October 17, 2023 – Executive recruiting firm Krauthamer & Associates has assisted in the recruitment of Mona Babauta as the new CEO of SunLine Transit Agency in Thousand Palms, CA. “We are so pleased to be welcoming Mona to the helm of SunLine Transit Agency today,” said Lisa Middleton, board chair of SunLine Transit Agency. “Our board is impressed by the leadership qualities and experience she brings to SunLine, and we have the utmost confidence she is the ideal individual to lead SunLine as we continue to deliver safe, reliable transit services to our community utilizing our clean fuels fleet.”
“SunLine has been a pioneer in the transit industry by paving the way for clean fuels innovation in bus fleets for more than three decades,” said Gloria Salazar, who has served as SunLine’s interim CEO/general manager over the past five months. “Under Mona’s direction, we look forward to continuing on that path as we transition to full zero-emission service ahead of the state’s 2040 deadline.”
Ms. Babauta joins the agency following 26 years of public service in California, 24 of which have been in the public transit industry serving communities in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas. She has served as the deputy general manager for Golden Gate Transit, which is a division of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District that provides transit service in Sonoma, Marin, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties. Additionally, Ms. Babauta was the first permanent Executive Director of Solano County Transit, where – after 5 years – she eliminated a structural deficit, initiated the agency’s transition to zero-emission technology and completed a number of infrastructure projects that were critical for improving public trust, operational efficiency as well as system safety and security.
Separate from Ms. Babauta’s expansive professional career, she has also been active in various state, regional and national committees focused on transit advocacy and sustainability, including serving on the executive committee of the California Transit Association and the board of directors of The Center for Transportation and the Environment.
“I am both thrilled and honored to be joining SunLine’s team today, as I have admired the agency’s innovative spirit and industry leadership in the hydrogen fuel cell space for many years,” said Ms. Babauta. “I look forward to working with the Board, the staff and its labor partners, as well as our community stakeholders, to advance projects and programs that will further improve the customer experience and mobility throughout the Coachella Valley.”
SunLine provides public transit services in California’s Coachella Valley spanning 1,120 mile-service area and carrying approximately 4.2 million riders. It has pioneered zero-emission bus deployments, particularly for hydrogen fuel cell electric buses (FCEB). In 1993, SunLine’s Board adopted a voluntary policy of pursuing alternative fuel solutions that provide the lowest possible emissions, which led to SunLine becoming the first transit agency in the state to convert its entire fleet to compressed natural gas (CNG). SunLine is committed to transitioning its entire bus fleet to zero-emission by 2035.
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 helped to place Dottie Watkins as president and chief executive officer of Austin, TX-based transportation provider Capital Metro (CapMetro). Ms. Watkins had been serving as interim CEO since last June. The transit agency’s board of directors appointed her after previous leader Randy Clarke stepped down to head the transit system in Washington, D.C.
“As a board, it was crucial that we selected the right leader for this position and for our community,” said Jeff Travillion, CapMetro board chair and Travis County commissioner. “We interviewed multiple qualified candidates for this position, and we wanted to make sure the person we selected had a stellar professional reputation, a proven track record of getting things done, and most importantly, was someone the community could trust and their staff could respect and also have confidence in. Dottie meets all those qualifications and I’m confident we made the right decision selecting her as the next president and CEO.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; and Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media