Darren Kettle is Chief Executive Officer of Metrolink, Southern California’s regional passenger rail service that provides a safe, easy, affordable, and stress-free alternative to car travel for the more than 18 million residents of the six-county mega-region.
Kettle is a lifelong public servant with a professional career that spans more than 30 years working for local and regional government agencies. With a passion for connecting people to and through public transit, Kettle is focused on expanding Metrolink’s essential role in safely connecting people and communities of Southern California to what matters most: family, work, housing and fun. To accomplish this, he is leading the agency to continually improve the customer experience, collaborating with the region’s transit authorities to provide an integrated system with seamless transfers anywhere people want to go. His vision is supported by the agency’s Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion (SCORE) Program, a $10 billion, job-creating capital program to improve rail safety and service prior to the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic games.
Before joining Metrolink in September 2021, Kettle was the Executive Director of the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) for 14 years. At VCTC, Kettle led a team focused on improving transportation planning to ensure wise investments of public funds on a wide array of initiatives, ranging from freeway and highway projects, bus, and rail service to bicycle and pedestrian projects that foster wellbeing and environmentally friendly activities among residents and tourists alike.
Previously, Kettle was with the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) from 2000 through 2007 – a time when the area, part of the Inland Empire, saw tremendous growth. His last position at SANBAG was Director of Freeway Construction, responsible for managing the project development and construction of the San Bernardino Valley’s largest transportation projects, including State Route 210 extension in Rialto and San Bernardino, widening Interstate 10 through Redlands, and widening Interstate 215 through San Bernardino, as well as other freeway, interchange, and rail crossing projects. Kettle played an integral role in the 2004 passage of San Bernardino County’s ½ cent sales tax extension for transportation projects (Measure I).
Early in his SANBAG tenure, Kettle was Director of Intergovernmental and Legislative Affairs for both SANBAG and the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) where he managed a collaborative government affairs program for both counties. Kettle was active in public and private sector transportation and local government advocacy groups and represented SANBAG and RCTC in discussions with State and Federal elected and appointed officials. In 2002, Kettle was instrumental in RCTC’s passage of Riverside County’s ½ cent sales tax extension for transportation (Measure A).
Kettle has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master’s in Public Administration from California State University, San Bernardino. Kettle and his wife Keri live in Camarillo and enjoy when the “circus” comes to town each time their four kids pay a visit.