The San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) Board of Directors voted unanimously at its regular meeting of Thursday, Oct. 22 to name Diane Nguyen to be the next Executive Director of the San Joaquin Council of Governments starting Jan. 4, 2021.
Ms. Nguyen is presently serving as the Deputy Director for Planning and Programming for SJCOG and has served in that position since 2012. She supervises 14 planning positions with the agency.
She started her career with the San Joaquin Council of Governments in 1995 after graduating with a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Irvine before leaving the agency in 2005. She went on to work with Interwest Consulting Group, a consulting firm that specializes in a variety of municipal services. There she spent seven years as the Manager of Capital Programs and Public Policy, overseeing engineering and planning teams that worked exclusively for local governments throughout California. Nguyen received her Bachelor’s degree (with honors) in Social Ecology from UC Irvine.
Assemblymember Jim Cooper said, “Through collective work on transportation funding, regional planning and policy, I came to see Diane as a strategic thinker. I believe Diane will make an outstanding Executive Director.”
Nguyen will succeed Andrew Chesley as Executive Director of SJCOG. Chesley has been with the agency for 41 years and has served as its Executive Director for the past 15 years. He will retire effective Jan. 3, 2021.
“We cast a wide net across the nation and had really strong candidates,” said San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathy Miller. “In the end it was a unanimous decision that Diane Nguyen was by far the best person we interviewed with the strongest background. COG will be in very good hands with her.”
During the October meeting, Nguyen recounted travelling on the Amtrak to downtown Stockton for her first job interview at SJCOG in 1995.
“It is an honor to lead SJCOG as the next Executive Director,” Nguyen said. “I will continue SJCOG’s tradition of collaboration and innovation while serving the residents of this region.”
The San Joaquin Council of Governments is a regional planning agency responsible for transportation planning, habitat conservation planning, and a range of other responsibilities that include managing the Measure K transportation program as well as housing, air quality and airport land use planning. The operating budget for the agency is over $13 million and SJCOG programs and apportions out approximately $150 million in transportation investments annually.
“We look forward to Diane’s leadership” said SJCOG Chair, Sol Jobrack.