Stephan Castellanos

California Commission on Disability Access (CCDA) Chairperson Rocky Burks announced at the Executive Committee Meeting the appointment of Stephan Castellanos.  Mr. Castellanos assumed the position on January 7, 2013. 

Encompassed among Mr. Castellanos’ various responsibilities are the leadership and management duties necessary to fulfill CCDA statutory mandates. CCDA was created by the legislature through Senate Bill 1608 (Statutes of 2008, Chapter 549) authored by Senator Ellen Corbett.  CCDA statutory mandates also included legislation through Senate Bill 1186 (approved by Governor Brown September 19th 2012, Chapter 383) authored by Senator Darrell Steinberg.

The Legislature concluded that despite the fact that state law has provided persons with disabilities the right to full and equal access to public facilities since 1968, and that a violation of the right of any person under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 also constitutes a violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Section 51 of the Civil Code) since 1992, that persons with disabilities continue to be denied full and equal access to public facilities in many instances. The Legislature further concluded that businesses in California have the responsibility to provide full and equal access to public facilities as required in the laws and regulations, but that compliance may be impeded, in some instances, by conflicting state and federal regulations, resulting in unnecessary litigation.

The Legislature further intended that the commission be broadly representative of the ethnic, gender, disability and racial diversity of the population of California.  The CCDA commissioners must also have specific qualifications as detailed in the law.

Highlights of the Executive Directors career

Mr. Castellanos established his practice of architecture in his central valley hometown of Stockton, with his partner and wife in 1979.  Since its inception Mr. Castellanos has been actively engaged in community affairs, including chairmanship of the city’s preservation board, participating on a number of committees and task forces and supporting the activities and providing leadership for his professional organization, AIA Sierra Valley.  During this time Mr. Castellanos began on a course of leadership with the AIA California Council, serving as a board member, elected Vice-president and elected Representative to the national AIA Board and President.  While serving on the national board Mr. Castellanos was elected to serve as Secretary of the organization, a role that is responsible for board policy administration, as well as administration of the rules and bylaws of the organization.

In 2000 Governor Gray Davis appointed Mr. Castellanos to the position of State Architect.  In this role Mr. Castellanos was responsible for the oversight of design and construction for California’s public schools and community colleges.  In addition, the State Architect is charged with the development of regulations to assure school health and safety.  The State Architect is also the policy leader for the design and construction of the state’s buildings.  Mr. Castellanos during his tenure developed the Excellence in Public Buildings Program, which remains in use.  This program for public buildings and schools sets out a number of key principles that serve to enhance outcomes, create positive environments that are sustainable and environmentally sound, and that provide the highest value to the citizens of the State of California.

Mr. Castellanos continues serving his community and profession as an elected Trustee of the San Joaquin Community College District, board member for the California Community Colleges Trustees association and serves as President of the California Architectural Foundation

As an Architect, contractor and businessperson, Mr. Castellanos fully understands the issues affecting the design and construction marketplace and the challenges that must be addressed to achieve better value and access for all.