Krauthamer & Associates Recruits CEO for the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District
May 6, 2022 – Over the past year, a growing number of transportation companies have enlisted executive search firms to help them find senior talent. Executive recruiting firm Krauthamer & Associates recently placed Michael Tree as general manager and CEO of the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (METRO) in California. “Following a nation-wide search and many hours of work by our recruitment team, I’m happy to announce the appointment of Michael Tree as Santa Cruz METRO’s new CEO/general manager,” said Larry Pageler, board of directors chair of METRO. “We’re excited by his extensive expertise and knowledge of public transit as well as his proven track record in increasing connectivity for the public. We look forward to Michael expanding our zero-emissions bus plan so METRO can continue to reduce our emissions and our impact on the environment.”
Mr. Tree has more than 27 years of experience in the public transit industry and city management. His most recent experience as executive director of the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) focused on increasing the agency’s transportation options to improve ease of use and connectivity for riders. This resulted in an increased number of Rapid Routes with 15- minute all day frequency and expanded travel options for passengers with disabilities. While executive director of LAVTA, Mr. Tree was also the executive director for the Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, a new rail authority created by the State of California to plan and deliver the Valley Link commuter rail project, a 42-mile, seven-station project. Under Mr. Tree’s leadership, the rail authority completed the feasibility report, environmental work, preliminary design, and assembled more than $700 million for the project.
“I’m pleased to hear of the appointment of Michael Tree as METRO’s CEO/general manager and look forward to handing the baton over to his new leadership,” said Dawn Crummié, METRO interim CEO/general manager and HR director. “CEO Tree’s long standing experience in public transit will be a huge asset to METRO and I look forward to him continuing to strengthen our bond among our employees and community.”
“I’m excited to lead Santa Cruz METRO into its next chapter,” said Mr. Tree. “The future holds opportunity for METRO to improve the quality of life for residents through better connectivity, especially for those who are disadvantaged. I’m also committed to growing the zero-emission fleet at METRO to protect our environment. I look forward to strengthening the partnership with our employees, passengers, and the board as we deliver attractive and innovative service.”
Established in 1968, Santa Cruz METRO provides directly operated fixed-route and Highway 17 commuter service throughout Santa Cruz County, with limited service connecting to Monterey Salinas Transit at our Watsonville Transit Center and Santa Clara County, transporting more than 5 million passenger trips a year. METRO also directly operates ParaCruz paratransit service to Santa Cruz County, providing about 73,500 trips per year. METRO’s operating budget in FY22 is almost $57 million and is funded through a combination of farebox revenue, sales tax, and state and federal sources. Today METRO operates a fleet of 94 buses on at least 24 fixed-routes and 32 paratransit vehicles.
Krauthamer & Associates serves a wide range of industries, including: aviation, consumer products, healthcare, industrial, natural resources, professional services, public sector and non-profit, real estate, technology, and transportation.
Gary Krauthamer, who founded the firm in 1971, has completed more than 1,000 search assignments throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Over the last 45 years Mr. Krauthamer has also been instrumental in the hiring of top executives in the U.S. transportation and defense sector as well as several PE portfolio companies, along with leading management consulting firms.
In 2009, Mr. Krauthamer was one of the founders of Virgo Investment Group, a private equity firm that has raised over $1.8 billion to date. He currently serves as a partner focused on building strategic sourcing relationships, cultivating the operating partner network and building the information edge in investment due diligence. In 2018 he co-founded Zephyrus Aviation Capital, a fleet management solutions provider to lessors and commercial airlines around the world. Zephyrus is backed by funds managed by Virgo and was recently awarded the coveted North America Deal of the Year for 2018 by AirFinance Journal.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media