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Posted on: September 28, 2023

New SJCOG hires have deep regional roots

Guadalupe “Lupita” Gutierrez (left to right), Joann Martinez and Edith Verdin.

Gutierrez, Martinez, Verdin will help promote agency’s work in transportation, housing, environment 

Hiring people who already know the lay of the land is an advantage in carrying out the mission of the San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) to make the lives of everyone who lives, works and travels in San Joaquin County better.

“We always look to hire talented people whose passion and purpose for what they do benefits everyone around them,” SJCOG Executive Director Diane Nguyen said. “These three recent SJCOG hires – all with deep ties to the San Joaquin Valley and a desire to give back to their communities – are examples of the type of talented, experienced and motivated people we strive to draw to our exceptional SJCOG planning team to make the kind of far-reaching programs that benefit so many people a reality.”

Guadalupe “Lupita” Gutierrez joined SJCOG in early July, Joann Martinez in mid-August, and Edith Verdin in mid-September. Each of them was raised and live in the San Joaquin Valley.

Guadalupe “Lupita” Gutierrez
 Assistant Regional Planner
 San Joaquin Valley connection: Raised in Waterford in eastern Stanislaus County.

Guadalupe “Lupita” Gutierrez Lupita Gutierrez’s most recent experience includes an internship with the California Strategic Growth Council’s Transformative Climate Communities program where she conducted research to ensure program guidelines were better aligned with the state’s workforce priorities on job quality, equity, and climate resilience. She also was a researcher with the UCLA Labor Center evaluating the California Workforce Development Board’s High Road Training Partnership Initiative.

She also spent several years at the Merced County Office of Education as a technician working on job development and training programs for young adults with barriers to employment. It was through these program she learned about public workforce programs and saw how improving access to transportation can improve economic opportunities for disadvantaged workers.

Gutierrez is a recent graduate of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs with a Master of Public Policy. She earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental economics and policy from University of California, Berkeley.

Gutierrez’s collective experience will be used at SJCOG to execute aspirational programs in climate adaptation, workforce development, and transportation equity. 

Joann Martinez
 Associate Regional Planner
 San Joaquin Valley connection: Lifelong San Joaquin County resident.

Joann Martinez Joann Martinez recently earned a master’s degree in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley with a concentration in urban design, housing, community and economic development. 

While at UC Berkeley, Martinez studied if and how land-use regulations affected housing supply in 20 jurisdictions, including eight of the 10 largest cities in the state. She also studied county ordinances on growing cannabis and completed her capstone, or culminating, project on the livability of residential streets using three cases from San Francisco’s Slow Street Program, which works to create a safe, connected, citywide active transportation network.

She also brings to SJCOG a strong background in local government planning having worked as an assistant city planner for Suisun City and for Interwest Consulting. 

She also holds technical certifications in Geographic Information Science from San Francisco State, Land Use and Environmental Planning from UC Davis Extension, and a General Construction Internship Certificate from Habitat for Humanity.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in urban studies and planning from San Francisco State.

As an associate regional planner at SJCOG, Martinez will leverage her expertise and experience while working with the planning team in tackling the regions’ transportation and housing challenges.

Edith Verdin
 Associate Regional Planner
 San Joaquin Valley connection: Long-time Central Valley resident.

Edith Verdin Edith Verdin brings to SJCOG a variety of experiences from throughout the Central Valley from which she can draw upon in carrying out dynamic SJCOG programming.

Most recently she worked on local and regional planning projects throughout California for a planning consultancy, including the City of Sonora’s Building and Planning Department, Town of Colma, cities of Malibu and Oxnard.

Before that, she focused on public transit and transportation demand management (TDM) while working at the Stanislaus Council of Governments in Modesto. 

Verdin started her work the Central Valley, here in Stockton, as a Program Coordinator overseeing their Family Wellness Programs. 

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Stanislaus State in Turlock and is the current co-chair of the Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS)-Central Valley Chapter. WTS International focuses on promoting the advancement of women in the transportation industry. She is also an active member of the American Planning Association California Chapter.

Her primary focus at SJCOG will be on launching a TDM Study and Implementation Plan for the dibs program and working with the planning team to showcase outreach and project efforts. 


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