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Jeff Kessler

Jeff Kessler is a systems optimizer passionate about the intersection of business, technology, and the regulatory state. He holds four degrees from the University of Pennsylvania — two undergraduate degrees (Wharton & Systems Engineering) from the Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology and two graduate degrees (Systems Engineering and a Regulatory & Technology Law Master in Law). Through his technical, legal, behavioral, and business backgrounds, Jeff strives to develop systems that are functionally optimized and maximize stakeholder goals.

Professionally, Jeff’s passion has been the transportation sector, where he has unparalleled work and board experience spanning every major transportation system along the entire Northeast Corridor from DC to Boston (Amtrak, WMATA, SEPTA, MTA NYCT, MBTA CR).

Jeff is currently responsible for using technology to enhance operational practices and augment front-facing customer initiatives at Keolis Commuter Services, the private operator of the MBTA Commuter Rail in Boston and the surrounding suburbs. He is the Founder and Principal of KASDAT Consulting, an Emeritus Member of the Delaware River Port Authority Citizens Advisory Committee, a member of Young Professionals in Transportation (YPT), and an organizer of the TransportationCamp Philadelphia conference.

Current Endeavors

Keolis Commuter Services


Application Specialist – Service Delivery

Responsible for using technology to streamline workflows, enhance operational practices, and deliver better performance on the MBTA Commuter Rail system.

KASDAT Consulting


Founder and Principal

Provide independent strategic and implementation guidance to firms and private individuals looking to leverage data, automate processes, and train their workforce to do the same.

TransportationCamp PHL


Co-Chair

Organized Philadelphia’s first TransportationCamp, bringing the transportation industry’s most dynamic conference model to the City of Brotherly Love in partnership with YPT and WTS. Visit http://transportationcamp.org/events/phl2018/ for details and to subscribe to updates about TransportationCamp PHL 2019!

Delaware River Port Authority CAC


Emeritus Member

Youngest individual (by 10+ years) appointed to the official independent advisory board of the Delaware River Port Authority; confirmed by DRPA Board and Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor.

 Experience

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Experience Across the Corridor


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SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority)

✔ Functioned as an internal consultant identifying and evaluating potential customer service initiatives.
✔ Authored report and developed LINDO optimization model proposing 35 initiatives designed through field work, observation, market research, social media, historical records, and external agency collaboration.
✔ Oversaw multiple focus groups, analyzed results, and evaluated surveys to assess initiative performance.
✔ Administered and hosted more than 15 SEPTA Customer Connection events at various area destinations.

Keolis Commuter Services (Operator of the MBTA Commuter Rail)

SEPTA YAC

✔ 4th Term Chairing Organization Charged with Representing Interests of Youth in the Greater Philadelphia Region
✔ Analyze $1.36B Operating Budget, $534.5M Capital Budget, $6.8B Capital Program, and Annual Service Plan
✔ Formulate Reports on Operational Improvements and Present Findings to Board of Directors and Executive Staff
✔ Responsible for bringing a “U-Pass” Discounted Student Fare Program to students in the Greater Philadelphia Region

MTA New York City Transit

✔ Formed and directed “ORCA Select” team as Project Manager to establish platform for improving Operations Research Computation Analysis (ORCA) tool’s ease-of-use and agency adoption.
✔ Assembled Plus/Delta evaluation through field surveys and 7 self-conducted interdepartmental focus groups
✔ Restructured training model, leading to a unitary increase in both training and platform satisfaction

WMATA (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority)

✔ Automated Daily Service Reports (freeing 3.25 wks/yr), coded tool to restore archive of 26k photos, built ridership metric tool
✔ Created WiFi Portal, built App Gallery, helped transition Metro to new website, led two developer events
✔ Analyzed and proposed improvements to rail/bus operating centers, next train prediction algorithms, incident monitoring/response, service disruption operational regularity, and customer experience/communication

Amtrak

✔ Advised CETC (Train Management) Quality Control Team, Dispatch, and assisted in NE Corridor Routing.
✔ Supported designing of track structures and curve layouts; tracked Acela train on-time-performance.

