in Wireless (CCNA Wireless), Cisco Certified Network Associate in Routing and Switching (CCNA Routing & Switching), Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA), Cisco Meraki Network Associate (CMNA), and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE).

 

 

 

 

Herschell Larrick, Office Administrator

Herschell Larrick joined the TJPA in July 2021 as the Office Administrator following a role at the City and County of San Francisco’s Commission and Department on the Status of Women, where he simultaneously served as the Executive Management Assistant, Office Manager and Commission Secretary since 2015.

Prior to the TJPA and City and County of San Francisco, Mr. Larrick has held various positions in many different business sectors within San Francisco, such as a Program Coordinator for the non-profit, Institute of Aging, Data Analyst for Bank of America, and as an Administrative Assistant for Pacific Gas & Electric. As the Office Administrator, he will provide administrative support, office management and coordination, and Executive support for the Transbay Program.

Mr. Larrick is a native of California that specializes in health & wellbeing, as he has led a small business on alternative health and facilitated a regular meditation group pre-COVID. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Creighton University.

 

 

Donald Pollitt II, Management Assistant/Interim Board Secretary

On August 18, 2020, the TJPA Board of Directors unanimously appointed Donald Pollitt II as the Interim Board Secretary. Mr. Pollitt joined the TJPA in 2020 from Hollins Consulting, Inc., a San Francisco-based program management and construction firm where he served as the Communications Specialist. Mr. Pollitt has five years of public relations experience working for award-winning integrated communications agencies, including public agencies. Prior to the TJPA and Hollins Consulting, Inc., Mr. Pollitt served as a Community Relations Specialist for Katz & Associates and co-led the efforts for multiple Bay Area projects including the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s $6.97 billion dollar Sewer System Improvement Program. As the Management Assistant/Interim Board Secretary, Mr. Pollitt supports the Chief of Staff, Executive Director and Communications and Legislative Affairs Manager in advancing the Transbay Program by delivering the Downtown Rail Extension project and operating the world-class Transit Center.

Mr. Pollitt holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication and Rhetorical Studies and Master of Science in Public Relations from Syracuse University. In his free time, Mr. Pollitt enjoys running at Kezar Stadium as he is hoping to qualify for the 2021 Olympic Games.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TJPA Officers

The Officers of the TJPA are the Chair, Vice Chair, Executive Director, Secretary and Chief Financial Officer.

 


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