Sylvia Martell joined the District 7 Office nearly six weeks ago as the Administrative Assistant to District 7 Director Mike Miles.
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In early August, Martell headed southbound on Interstate 5 from Sacramento to the San Gabriel Valley and never looked back – except to wave goodbye to her father and three brothers. Everything in work and life had fallen into place and her 10-year-old daughter, Melina, was excited about living near Disneyland.
“It was a perfect time to move. I had been looking for a way to be near my fiancé and my daughter was able to begin a new school year in time to make new friends,” she said. “The timing was right and I am very happy to be in a new environment – both at home and at work. Everyone has helped to make this transition easy!”
Martell and her fiancé, Alex, first met at a convention in Los Angeles in the late ‘70s. Over three decades later, they have reunited with plans to get married.
“Hopefully next year, you can find me in the Caltrans phone directory as “Sylvia Martinez-Silva,” she said. “Great name, isn’t it?”
Sylvia won’t be hard to find; she’s seated front-and-center on District 7’s “13th Floor Executive Row” facing her new boss’ office, District Director Mike Miles. Most of her duties revolve around keeping Miles on track with his daily schedule of meetings, appointments, travel and briefings with deputies and staff. Martell is the point person to confirm any item, event, meeting or speaking engagement onto Miles’ calendar and gathering any necessary documents for each appointment.
“Sylvia comes to us with great knowledge about Caltrans processes and activities, said Mike Miles. “You’ll find that she is a nice person to be around, too. Thank you for welcoming her to District 7.”
Prior to joining District 7, Sylvia was executive assistant to Director Cindy McKim and for five years prior when she was the department’s Chief Financial Officer. When McKim was named Interim Chief Deputy Director, Martell continued to work with the newly appointed Deputy of Finance, Norma Ortega.
Martell began her 28 years of State service as a student assistant with the Department of Justice Crime Prevention Center in Sacramento.
“It was there that I starred in my one and only public service announcement video for a “Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign,” said Martell, laughing. “I was the girl dancing in the party scene --- but it was for a good cause with an important message. I was in my 20s!”
With that VHS copy of the commercial tucked in her resume portfolio, other employment opportunities came her way – but not as an actor or a dancer.
Martell continued in public service with the executive staff at the Department of Social Services, Community Services and Local Assistance Office; the Industrial Affairs Medical Counsel Board (San Francisco), and the Business, Transportation and Housing Office of the General and Special Counsel.
“I always knew that LA was the city for me -- it better suits my personality. I’m very happy here,” she said. “I look forward to meeting many more people here and in the field. I’m learning more each day about Caltrans’ most watched and innovative freeway transportation system in the world and meeting the people who help make it so.”
For Martell, the next several months will be busy and exciting as she transitions to a new family at home and at work.
“Of course, I miss friends, supervisors and co-workers; they were my mentors,” she said. “But, I love looking at the cityscape from my desk and walking to bakeries at the Grand Central Market.”