Delaware River Port Authority

✔ Review Board Financials to ensure DRPA operations serve the best interests of PATCO riders
✔ Youngest member by more than 10 years; Appointment Overseen by Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley

Keolis Commuter Services (MBTA Commuter Rail Operator)

Application Specialist – Service Delivery, Since June 2018

Keolis Commuter Services

Application Specialist – Passenger Services, 9/17-6/18

SEPTA Youth Advisory Council

Four Terms as Executive Chairperson (2013-2017); Member 3/13-9/17

Delaware River Port Authority

Citizens Advisory Committee Emeritus Member (Former Appointment 12/14-8/17; Transit Co-Chair, Recording Secretary)

WMATA

Digital Customer Experience Initiatives, Summer 2016

MTA New York City Transit

System Data & Research (SDR), Summer 2015

SEPTA

Customer Development & Improvement Special Projects, Summer 2014

The Transit Navigator

Founded 2012

Amtrak

Engineering Department, September 2010 – May 2011

Background

Systems Engineering

Nothing we encounter functions in isolation; rather, everything is a set of components with complex interdependencies. Systems engineering utilizes engineering methodologies, optimization techniques, and sensitivity analyses to improve these systems.

Behavioral Economics

Why do optimized systems often fail? They regularly make incorrect assumptions about human behavior and rationality. Behavioral Economics provides a toolkit for analyzing decisions, optimizing systems, and developing creative solutions in light of known behavioral biases and decision processing.

Business & Finances

Virtually every system we encounter is governed by money and finances. Acting as the life-blood behind many systems, quite simply, solid financial understanding is critical to robust decision-making.

Policy & Law

Sometimes the most critically-overlooked component of decision making is that of policy and legal implications. Knowing how to design and build systems within a complex regulatory environment along with an understanding of effective policy crafting is required for modern success.

Graduate & Undergraduate Education

Undergrad — Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology

Concurrently pursued degrees from Wharton and Penn Engineering in UPenn’s oldest coordinated dual degree program.

Positions: M&T Program Student Board, Penn Transit Advisory Board, Robotics Program Teaching Assistant

Class of 2016

Masters — University of Pennsylvania

First student to pursue an interdisciplinary program in Engineering and Law / Technology Policy.

Positions: Penn Transit Advisory Board, Electrical & Systems Engineering Senior Design Teaching Assistant

Class of 2017

The Wharton School

Bachelor of Science in Economics, 2016

Concentration in Behavioral Economics

Penn Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Engineering, 2016

Major in Systems Science & Engineering

Penn Law

Master in Law, 2017

Regulatory & Technology Law Track

Penn Engineering

Master of Science in Engineering, 2017

Major in Systems Engineering

Additional Information & Endeavors

Awards


American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Jack R. Gilstrap Scholarship, 2016

North America’s Highest Award in Public Transportation

Norman Gross Award, 2016

for Excellence in Systems Design

Richard K. Dentel Award

for Excellence in Urban Transportation

Davidson Institute for Talent Development

Davidson Young Scholar

American Mensa

Mensa Member

Johns Hopkins CTY

Visual-Spatial Ability National High Honors Award

9-Time Science Fair Award Winner

Education.com National Virtual Science Fair, US Air Force Science & Engineering Award, PA Junior Academy of Science — State Competition First Award & Perfect Score

Technical Skills


Python

Extensive Knowledge

Excel (w/ Optimization Tools)

Extensive Knowledge

Matlab

Working Knowledge

R

Working Knowledge

Project Management

Trained in Best Practice Project Management

Cognitive Task Analysis / Human Factors

Trained in Usability Testing, Task Analysis / CTA, System Evaluation, and Automation

WordPress

Extensive Knowledge; 9+ Successful Deployments

Volunteer Organizations


Operation Lifesaver

Operation Lifesaver Field Safety Volunteer

Fantastic Friends Social Group

Volunteer Staff Member | Fmr. Web Integration Director

Penn For Youth Debate (Fmr)

Volunteer | Tournament Director | Website Manager | Executive Board Member

M&T Student Board (Fmr)

Webmaster | Communications Chair | Alumni Advisor

Conference Organization


TransportationCamp Philadelphia

Event Co-Chair

EduCon Conference

Chief Process Engineer | Alumni Consultant

The Franklin Institute

Galileo Conference | Workshop Design

Philly Tech Week

“School 2.0“ Co-Chair, 2011

Philadelphia Science Festival

Organizer & Exhibit Leader, 2011

Teaching & Speaking


Electrical & Systems Engineering Senior Design

TA, Penn Engineering, University of Pennsylvania

Robotics in The Classroom

TA, Teachers Institute of Philadelphia

Previous Education & Specialized Programs


Science Leadership Academy, Class of 2012

Long Island School for the Gifted, Class of 2008

Rail Transportation Program

Michigan Technological University

Dolan DNA Learning Center

DNA Restriction Analysis