Metro deputy chief operating officer Andrew Scott announced Monday that Julio Garcia will begin work July 15 as Metro’s new human resources director.
Garcia comes to Metro from Salt Lake City, where he has served in the same role for Utah’s capital city. Before that, he was an associate HR director at Salt Lake County, and served as Salt Lake County’s director of elections from 2003-2008.
He will be replacing Mary Rowe, who is retiring after a decade at Metro.
“I'm passionate about public service, and Metro's service areas are so impactful in the day to day lives of people of Portland and have a tremendous influence on the quality of life of people in this region,” Garcia said.
In Salt Lake, Garcia oversaw an HR department that supported 3,400 employees. He also taught at the University of Utah, where he earned a Masters of Public Administration degree in 1997.
Garcia said he found Metro’s unique regional government structure “fascinating” and is looking forward to learning more about its services such as parks, garbage and recycling and visitor venues like the Oregon Zoo and Oregon Convention Center in addition to regional planning.
“I'm excited to understand Metro's goals and priorities and then align HR's resources to support realizing those goals and priorities,” Garcia said.
Garcia said one of the things he plans to work on is shaping the workplace culture at Metro.
“I believe HR has a profound influence in shaping the workplace culture,” Garcia said. “The work we do influences the employees work lifecycle at every turn. Recruitment, onboarding, influence continues through compensation, performance review process, secession planning and retirement planning. I don't think there's any other department that can influence all of those areas more than HR can.”
He’s also looking forward to living in the Pacific Northwest, he said.
“I enjoy the outdoors, do a lot of hiking and a lot of backpacking. I'm really excited to hike and learn your trail system and visit your breathtaking coastline,” Garcia said.