January 19, 2023 – 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 has assisted in the placement of Ken Kessler as the new chief financial officer of the Phoenix Valley Metro in Arizona. He replaces interim CFO Jim Hillyard.
“It is my great pleasure to welcome aboard Ken Kessler to Valley Metro,” said Jessica Mefford-Miller, CEO of Valley Metro. “Ken impressed our boards, our cities’ financial staff, and the Valley Metro team with his years of dedicated public service, as well as his ability to innovate and be an excellent regional collaborator.”
Mr. Kessler brings 30 years of experience to his new position, having worked with the Regional Public Transportation Authority and Valley Metro Rail. He has served the city of Phoenix across many different positions, including having developed the Transportation 2050 plan with the Phoenix Public Transit Department. Mr. Kessler has both a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and a master of public administration degree from Arizona State University.
In his new position, Mr. Kessler leads, manages and directs agency-wide fiscal functions, strategic financial planning and contributes to the overall operational plan of the agency. While the CFO reports to the CEO, the position also reports through a shared partnership to the boards of directors for Valley Metro RPTA and Valley Metro Rail.
Mr. Kessler is responsible for financial matters as they relate to accounting and reporting, budget management, cost-benefits analysis, forecasting, procurement, and the application and allocation of regional financial resources through the Transit Life Cycle Program (TLCP). He is also responsible for providing sound fiscal leadership and fiduciary oversight to facilitate organizational accountability, transparency, and efficiency.
Valley Metro is the regional public transportation agency providing coordinated transit services to residents of metro Phoenix. From regional bus, streetcar, light rail, and paratransit service to alternative commuter solutions, Valley Metro’s core mission is to develop and operate a network of transit services.
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 30 years, he has worked extensively within and across the public and private sectors. His clients can be found in the aerospace industry, federal government, entrepreneurial organizations, middle-market entities, and large multinational Fortune 100 corporations.
Krauthamer & Associates recently assisted in the recruitment of April Chan as general manager and CEO of the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) in California. “The board was gratified to see the broad and diverse group of candidates from across the country who wanted to serve in this role,” said Peter Ratto, board chair. “However, I am even more thrilled to appoint a general manager/CEO who we know first-hand is ready to drive SamTrans into an ever-brighter future. Ms. Chan is an intelligent, thoughtful, savvy and creative leader.”
SamTrans director Jeff Gee, who chaired the recruitment committee for the board, said: “Ms. Chan will be the first woman general manager/CEO of the District and is the district’s first permanent general manager/CEO to be promoted from within. Her appointment is testament to the board’s belief that this agency is headed in the right direction. Ms. Chan has a stellar reputation for working well with regional partners and is widely respected in the industry for her knowledge, professionalism and integrity.”
San Mateo County Transit District is the mobility manager for San Mateo County, which operates SamTrans fixed-route buses and Redi-Wheels and RediCoast paratransit. In her new role, Ms. Chan also will serve as executive director of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, which administers the Measure A transportation sales tax to fund transportation projects county-wide. She also will be responsible for services provided by the District to both the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Authority, which owns and operates the Caltrain commuter railroad, and the San Mateo County Express Lanes Joint Powers Agency.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media