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Why KL2?

Because KL2 is staffed by career transit professionals who have long served the industry through transit agency and association leadership.

Because we address our industry's succession planning challenges head-on by identifying, evaluating, and advancing the most qualified seasoned and emerging talent.


Because we make it our business to thoroughly understand public transit industry issues, trends, and best practices.


Because nobody "walks the walk" on diversity and inclusion like we do. (Forty percent of our CEO placements have been minorities or women.)


Because we know public transit. And, together with our clients, we are dedicated to building a brighter public transportation future.  

Getting on a Bus


"We were entering into an expansion and it was critical to find a leader with the right skill set, vision, and fit. KL2 provided a diverse slate of candidates, and we are pleased to say that our selection has exceeded  expectations."

"We were searching for a VP. After months with another recruiter we turned to KL2 and within a few weeks we had three strong candidates. KL2 stayed with us through a difficult negotiation and ultimately closed the deal. We would use them unhesitatingly."

"We've retained KL2 to fill C-suite positions on multiple occasions. In each case they delivered a top-flight pool of qualified professionals. ​Their project managers are transit-savvy, well organized, and results-oriented. "

"Thank you for putting together a transparent and concise package for the board to review, along with an excellent Leadership Profile. I was concerned I'd be spending an endless amount of time reviewing resumes and here I am ready to discuss!"

"Talent is a gift.
Character is a choice."

~ John C. Maxwell

​KL2 Connects LLC

  • Public transit industry expertise and specialization

  • More than 225 combined years of transit industry management experience

  • More than 220 searches (dozens of CEOs) across more than 65 agencies

  • Extensive experience working with boards in transparent environments

  • Experience leading transit organizations of similar size and complexity

  • Senior transit executives as project managers

  • Direct engagement of KL2 principals, not just oversight

  • Extensive APTA management, board, and committee experience

  • Decades of career experience identifying, developing, and managing transit talent

  • Access to comprehensive transit industry databases

  • Industry insider access, access to passive as well as active candidates

  • Several regional offices — the agility to quickly adjust to clients’ needs

  • A commitment to diversity (40% of CEO placements have been women or minorities)

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Representative Clients

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Robert Babbitt, PhD -- Over 40 years of transit industry experience; former transit system GM (Nashville MTA); team leader; national consultant; conference/ committee participant and speaker; former president TN Public Transportation Asso-ciation; Urban Transit GM of the Year (TN, 2001); PhD (Admini-stration), CPA, BA (Political Science); member of APTA (8 committees), SWTA, TTA, KPTA, FPTA, ATA, CalACT; executive, author, instructor, moderator, speaker, editor.

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Kristen Joyner -- Twelve years as Executive Director South West Transit Association; 3 as Executive Admini-strative Assistant, Central AR Transit Authority; Founder of KJ Backpack LLC (connecting exceptional trainers to transit professionals); developed curricula (Hiring and Retaining Great Transit Employees, Leadership for Transit, Silver Bullets for Transit Supervisor Success; developed Transit Leadership Recognition Initiative For Human Trafficking Awareness; initiated Operations Vets In Public Transportation; member of Secretary of Transportation's Advisory Council on Transportation, Human Trafficking; APTA Board Member (2010-2012); Chair, APTA Training and Technical Assistance Sub-Committee; member, APTA CEO Search Task Force and APTA Intergovernmental Relations, Legislative, Marketing, Mobility Management, Small Ops, Access, and State Affairs committees.

Jeff Popovich -- Ten years as APTA’s Chief Information Officer; member, APTA Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee; Chair, APTA LGBT Task Force; peer reviewer for public transit agencies of various sizes and complexity; coordinator of programs through APTA’s Transit Cooperative Research Program; graduate of APTA Executive Leadership Program; expert at applying IT and database management strategies to executive recruiting; 10 years as Project Manager and IT consultant for Ernst & Young, KPMG; led technology departments; involved with non-profits such as; Bachelor’s (Park University), Master’s (Florida Institute of Technology).

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Christian T. Kent, KL2 Managing Principal -- Thirty-five years of transit industry experience, 12 as a senior executive at WMATA; 5 years as principal of Transit Management Consulting LLC. Decades of transit and paratransit operations experience during which he developed job roles new and unique to transit and then recruited, trained, and promoted numerous professionals into leadership positions. Maintains a strong presence in several industry associations including APTA, COMTO,  CTAA, and state associations in Virginia and Florida. In APTA, now serving third term on the Board of Directors. Graduate of the Leadership APTA program (2003); 2012 recipient of APTA's Innovation Award. Serves on the COMTO Board of Directors and has been tapped by both APTA and COMTO in the selection of their most recent CEOs. Graduate of Eno Transit Executive Program; co-author of the 2020 anthology, The Future of Public Transportation. Master's degree in teaching from the University of Virginia; adjunct professor for the National Transit Institute at Rutgers University.

