Top 40 Under 40 2013: Gerardo Castillo

Gerardo Castillo

Senior Vice President/Chief of Staff

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Gerardo Castillo recalls riding his bike to Capital Metro when he was 10 years old and asking for a job as a bus cleaner. He’s been a lifelong transit user and this familiarity and commitment to the critical role transit plays in the community led to Castillo’s childhood realization to work in transit 18 years later when he was hired as Capital Metro’s manager of community involvement. In that role, he led the massive community outreach needed prior to the launch of Austin’s anticipated MetroRail commuter line, which opened in 2010.

Castillo has approached his career in transit much the same way he trains for Ironman triathlons. He says you have to “plan, prepare, and execute and have the mental resilience to overcome adversity and persevere.”

His performance led to an appointment as interim chief of staff in 2010 and he soon turned his attention to improving the agency’s financial position and became the driving force behind Capital Metro earning the Texas Comptroller Gold Leadership Circle award in 2010, 2011 and 2012 for becoming the first transit agency in Texas to put its financial records online to view.

In 2011, Castillo was appointed chief of staff and was chosen by Linda Watson as a key member of the team charged with implementing the biggest organizational change in the agency’s history: contracting out all bus and paratransit services to private companies to realize a cost savings of $30 million.

Castillo was then promoted to senior vice president/chief of staff.

“In a growing city like Austin, providing mobility choices is essential. We must have a robust transit system because we are the lifeline to work, school, church and all kinds of special events in the community. It’s special to be a part of making the transit system I grew up with be the best that it can be.”