Keith
Whalen

PRESIDENT, NORTH AMERICA

Keith is a bus man, through and through. He started his career in the public transportation industry over 30 years ago, driving campus buses part-time while studying at UC Davis in California. Progressing from bus driver to General Manager of some of North America’s largest private operations, Keith has a track record of managing over 45 transit operations across the US and Canada.

The various operational stages of Keith’s career path enable him to forge strong bonds and connections with his workforce, having the ability to embrace a positive work culture in the harshest of work environments with minimal industrial action disputes. This hands-on approach to management differentiates him, allowing him to fully grasp an integral understanding of any operation and what is required for its success. He possesses the ability to develop a mutual respect between management and drivers, demonstrating that an integrated workforce is to the benefit of both employees but also passengers.

Early on in his career, Keith held General Manager responsibility for three Antelope Valley Transit Authority operating contracts with annual budgets in excess of $9m for operating 60 vehicles with a workforce of 120. Having steadily made various improvements and built a strong culture amongst staff, Keith was subsequently promoted to managing Dave Transportation’s $17m Foothill Transit operating contract, managing 370 employees and 138 vehicles.

With an interest in furthering his understanding of how to successfully and efficiently operate bus services, Keith turned his attention to growth opportunities and joined MV Transportation. During his tenure with the company, Keith progressed from Senior Vice President of Business Development and Marketing through to Chief Development Officer – critically supporting transformation of the company from a $30M regional provider to one of the largest transportation management firms in the US with $750M+ in annual revenue.

Having been a key element to this rapid, yet sustainable period of impressive growth, Keith also served as President of Operations for MV Transportation, looking after 74 locations throughout the eastern part of the United States with an annual budget of $350M.

His next challenge was as Senior Vice President of Business Development and Operations at First Transit. With total responsibility for business development activities and all operating units, he retained, won and transformed numerous contracts, including playing an instrumental role in entering FirstGroup into the US passenger rail market.

Prior to joining Ascendal as President of North America, Keith was President and Regional Director for Steer Davies Gleave, one of the world’s leading international transportation consulting firms. This high-profile position involved leveraging his unparalleled knowledge of transit operations to oversee all consultancy projects in the US and Canada, while holding direct responsibility for the development of the company’s five-year North American growth strategy.

Having the mission of leading Ascendal’s business in the North American market, Keith’s approachable and warm demeanour, combined with his diverse hands-on operational experience enable him to deliver sustainable quality operations. He believes that public transportation is fundamental to the proper functioning of cities, and is passionate about ensuring a positive, sustainable impact on communities and the environment. Keith holds a reputation within the industry for being a safe pair of hands as he strives to deliver his personal commitment to serve communities, working to unlock the potential of cities through the provision of effective mobility solutions.

Keith
Whalen

PRESIDENT, NORTH AMERICA

Keith is a bus man, through and through. He started his career in the public transportation industry over 30 years ago, driving campus buses part-time while studying at UC Davis in California. Progressing from bus driver to General Manager of some of North America’s largest private operations, Keith has a track record of managing over 45 transit operations across the US and Canada.

The various operational stages of Keith’s career path enable him to forge strong bonds and connections with his workforce, having the ability to embrace a positive work culture in the harshest of work environments with minimal industrial action disputes. This hands-on approach to management differentiates him, allowing him to fully grasp an integral understanding of any operation and what is required for its success. He possesses the ability to develop a mutual respect between management and drivers, demonstrating that an integrated workforce is to the benefit of both employees but also passengers.

Early on in his career, Keith held General Manager responsibility for three Antelope Valley Transit Authority operating contracts with annual budgets in excess of $9m for operating 60 vehicles with a workforce of 120. Having steadily made various improvements and built a strong culture amongst staff, Keith was subsequently promoted to managing Dave Transportation’s $17m Foothill Transit operating contract, managing 370 employees and 138 vehicles.

With an interest in furthering his understanding of how to successfully and efficiently operate bus services, Keith turned his attention to growth opportunities and joined MV Transportation. During his tenure with the company, Keith progressed from Senior Vice President of Business Development and Marketing through to Chief Development Officer – critically supporting transformation of the company from a $30M regional provider to one of the largest transportation management firms in the US with $750M+ in annual revenue.

Having been a key element to this rapid, yet sustainable period of impressive growth, Keith also served as President of Operations for MV Transportation, looking after 74 locations throughout the eastern part of the United States with an annual budget of $350M.

His next challenge was as Senior Vice President of Business Development and Operations at First Transit. With total responsibility for business development activities and all operating units, he retained, won and transformed numerous contracts, including playing an instrumental role in entering FirstGroup into the US passenger rail market.

Prior to joining Ascendal as President of North America, Keith was President and Regional Director for Steer Davies Gleave, one of the world’s leading international transportation consulting firms. This high-profile position involved leveraging his unparalleled knowledge of transit operations to oversee all consultancy projects in the US and Canada, while holding direct responsibility for the development of the company’s five-year North American growth strategy.

Having the mission of leading Ascendal’s business in the North American market, Keith’s approachable and warm demeanour, combined with his diverse hands-on operational experience enable him to deliver sustainable quality operations. He believes that public transportation is fundamental to the proper functioning of cities, and is passionate about ensuring a positive, sustainable impact on communities and the environment. Keith holds a reputation within the industry for being a safe pair of hands as he strives to deliver his personal commitment to serve communities, working to unlock the potential of cities through the provision of effective mobility solutions.