2020 40 Under 40: Andrina S. Dominguez, MPP

Aug. 18, 2020
Andrina Dominguez, Senior Environmental Specialist, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • One word to describe yourself: Inquisitive
  • Alma Mater: University of Southern California
  • Favorite hobby(s): Cross-stitch and embroidery, reading, baking
  • Fun fact about yourself: I share a name with a type of bee, the Andrena bee!
  • Favorite station or stop that you have ever visited or frequent (and why): Growing up in San Francisco, Muni signified freedom in my adolescence. When my parents felt I was old enough to be out and about on my own, I spent weekends and summers riding the bus and trains anywhere and everywhere. The West Portal Station holds a lot of fond memories for me; it was a juncture where my friends and I would often meet to go off on all sorts of adventures.
  • Favorite route you have ever ridden or frequent (and why): The SF Muni Bus Line 22 Fillmore. My mom used to work near Pacific Heights, off Fillmore Street. In the summer, I would often commute into work with her and then jump on the 22; it traverses so much of San Francisco, and I loved riding it and accessing so many neighborhoods. It felt like I could go anywhere I wanted on the 22.

Andrina S. Dominguez grew up riding transit in San Francisco, but an externship program through her university that paired students with industries over her senior year Spring Break opened her eyes to the impact she could make by working in transit.

“I was placed at L.A. Metro in the department I now work in,” said Dominguez. “I was fascinated by the breadth of topics the department worked on within sustainability for a transit agency…I wanted to be a part of such a collaborative team that was entrusted with such immense responsibility.”

She has been with L.A. Metro since that experience and has played a role in the development of the authority’s Climate Change program and the Resiliency Indicator Framework, which is described as a tool that allows the agency to identify and prioritize the assets that are most vulnerable to climate change while facilitating honest cross-silo collaboration to address these issues. Dominguez led the development of the agency’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, which serves as a guiding document for identifying, developing and pursuing projects and tasks that reduce carbon emissions and increases the agency’s resilience. She has also supported L.A. Metro’s Capital Project Program, taking on environmental mitigation monitoring and compliance responsibilities for more than a dozen projects throughout Los Angeles.

Every part of Dominguez’s work process is described as collaborative. Outside of her responsibilities with L.A. Metro, Dominguez was previously involved in the Metro Emerging Professionals Association, the Women in Transportation Seminar and recently completed a term as a board member of the Association of Environmental Professionals Los Angeles Chapter. Mentoring is also important to Dominguez whose recent activities include moderating panels for more than 90 students, reviewing student resumes, managing departmental interns, presenting to student groups and always making time for an inquisitive student. On the flip side of the mentorship coin, Dominguez recently joined a program at L.A. Metro where she is a mentee. 

 Is there a specific experience that led you to where you are today?

The spring break of my senior year of undergrad, I signed up for the USC Price Externship program, which placed students with an employer for a fast-paced introduction to their industries of interest. I was placed at L.A. Metro in the department I now work in. I really enjoyed the hands-on research. I was given the opportunity to explore and develop with my team with quite a bit of freedom. I also was fascinated by the breadth of topics the department worked on within sustainability for a transit agency: food access, water conservation, greenhouse gas reduction, soil remediation and construction management. The list of what this small but mighty team worked on was impressive and I wanted to be a part of such a collaborative team that was entrusted with such immense responsibility. The openness to new ideas, new research, new technology was enticing for an undergraduate senior with aspirations to become part of the global climate crisis response team. I felt that, if [I was] a part of this team, I would be able to achieve quite a bit and make an impact because the team supported that kind of spirit. I’ve been with the department since that spring break and I am so thankful for the serendipitous placement with my team.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The meta-sustainability of my work. I am working for a transportation agency whose mission is to provide a world-class transportation system that enhances quality of life for all who live, work and play within Los Angeles County. This mission inherently creates a more sustainable region and creates greenhouse gas emissions benefits. On top of that, I get to work in the environmental and sustainability department at an agency with a sustainable mission. Being able to go to work at an agency where I feel like, even through some of the less exciting day-to-day tasks, I am truly working towards a common goal I believe in; it energizes me and makes me want to get out of bed every day.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Juggling multiple tasks; we are small department with a lot of responsibility, so time and task management helps me feel less overwhelmed!

Accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?

Getting my master’s degree while working full time. I pushed myself and though it was immensely challenging and emotionally taxing, I feel an immense sense of pride I was able to do it and set an example for my younger siblings.

Best advice/tip/best practice to share from your area of expertise?

As you move up in your organization, as you get more responsibility and authority, as you enter shared spaces of influence, always look around and ask yourself, “Who is missing, how can I bring them in and how do I disseminate power?”