The late Paul Jablonski, CEO of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, has been inducted into the American Public Transportation Association Hall of Fame, MTS said Tuesday.

“A steady theme throughout Paul’s career was about contributing to the advancement of transit in the United States and around the world,” said Paul Skoutelas, APTA president and CEO. “Paul and his contributions moving our industry forward will be deeply missed, but he has helped us forge a promising path that other transit leaders can follow into the future.”

The Hall of Fame induction is the association’s highest honor — dedicated to recognizing individuals who have long and distinguished careers in the transportation industry.

In 2009, only four years into his role as CEO at MTS, the agency was awarded Outstanding Large System of the Year, becoming the first transportation agency in the country to ever score the highest in every quantitative measure.

Jablonski, who died May 10 at age 67, was also recognized by APTA, based in Washington, D.C., as the Outstanding Transportation Manager of the Year in 2014.

“Paul had a unique ability to have real clarity and precise vision about what we needed to do as a transit agency,” said county Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, MTS board chair.

“He built a culture of professionalism and execution at MTS. He’s the reason MTS is such a great agency now. I’d like to thank APTA for recognizing Paul as a 2021 Hall of Fame recipient. It’s a befitting award that comes from an organization Paul sincerely admired.”

Jablonski began his career as a bus driver, and held many positions throughout the years including serving on the APTA Executive Committee and as chair of the California Transit Association’s Executive Committee, a position in which he led efforts to restore state funding for all California transit agencies in the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession.

APTA’s foundation has set up the Paul Jablonski Scholarship to help deserving students and transit professionals further their education. Donations can be accepted here.