Executive Team

Alex Clifford, RTD Chief Executive OfficerAlex Clifford

Chief Executive Officer

Alex Clifford assumed the role of RTD’s Chief Executive Officer on January 31, 2022 with over 30 years of experience in transit leadership, including 8 years of policy experience as a city councilman.

Prior to joining RTD, he served as CEO at Santa Cruz METRO for over seven years.  Under his leadership, the agency:

  • Resolved a fiscal structural deficit of $ 6 million over two years, which involved extensive public outreach and numerous Board workshops.
  • Completed the Judy K. Souza Operations building and upgraded the service center in Santa Cruz and transit center in Watsonville.
  • Developed its first 10-year unfunded capital plan, identifying State of Good Repair capital needs of over $200 million.
  • Developed a plan for transitioning to all zero-emission buses by 2040.
  • Planned for a south county zero-emission bus division, new paratransit facility, replacement/rehabilitation of the Pacific Station Transit Center.
  • Created several designated fully-funded operating and capital reserves.
  • Led the agency through the COVID-19 pandemic successfully, complying with all associated prevention measures for passengers and staff while avoiding layoffs and furloughs.

For his many accomplishments at METRO, he was named Small Transit Operators’ 2017 Transit Professional of the Year by California Transit Association (CTA).  The award honors an outstanding individual who has provided strong leadership and vision.  He is a Fellow of the Eno Transportation Foundation, and a graduate of the Leadership APTA (American Public Transportation Association) program.

Mr. Clifford currently serves on several industry boards, including California Transit Association as an Executive Committee Member and a State Legislative Committee Member; CALACT Legislative Committee as Vice Chair; and on the American Public Transit Association Board of Directors for 2021 – 2022.  He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from California State Polytechnic, Pomona, and a Master in Business Administration from California Baptist University.

photo of Mike ThompsonMike Thompson

Chief Administration and Innovation Officer

Mr. Thompson joined RTD in 2010 as IT Manager. Prior to joining RTD, he gained depth and breadth of experience in IT management, application development, access management, compliance, and security through his years as a consultant and as an employee at both Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard. Over his career, Mr. Thompson has specialized in the strategic application of technology to solve business problems. Mr. Thompson holds a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from New Mexico State University, and has a Transit Paratransit Management Certificate from the University of the Pacific.

Ciro Aguirre

Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Aguirre was appointed as Chief Operating Officer in April of 2022 after serving as interim for nearly three months. With over 40 years of transit experience, he officially oversees Transportation, Service Development, Mobility, Maintenance, Facilities, Security, and other assigned departments.

In 1980, Aguirre began his transit career as a Mechanic II with Santa Clara County Transit, now called the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). He was later promoted to Maintenance Supervisor and then to Maintenance Superintendent where he oversaw three major overhaul and repair divisions for the County.

In 2016, Aguirre joined Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (Santa Cruz METR) as an Operations Manager. He was later promoted to COO where he assumed responsibility for Operations, Paratransit, Fleet Maintenance, Facilities, Customer Service, and Security.

Aguirre holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Psychology from San Jose State University.

photo of Chief Financial Officer Robert KyleRobert Kyle

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Kyle joined RTD in April 2022 as the Chief Financial Officer. He is dual-licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and as a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) both of which were awarded in 2002.  Mr. Kyle has over 24 years of experience in Finance leadership roles, the last four years were as a CFO for a manufacturing plant in Stockton.  Prior to that, he worked as a contractor in Kabul, Afghanistan for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as the Director of Finance.  The two projects he was involved in were Sika South (Stabilization in Key Areas) and ACEP (Afghanistan Clean Energy Program) for a total time in the country of 2.5 years; returning in mid-2014. Mr. Kyle is also a six-year veteran of the US Army having assignments in South Korea, West Germany, and Georgia, USA.