Gabe Klein has always viewed his work as a canvas to create a contribution, and is inspired by ventures that give something back to the community, vs. strictly producing profit. This is why he only works on projects that invoke his passion, and that offer a product or service that is providing something positive for the future. Gabe has worked in leadership roles in Transportation, Technology, Consumer Services and Consulting.
Most recently, Gabe joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration in Chicago on May 16, 2011 to run the Chicago Department of Transportation. He views his appointment as an opportunity to make Chicago an example nationally for innovation in transportation and public space, and most importantly, to positively impact quality of life for the 2.6 million residents of Chicago. While at CDOT, Gabe and his management team transformed the agency into a national model for innovation in transportation and tech. From publishing six groundbreaking plans for Chicago, to not just talking about Complete Streets, but putting it into practice, baking sustainability and livability into every project that CDOT undertakes. The soon to be largest bikeshare program in the United States, Divvy, has already revolutionized how Chicagoans navigate their neighborhoods
Gabe was Director of The District Department of Transportation, appointed by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty in December, 2008 and serving until the end of Fenty’s term Dec 31st of 2010. Gabe was appointed as a next-generation game changer for DDOT. Mayor Fenty desired a forward-thinking executive with private sector experience to innovate, operate, and streamline the agency, while dramatically cutting the operating budget for a $1 billion agency. Gabe attacked on all fronts, and built a customer focused agency that is being hailed as a leader nationally in technology, customer interface, and multi-modal innovation, as well as innovative finance. DDOT is setting the standard for everything from parking technology, to the Nations 1st, and largest bikesharing program, Capital Bikeshare. The DDOT budget was balanced for FY-10 to +$67 with a $16 million overrun from the blizzards of 2010, and the independent structure of the agency allowed the flexibility to achieve this, and throw off $38m in profit to the general fund. Gabe and team left a road-map for the next team to come in and build upon their success.
Gabe was a Co-Founder of On The Fly, an innovative, boutique food-service company with 4 different businesses under one roof, personified by the next-generation electric “smartkarts” that he and his team designed over a 6 month period and launched in 2007. On The Fly’s smartkarts complement smart growth, and literally bring high quality natural foods to residents, workers and visitors in densely trafficked areas, typically near transit.
At the end of 2002, Gabe was brought in by Robin Chase, the Founder of Zipcar in Boston, to take a new concept in the U.S, “carsharing,” and build a viable business in Washington D.C. and help prove the carsharing model. As Regional Vice President, Gabe took the challenge seriously and took an unheard of concept and brand, and within 4 years had grown membership by over 1000%, had 500 vehicles in the D.C. region, and achieved profitable operating results along with the highest consumer quality scores in the company. Gabe was the first to develop strong public-private partnerships with local governments, regional transportation agencies, as well as all major universities in a market, very instrumental in Zipcar’s growth. At the end of Gabe’s tenure at Zipcar, Washington D.C. was the nation’s largest carsharing city by membership and vehicles, had purchased Flexcar, and modeled for international expansion.
Prior to Zipcar, Gabe had Director-level roles at ProfessionaLink, a national technology-consulting start-up based in Washington D.C. where he led marketing and business development efforts into Fortune 1000 Companies, regularly meeting with C-level executives about their consulting needs, and at Bikes USA, at the time the nation’s largest bicycle retailer with a mission to make cycling accessible to everyone. Gabe spearheaded Bikes USA’s launch into South Florida, before taking over responsibility for daily operations in all locations, spanning 7 states including the Washington Metro area. Gabe also grew up in the cycling industry, and avidly rode and worked in cycling related ventures since childhood.
Gabe and his work have been featured in many major news outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Washington Business Journal, Bloomberg and many more. Gabe holds a degree in Marketing Management from Virginia Tech, and was a 14 year resident of The District, now residing in Chicago’s South Loop, and now… back in DC!