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Al Schlimm -- Thirty-five year administrative, consulting, project management background; decision analysis consultant to nationally-prominent clients (Proctor and Gamble, Microsoft, Verizon, Fidelity Investments, Black & Decker); quantitative and qualitative research expert; decades of experience interviewing executive, professional, and technical personnel internationally; extensive contract oversight and business development experience; decades as marketing research executive with iResearch Corporation, Dataview Research Inc., Johns Hopkins Health System, Fortune 500 biomedical giant Becton Dickinson; Bachelor’s, Business Management, Towson University.

Tony Kouneski (KL2 Co-Founder) 

  • APTA Hall of Fame member

  • More than thirty-five years of public transit management experience

  • Ten additional years as public transit industry recruiter

  • Twelve years as APTA’s Vice President of Member Services

  • GM NJ Transit, Capital Metro (Austin), SORTA (Cincinnati), SunTran (Tucson)

Celia Kupersmith

  • APTA Hall of Fame member

  • Eleven years as CEO, Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District

  • Two years as Deputy CEO, Sound Transit

  • Six years as Executive Director, Regional Transit Commission Washoe County (Reno)

  • Two terms on APTA's Executive Committee

  • APTA Board Chair (2002/2003)

John Bartosiewicz

  • Twenty-five years as President and CEO of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority

  • Fourteen years COO/Special Assistant to President, McDonald Transit, RATP Dev USA

  • Three years as Administrative Assistant and Acting Transit Director, Town of Chapel Hill

  • APTA Board Chair (1999-2000); Chair of APTA Diversity Council (1999)

  • Winner APTA award for Best Transit System Manager in North America

Paul Muldoon

  • Seventeen years as VP and Senior VP Business Development (Cubic, Thales, Stratagen)

  • Manager of Facilities Design and Development, City of Bellevue WA

  • Deputy Commissioner, Light Rail Planning Project (City of Chicago)

  • General Manager, Oaklawn Transit (Division of Pace Bus)

  • Assistant General Manager, SunTran (Tucson)

  • Bachelor’s, Transportation/Mobility Management (Indiana University)

KL2 Advisory Board

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KL2 in the News...

KL2 CEO Placement Jay Fox Will be Far from Home, But Excited — On the morning of January 3 Jay Fox and his family climbed into their Subaru and departed their home in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. They drove 2,200 miles across the country, arriving at their new home in Bountiful, Utah, on the afternoon of Jan. 6. Jay Fox then began his new job as UTA Executive Director. — Utah Policy (January 2022)


KL2 Principal Celia Kupersmith Inducted into APTA Hall of Fame — Celia Kupersmith’s induction into APTA’s Hall of Fame was formally announced by APTA in Passenger Transport on October 16, 2020. Celia shares this career honor KL2’s two founding principals, Tony Kouneski and Jack Leary (retired).


KL2 Founder and Former APTA VP Member Services Tony Kouneski Inducted into Hall of Fame — Tony Kouneski has been a trailblazer throughout his 45-year career, and many progressive service delivery, marketing, safety, and staff development programs can be attributed to his leadership. Tony joins retired KL2 co-founder Jack Leary (a 2018 inductee) in APTA’s Hall of Fame.  — (October 2019)


KL2 Placement Henry Li Named "Top Public Transit Executive" — Regional Transit chief Henry Li… has been named the top public transit executive in the country for 2019 by the American Public Transportation Association. APTA, in announcing the award, called Li “a visionary and transformational leader” who has restored positive financial ratings and rebuilt public trust. — Sacramento Bee (July 2019)


KL2 CEO Placement Shawn Donaghy Honored — C-TRAN was recently honored by the American Public Transportation Association as the Nation’s Best Public Transit system…. C-TRAN won in the mid-sized category, meaning systems with between 4 and 12 million rides per year.  — Clark County Today (July 2019)


IndyGo Selects KL2 Candidate Inez Evans as New CEO — IndyGo has tapped a Silicon Valley transit executive as its new president and CEO. Inez Evans, Chief Operating Officer at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in California since 2015, will become IndyGo’s top executive next month.  — Indiana Biz Journal (July 2019)

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