VIA’s commitment to strengthen lines of communication between the community it serves and its Board of Trustees took a step forward with the creation of the VIA Transit Community Council (VTCC) in 2017. Members of the VTCC, established by the VIA Board, will serve as transit ambassadors and liaisons to provide community feedback on a variety of topics, including planning, potential growth, and community outreach. VTCC members represent frequent riders, civic organizations, the business community, neighborhoods and suburban cities, armed forces, centers in education, and the hospitality and tourism industry.
current via transit community council
Akeem Brown, VIA Board Liaison
Akeem currently serves as Secretary on the VIA Board of Trustees and facilitates the communication between the board and the VIA Transit Community Council.
During the past several years, Brown has dedicated his career to serving students living in San Antonio’s Eastside, a diverse, multilingual area that has experienced significant neglect and increased poverty.
He has worked for the City of San Antonio’s Office of EastPoint, served as the director of operations and interim CEO of San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside, and as director of communications and policy for San Antonio’s City Council District 2.
Brown holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from South Carolina State University and is pursuing a master’s in organizational leadership from Our Lady of the Lake University
Dax is currently the Chief Talent Officer for the local technology non-profit Tech Bloc.
Dax is a strong believer in the power of community action. He has co-founded multiple organizations and programs that have helped accelerate the growth of the technology community in San Antonio; namely Tech Bloc, CivTech SA, Tech Talent Central, and the Geekdom Community Fund.
Dax also serves on the board of Spurs Give, Students + Startups, and is the current board chair for the Promesa Academy Charter School.
Juan Amaya has been a VIA employee for 21 years and is currently the President of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 694.
In his role as Union President, Amaya stands up for the fair treatment of industry transit workers, their health, their safety and their right to a decent living. He is a staunch advocate for public transportation, working to inform the general public that may not use transit, of the importance of a strong transit system for the wellbeing of the community.
He also serves as the Vice President of the Texas Legislative Conference Board.
Cardenas is a native of South Texas and holds masters degrees in Political Science and Public Administration from St. Mary's University.
Originally from Laredo, Cardenas has a passion for helping individuals who may have difficulty accessing or navigating the healthcare they need. She currently sits on several boards of community service organizations.
Cardenas brings more than a decade of service in the healthcare industry, has previous executive board experience, and a history of engagement with the senior population and other organizations. She is married with 2 young boys.
De la Cruz has been a public servant focused on delivering innovative, data-driven results.
He currently serves as Director of Program Delivery for the San Antonio Water System, and previously was the Chief Innovation Officer for the City of San Antonio. De la Cruz has a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio as well as certificates as a Project Manager Professional (PMP) and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.
He has served on several Boards including the Board of Promesa Academy, the Westside YMCA, the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services Board and the NextERA Board for the Alliance for Innovation.
Paola’s education in Architecture sparked in her, a passion for urbanism, mobility, data-based research and creating the best quality of life for people.
Paola strives to communicate and create opportunities for public participation and community engagement, motivated by a desire to create inclusive, equitable, and accessible communities through the built environment.
Carlos Garcia has been a VIA bus operator for 25 years and brings extensive knowledge about bus services and operator training.
He has served for three years as a board member of Local 694 of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and an AFL-CIO delegate and will continue serving in that capacity for three more years. In January 2020, he was elected Vice-president of Local 694. He also is a member of the Latino and Black Caucus of Local 694.
Garcia also has volunteered at St. Peter and St. Paul’s (St. PJ’s) Home for their Halloween Festival.
Guillermo “William” Long graduated from Central Catholic High School before earning an undergraduate degree in Communication Studies and a Master of Public Administration degree at St. Mary’s University.
William, the proud grandson of a Mexican immigrant who served in the U.S. Army, as been an advocate for VIA and for an increase in transportation funding for our region for more than a decade. He has served as an Executive Committee member for the San Antonio Mobility Coalition, board member for the local chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar, and a member of the stakeholder committee for the local non-profit, ConnectSA.
He brings more than 20 years of experience in project management, public affairs, communications, and partnership building. Most recently William assisted San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg with youth outreach and safety initiatives during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Joey Pawlik is a native East Side San Antonian who is passionate about his city and finding ways to help build a San Antonio where one does not need a car to safely and efficiently get around.
His love of city life, riding bikes and buses, and community service led him to study Sociology and Urban Planning at Texas A&M University. And later, into his current role as Active Transportation Planner at the Alamo Area MPO.
Most importantly, Joey is passionate about advocating for and improving our community’s transit system to better serve those who must rely on it and for those who choose to rely on it.
Stuart is a rider and advocate for public transit, who currently works as Codeup San Antonio’s Data Science Admissions Manager.
Prior to joining VTCC, Stuart worked as a business and operations analyst at a biotech accelerator in Cleveland, and served on the coordinating committee for the city’s transit riders advocacy group, Clevelanders for Public Transit.
He believes that public transit is the backbone of a thriving, equitable, and sustainable city and vital to San Antonio’s continued growth.