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The League of Railway Women (LRW) yesterday named Metrolink Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Wiggins its 2020 Railway Woman of the Year during a virtual presentation.
Co-sponsored by Progressive Railroading, the annual award is presented to a woman in the rail industry who demonstrates vision, initiative, creativity and guidance in a leadership role within her professional railway field; is innovative, a problem-solver and overcomes challenges; and brings consistent excellence to her organization and surrounding community, LRW officials said in a press release.
“As the first woman and African American to lead Metrolink, Southern California's commuter-rail service, Stephanie Wiggins has brought diversity and inclusion to all levels of the commuter-rail agency, from the C-suite to train conductors,” said LRW President Amanda Trainor Patrick.
Wiggins assumed leadership of Metrolink in January 2019. Metrolink is a 275-employee commuter railroad with seven routes across a six-county, 538 route-mile system.
Since 2019, Wiggins has overseen a reduction of trespasser and pedestrian strikes; worked on Wi-Fi improvements for riders; retired older, less energy-efficient locomotives; and spearheaded the railroad’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
When the pandemic hit in March, Wiggins revised the agency’s telecommuting policy so that all non-workplace essential staff could work remotely and instituted CEO-led virtual coffee breaks to enable real-time, two way communications on pandemic efforts.
She also hired more staff to clean trains throughout the day, added the use of electrostatic sprayers to disinfect train cars daily, and placed hand sanitizer in every rail car. Face masks were required on trains and an online tool was created for riders to check recent ridership of their train to ensure space for social distancing.
Prior to leading Metrolink, Wiggins held high-level positions at three of the five-member agencies that comprise Metrolink.
She was deputy CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, served in various management positions at the Riverside County Transportation Commission and started her transportation career at the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority.