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— By Pat Foran, Editor
For the past five years, we’ve asked our readers to help us identify individuals under the age of 40 who are making a positive difference in the rail industry — we call them Rising Stars. Readers responded to our 2017 call by nominating more than 220 people who appear to be well on their way to difference-making careers. From that group, we chose 20 — the Rising Stars Class of 2017.
Honored at a July 23 recognition dinner in St. Louis, this year’s class comprises a diverse group chosen based on a range of factors, including their contributions to the industry, career achievements, demonstrated leadership, professional association activity and community involvement.
This month, we’re sharing snapshot profiles of this year’s Rising Stars. You can read their complete profiles — written by Senior Associate Editor Julie Sneider and Associate Editor Daniel Niepow — on ProgressiveRailroading.com.
The credentials these Stars carry are impressive. So is their collective embrace of technology and their seeming focus on what’s next. To me, what’s most heartening is that these Stars aren’t just making a difference — they seem to relish doing so as part of a team. They’re energized by the inherent dot-connecting that is rail. They see what that dot-connecting can do, particularly during times of crisis.
We asked the 2017 Stars to share their sources of inspiration. Winnie Chang, project manager in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Rail Logistics and Planning Division, cited “the resilience” of the Port Authority-Trans Hudson and port authority staff “in the face of extreme conditions such as Superstorm Sandy and 9/11.” She also draws inspiration from “the greater mission of keeping the railroad safely operating to serve the region.” As railroads in the Houston area restore service in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we’ll see more of that resiliency, more of that dot-connecting. I suspect we’ll also see more rail stars on the ascent.
Congratulations to the Rising Stars Class of 2017. Thanks for inspiring us — and the next wave of rail leaders.
RailTrends 2017 is just around the corner. It’ll be held Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at the New York Marriott Marquis. As ever, our star-studded speaker lineup is spot-on eclectic.
As of Sept. 1, the lineup included Alfredo Casar, president and CEO, Ferromex; Wick Moorman, co-CEO, Amtrak; Beth Whited, EVP and CMO, Union Pacific Railroad; JJ Ruest, executive VP and CMO, CN; John Brooks, senior VP and CMO, Canadian Pacific; Jeffrey Songer, EVP and COO, Kansas City Southern; Michael Rutherford, VP of industrial products, CSX; John Scheib, VP-Law, Norfolk Southern Railway; Rick Webb, CEO, Watco Cos. LLC.; and Jack Hellmann, chairman, president and CEO, Genesee & Wyoming Inc., and Progressive Railroading’s 2017 Railroad Innovator Award honoree.
For details, see RailTrends Program Consultant Tony Hatch’s take on this year’s conference. For the complete lineup or to register, visit RailTrends.com.