Julia is the Executive Director at HIRTA. She also serves on the National RTAP Review Board, and is the current President of the Iowa Public Transit Association. In 2019, Executive Director Julia Castillo, was named the Community Transportation Manager of the Year by the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) at its annual EXPO in Palm Springs, California.

She was recognized in part because she transformed a system that previously was operated by seven individual contractors to one fully operated in-house. This is across a seven-county region stretching over 4,100 square miles, with more than 90 employees providing more than 300,000 annual trips with a fleet of more than 80 vehicles.