Kelli Bernard

Chief Executive, Los Angeles Metro Area

Kelli Bernard is chief executive for the Los Angeles Metro+ region of AECOM, a premier, fully integrated global infrastructure firm headquartered in Los Angeles. 

With more than 2,000 employees in the Los Angeles and Southern California area, Kelli is responsible for building on AECOM’s strategies to deliver its integrated services to meet the infrastructure and business needs of public and private sector clients. Her extensive background in economic development and deep relationships in the Southern California region are valuable assets as AECOM looks to enhance its market presence. AECOM is the largest company headquartered in Los Angeles.

Kelli has more than 20 years of experience in economic development, land use planning, housing, redevelopment and public affairs. She also has in-depth knowledge of public/private partnerships, public finance and infrastructure investment.

Prior to joining AECOM, Kelli served as the deputy mayor of economic development for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. In this role as the city’s top economic advisor, Kelli championed business growth, economic development and job creation in Los Angeles.  She managed eight city departments including the Los Angeles World Airports and the Port of Los Angeles, with combined budgets of more than $6 billion and more than 7,000 employees.

Kelli was also responsible for the development and implementation of the city’s International Trade policy, and was instrumental in the overseeing Garcetti’s Asia Trade Mission, where she led a delegation of business leaders to China, South Korea and Japan. She gave the keynote address at the 2015 Kaohsiung International Harbor Cities Conference which explored strategies for transforming industrial port cities through urban innovation, infrastructure investment, and land use redevelopment.

Prior to her position as deputy mayor, she was director of economic development at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest municipality in the United States, where she led the department’s Clean Technology Initiative that culminated in the development of the $40M La Kretz Innovation Campus.

Earlier in her career, Kelli worked as director of planning and economic development for Mayor Garcetti when he served as president of the Los Angeles City Council. In this role, she oversaw key development activities, including the $110 million Emerson College and the $390 million mixed-used Columbia Square projects.

Kelli is a commissioner for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), an organization created in 1993 to address the challenges of homelessness in Los Angeles. She also serves on the boards for the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce and Town Hall Los Angeles.

Kelli holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning from University of California, Los Angeles, and a BA in Sociology from University of California, Berkeley.