Department of Economics

Celia Modeste McAdam

  • Graduated: 1989
  • Field: Government

Celia Modeste McAdam(opens in new window), who graduated with a BA in Economics in 1989, is Executive Director of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency(opens in new window) (PCTPA) in Auburn, California.  In 1988 Celia transferred to Chico State from the University of Santa Clara where she was also majoring in economics. After graduation, Celia enrolled in the master’s program in Geography and Environmental Studies at Chico State where she received her MA in Rural and Town Planning with distinction in 1991. 

After finishing her MA Celia accepted a position as senior planner with the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency(opens in new window).   Two years later Celia moved on to Butte County Council of Governments(opens in new window) where she worked as senior planner for three years.  In 1996 Celia moved to San Jose, California for a brief stint as the city’s transportation systems manager, before accepting an offer to return to the PCTPA as the Executive Director.  

Since then, she has acquired a number of additional positions under the umbrella of PCTPA, including Executive Director of the South Placer Regional Transportation Authority(opens in new window) (SPRTA), the Placer County Local Transportation Authority, and the  Western Placer Consolidated Transportation Service Agency(opens in new window) (CTSA), as well as Executive Secretary of the Placer County Airport Land Use Commission(opens in new window).   She has been a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) since 1996, and in 2015 was designated as Certified Transportation Planner for her “knowledge, experience, and leadership skills in specialized area of transportation planning”.

Celia has received many awards over the years including the Distinguished Service Award from the Institute of Transportation Engineers in 2009, and Woman of the Year(opens in new window) from the Sacramento Chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (which had awarded her a scholarship in 1991). She was also named to the prestigious College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners(opens in new window) in 2016.

“My econ degree in my current job comes into play in ways I had not expected” Celia stated in a recent email.   “Transportation planning is an interesting and rewarding line of work, but plans don’t mean much without implementation, and that takes money.  My econ degree helps me understand the forces in the economy that affect funding availability, as well as why land prices for transportation facilities are higher or lower in different locations or understanding the projections for sales tax revenues going to transportation.  While I’m not the one doing the revenue projections or developing bond documents, my econ degree makes sure I can follow the experts’ explanations and assess their advice with a critical eye.” (Last Updated 10/21/16)
Portrait of Celia Modeste McAdam