2021 40 Under 40: Elena Daempfle, CPA

Nov. 23, 2021
Elena Daempfle, CPA, Vice President of Finance, Transdev Services, Inc.
  • One word to describe yourself: Reserved
  • Alma Mater: Washington University in St. Louis
  • Fun fact about yourself: I love jigsaw puzzles.

Elena Daempfle started out at Transdev Services Inc. in 2011 as controller and grants manager for Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE Bus) in Nassau County, N.Y. She was promoted twice during her tenure at NICE Bus before moving to regional and then national roles within Transdev U.S., NICE Bus’s contracted operator.

Daempfle’s role has encompassed accounting, financial and operational aspects of NICE Bus, with more than a $100 million operating budget, $20 million capital budget, 300 buses, 100 paratransit vehicles and 100,000 daily riders in a mixed urban/suburban setting.

As controller, she prepared and analyzed monthly financial reports, and as grants manager she oversaw federal grants generating some $15 to $20 million annually. The funding helped Nassau County replace an aging fleet, enhance its technology and achieve the best service possible. She was then promoted to director of finance of the Nassau County operation in 2013, where she was also responsible for financial controls and monitoring of performance metrics. She managed multiple functions including procurement, payroll, accounts payable and financial and capital planning. She was also responsible for completing all federal and state financial reporting.

She was also a major player in all aspects of budgeting, including planning, developing, managing and analyzing budgets, along with action plans to improve any service or performance issues. One noteworthy innovation was her creation of the financial plan to consolidate two bus depots, achieving $2.5 million in annual savings.

In addition, Daempfle managed the Triennial FTA Reviews, instituting a new process that resulted in near-perfect audits. Another innovation was daily tracking of fares and ridership, which helped the operations team better manage the system.

 In 2018, Daempfle was promoted and assumed responsibility of financial affairs for additional contracts in the Northeast Region including Hudson Link, Transport of Rockland in Rockland County N.Y., Boston Public Schools and a contract with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority for non-emergency medical transportation.

In March 2021, she was promoted to vice president of Finance for Transdev’s U.S. transit operations. In this role, she is accountable for monitoring financial and operational performance, including all key KPIs, for some 80 contracts that Transdev manages across the country. She has been described by colleagues as perseverant, dedicated and skilled at finding efficiencies and improving processes. She helped in many ways to implement practices and policies to safeguard employees and passengers during the pandemic.

And in her new national role, she is demonstrating her talent for proactively identifying and resolving problems, helping reverse negative trends, controlling costs and maximizing productivity at all locations—all to support clients to provide more and better service to passengers.    

Is there a specific experience that led you to where you are today?

I’m very passionate about fiscal responsibility and efficient use of taxpayer dollars. When I heard Nassau County was taking an innovative approach to their transit system, NICE, and entering into a public-private operating partnership (PPOP) with Transdev Services, I jumped at the opportunity to join the team.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

In my role I get to interact with people at all levels of the organization. I have the pleasure of working with the most incredible team! We are all aligned around the common goal of being able to provide safe and reliable transportation.