At its first meeting of 2024, the Board of Directors of the Orange County Transportation Authority unanimously selected Tam T. Nguyen as its new chair.
With an annual budget of $1.7 billion, OCTA is responsible for planning, funding and delivering public transportation improvements for Orange County.
Last year, Chair Nguyen served as vice chair on the OCTA Board of Directors. He replaces outgoing Chairman Gene Hernandez.
Nguyen, a Fountain Valley resident, is a community and education leader.
“Since being appointed to serve as a public member on the OCTA board in 2021, I have witnessed firsthand how much this agency is making a difference in helping to enhance travel options for residents, businesses and visitors,” Nguyen said. “I am grateful for the tremendous amount of trust of my fellow board members in selecting me as their chair, and I look forward to working with them as stewards of the public’s funds to continue innovating and delivering a balanced, equitable and sustainable transportation system for Orange County’s diverse communities.”
Chair Nguyen serves as one of two public members on the OCTA board, and he has served in that capacity since April 2021. Nguyen has been a member of OCTA’s Diverse Community Leaders Group since its creation more than a decade ago.
Nguyen is also respected throughout the county as a leader in business and philanthropy. He is co-owner of Advance Beauty College, a second-generation, family-owned business that was founded in 1987. Over 50,000 students have graduated from its innovative training with many becoming successful entrepreneurs, beauty manufacturers and salon owners in the beauty-care industry throughout North America.
Under his leadership as president from 1999 to 2022, Advance Beauty College has become nationally recognized for its manicuring program. It has been honored as a Civic 50 OC, Excellence in Education, Center for Family Business Hall of Fame Commitment to Education Award and Inaugural Golden School Award from the American Association of Cosmetology Schools.
Nguyen teaches business management at California State University, Fullerton, and is past president of the university’s alumni association. In 2015, he received the Cal State Fullerton Vision & Visionaries Award. He is currently the chair of the Cal State Fullerton’s Philanthropic Foundation Board of Governors.
In addition to his leadership with Advance Beauty College and Cal State Fullerton, Nguyen serves on the board of directors for Genesis Bank, MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center & Saddleback Medical Center, Small Business Diversity Network, Orange County United Way, Pro Nails Association, Center for Family Business, Garden Grove Police Chief’s Advisory Council and recently the board of the Garden Grove Community Foundation, Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce and Project Vietnam Foundation.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Nguyen co-founded Nailing It for America, a volunteer group that helped collect and deliver nearly $30 million worth of personal protective equipment for healthcare professionals, frontline workers and vulnerable community members.
Chair Nguyen was one year old when he and his family arrived in California in 1975 at the end of the Vietnam War. He and his wife are proud to be raising their three children in Fountain Valley and to be part of Orange County’s vibrant Vietnamese American community. He is a local college graduate who studied at both UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton.
Elected by the OCTA board to serve as vice chair was Director Doug Chaffee.
Newly appointed members of the OCTA board include: Anaheim Mayor Ashleigh Aitken, Santa Ana Mayor Valerie Amezcua, Garden Grove Council Member Stephanie Klopfenstein and Costa Mesa Mayor John Stephens.
The OCTA board is comprised of 18 members, including the five county supervisors, two members from city councils in each of the five supervisorial districts, two public members and the Caltrans District director serves in a non-voting ex-officio capacity.