Top 40 Under 40 2013: Laura Cruz-Acosta

As the marketing and public affairs coordinator for Sun Metro, Laura Cruz-Acosta has been instrumental and extraordinarily successful in rebranding the award-winning system to the bilingual community of El Paso, Texas.

In addition to serving as the primary spokesperson, Cruz-Acosta coordinates public outreach efforts; is responsible for researching, developing and implementing marketing and advertising opportunities on different platforms; builds public-private partnerships to advance the system’s community image; develops internal and external communication programs; guides Sun Metro existing brand; and is leading the branding and marketing efforts for the Sun Metro’s bus rapid transit system, known as Brio.

Cruz-Acosta has led the charge into the IT world by helping to direct the redesign of the Sun Metro website, as well as establishing and maintaining Sun Metro’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages.

Under her direction Sun Metro’s marketing section has won various marketing awards on different media platforms from the American Public Transportation Association, the Southwest Transit Association, and the Advertising Federation of El Paso. Cruz-Acosta is an active member of SWTA and APTA, and was most recently a speaker at the 2013 APTA Marketing and Communications Workshop in Los Angeles.

She has worked diligently to establish strong and lasting relationships with key public figures. Through her understanding of not only the transit community, but also her awareness of various community projects, people, agencies and politics, she is able to stay ahead of the curve and determine how events, decisions, agencies or people can impact or benefit the transit community.

Cruz-Acosta has been instrumental in developing, organizing and collaborating on various community campaigns such as Poetry in Motion, Art in Motion, Diá de los Ninos/Diá de los Libros, local Dump the Pump efforts, and Chalk the Block’s mural buses. She coordinates what seems like never-ending ground-breaking and grand opening ceremonies.

She also develops and strengthens partnerships with internal and external agencies including the Fort Bliss Army Post, the Downtown Management District, and the New Mexico Department of Transportation. Most recently she established a partnership with the University of Texas at El Paso’s Graphic Design Department to create various art pieces celebrating public transportation and the university’s centennial anniversary. The pieces will be displayed inside Sun Metro buses and the Downtown Transfer Center.

“One of the best things I love about being in public transit is that I’m part of an industry that directly impacts my community and my fellow residents. We’re not just moving people from Point A to Point B. We’re taking El Pasoans to their jobs, to school, to health appointments, to visit with family or friends; to live their lives.

“My current hobby is long-distance running. I started running late last fall as a way to improve my cardiovascular system. I’m pretty passionate about it because I’ve found that it’s a wonderful way to reduce my stress and overall outlook. Thus far I’ve run one half marathon and I’m preparing to run my second one in October. The long-term goal is to run a full marathon at least once in my life.”

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