Management Team


Len Simich
Chief Executive Officer

Len Simich has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Southwest Transit Commission since1997. Len has received numerous awards for his personal and academic achievements including being selected as the Minnesota Transit Professional of the year, and one of the top 40 business leaders in the Twin Cities by the Minneapolis – St. Paul Magazine.  Len is an accredited Planner certified by the American Planning Association, and holds a certificate in Real Estate Development from the Urban Land Institute.  He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Minnesota - Duluth, and a Masters of Business Administration Degree from Metropolitan State University.  Len and his wife Kathy have 3 children; Mike (wife Lydia), Kory and Jake.  Len is an avid golfer, skier, and a loyal UMD Bulldog and Minnesota Wild’s hockey fan! 

Dave Jacobson
Deputy CEO

Dave began working for SouthWest Transit in August 2007.  Prior to working at SWT he was the general manager for the Metropolitan Council’s Metro Mobility program for ten years and prior to that held several managerial and planning positions in the transit industry.  Dave and his wife Stacy live in Mendota Heights and have two children Katherine (24) and William (22).  Dave enjoys hanging at his lake place, traveling with his wife and playing golf.

Gary Groen
Acting Administrative Service Director

Gary has been employed with SouthWest Transit since 2013 and serves as the Finance Director.  Gary's extensive and impressive financial background serves him well in this role!  Gary brings over 35+ years in the governmental accounting area serving cities, school districts and nonprofit organizations. Gary started his career with the Office of State Auditor, and has served as a governmental services partner for a local CPA firm. Gary has also worked as a sole practitioner for ten years and, prior to SWT, seven years as the full-time finance director for a growing suburban community.  

Matt Fyten
Chief Operating Officer

Matt began his career with SouthWest Transit as an Intern in March of 2010.  Prior to working at SWT, Matt was a Research Assistant while attending the U of M’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs where he received a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning.  Matt is very knowledgeable of the SWT service area having grown up in Eden Prairie and served on the Eden Prairie Planning Commission and Eden Prairie Heritage Preservation Commission.  Matt and his wife Mollie reside in Shakopee with their daughter Addison (3).  Matt’s interests include music, sports, politics, history, and going to the cabin.

Souriyong Souriya
Finance Director

Souriyong began her career at Southwest Transit in November 2000 as an Accounting Clerk. Prior to joining the SWT team, Souriyong was an administrative assistant of the MN Gastroenology PA in St. Paul, while finishing school for her accounting degree.   Souriyong was born in Laos.  In 1986 she and her family (parents and 3 siblings) came to the United State as refugee immigrants.  Her family settled in Minnesota and now 30 years later, they are all still here and could not imagine calling any place else home.  Souriyong, along with her 2 children, live in Brooklyn Park and enjoy volunteering at Feed My Starving Children, food shelters and the Laos community.  Souriyong loves to read, but is also a self -proclaimed “reality show junky”!  Her favorite quote is “think positive and be positive”. 

Mike Dartt
Facility Engineer

Mike began his career at SouthWest Transit in 1994 as a driver for National Bus. In March 2003 he became a full time employee of SWT in the Facility Department as a maintenance worker and moved up to Facility Manager in 2013.  Prior to SouthWest Transit, Mike was employed by the City of Eden Prairie in maintenance for both the Street Department and Community Center. Mike and his wife Leslie live in Carver and have one son Logan (3).  In his spare time, Mike enjoys hunting and fishing, but having a busy 3 year old….there is not a lot of “spare time”!

Tony Kuykendall
Maintenance Director

Tony started with SouthWest Transit in March of 2007. Before coming here, he was the Shop Foreman at First Student in Burnsville, MN. Tony is the proud father of two children Makayla (22) and Mitchell (20). When he's not working hard at SouthWest Transit, Tony also teaches medium/heavy duty diesel technicians at Hennepin Technical College. And, in what little free time he has, he enjoys driving his sports car and grilling throughout the year. 


Jason Kirsch
IT Manager

Jason has been employed at SouthWest Transit for a total of 9 years. He first came on board in 1994, then left for a 12 year stint at the City of Chaska, and has been back with SWT for the past 3 years and counting… Jason’s technology skills, coupled with his patient personality have made him the IT guru! Jason is currently a Captain with the Chaska Fire Department where he has been employed the past 14 years. Jason also volunteers his time by operating Street Cars at the Minnesota Street Car Museum in Excelsior. Jason and his wife Kisten, reside in Chaska with their 2 adorable daughters, Olivia and Tatum. Jason’s favorite quote is: “Doesn’t expecting the unexpected make it expected?” which is quite fitting for an IT guy!

Alvin Halaas
General Manager, First Transit

Al has been with SouthWest Transit since September 2005. Before joining the SouthWest team, he previously owned and operated a few businesses. Al owned an insurance company, which he sold after 8 years and then became a District Sales Manager for another insurance agency. Al took an opportunity to purchase a candle factory, and after 10 successful years he sold it to a larger company. On the side, Al was a partner in a limousine company. Some Hobbies of Al's include cars, home remodeling and spending quality time with his grand kids. Al lives in Bloomington with his wife, Mary, of 40+ years. He also has two daughters, Melissa & Brittany. When asked why he enjoys working at SouthWest Transit, Al says, "SouthWest is an agency that one can be very proud to be a part of. SouthWest has demonstrated that transit can be comfortable, convenient and can be counted on to provide a first class, and safe transit experience." As for Al's favorite quote: "It's not what you take when you leave this world behind, it's what you leave behind you when you go." - Three Wooden Crosses, written by Kim Williams and Doug Johnson. Performed by Randy Travis.

Contact Management Staff