Executive Spotlight – Linda Janssen

Linda Janssen serves as the Deputy Chief of the Licensing, Administration and Consumer Assistance Division. She started her career in the private sector before bringing her organizational and administrative expertise to state service. We caught up with her recently to learn more about her work and vision for the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR).

What work did you do prior to your employment with BAR?

I was in executive leadership in the private sector for many years before I entered state service in 2000. My first state job was at the Department of Toxic Substances Control managing public outreach. I then took a position at the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development where I was able to apply my public relations and administrative experience to assist the organization in achieving their strategic goals.

How long have you worked at BAR and in what roles?

I joined BAR in 2015 as a Staff Services Manager II in the Administration Branch. I held that position for six years and was appointed to Deputy Chief of the Licensing, Administration, and Consumer Assistance Division in August 2021.

What inspired you to work for BAR?

I was interested in the licensing functions and wanted to have more influence on developing policies and procedures that could reduce barriers for licensure, such as reducing license processing times by utilizing new technology.

You oversee three major programs—licensing, consumer assistance, and administration. How do balance the priorities and requirements of each program?

When I became the Deputy Chief in 2021, we were in the middle of the pandemic, so I was focused on the organization and ensuring that staff were safe and supported. Since then, I have been able to focus more on the consumer assistance and licensing programs. It helps that I have an amazing management team as well as dedicated support staff.

What are some of the projects you have worked on that have advanced BAR’s mission?

I oversee the legislation and regulations team and as such have been involved in the development and promulgation of new regulations that advance BAR’s mission to protect California consumers. I have been involved in the development of the new Vehicle Safety Systems Inspection Program which, as a new program, requires collaboration from technology services, engineering, enforcement, and, of course, licensing. Most recently I have worked with BAR’s team on the Enforcement and Licensing Modernization project, which will help BAR replace paper licensing/certification processes with a digital platform.

BAR advocates for women to join the auto repair industry which, as we know, is a field predominately occupied by men. As the only woman on the executive team, do you have any perspective you want to share?

I actually haven’t considered the fact that I’m the only woman on the executive team. That said, I do get energized when I see women joining the organization, whether as an analyst, program representative, or engineer. And, in my role, I am committed to doing what I can to ensure that BAR and the industry support career opportunities for women.

What do you see as some of the opportunities to advance BAR’s mission?

I want to see BAR continue to streamline processes, incorporate emerging technology, and embrace policies that reduces barriers to licensure.

What was your first car?

When I was 16, I bought a used 1968 Mercury Cougar GT for $1,500. I loved that car, but my mother was not so enthusiastic about it because, as you can imagine, it had some serious horsepower! I wish I had kept it, but I didn’t know much about cars at that time.

Janssen's First Car
Janssen's 1968 Mercury Cougar GT

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I really appreciate the people who work at BAR. They are dedicated, knowledgeable, and passionate about the work they do to advance BAR’s mission and vision. I am glad to be part of an organization that encourages innovation and engagement and values the contributions of each and every staff member.

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