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This is the fourth consecutive year that Progressive Railroading has honored professionals under the age of 40 who are making a positive difference in the railroad industry.
The 20 Rising Stars of 2016 represent the spectrum of rail-sector careers. They hold jobs at Class Is, short lines, passenger railroads, suppliers, transit agencies and engineering firms, as well as with associations and in labor organizations.
As in prior years, Progressive Railroading editors chose this year’s award winners from a long list of reader-submitted nominations. Narrowing the list to only 20 winners is never an easy task.
The reasons behind their rail-career choices are diverse. Some told us they followed relatives or friends into the business, while others said they came upon their jobs after a detour through another industry. Still, others said they arrived "by accident."
Although their circumstances vary, they do share a common goal: Succeed in ways that make their railroad, company, union, trade group or agency a better, more efficient and safer place for their colleagues and the people whose interests they serve.
And though most are still in the first half of their careers, many told us that they already feel an obligation to mentor their younger coworkers.
"We need to make sure that we are giving the same opportunities [we had] to the next generation, and that we’re trusting them to accomplish tasks," said Rising Star Darin Selby, vice president of sales and marketing, energy markets, at Kansas City Southern.
Progressive Railroading honored Selby and his fellow award winners at a July 24 dinner in Pittsburgh, where dozens of other guests helped celebrate the Rising Stars' achievements. A special thanks goes to the sponsors of this year’s dinner: the American Association of Railroad Superintendents, Kansas City Southern, STV, RailTrends® and HDR Inc.
The complete profiles — which were written by Senior Associate Editor Julie Sneider and Associate Editor Daniel Niepow — can be found below.
Bernardo Ayala Jeff Bernstein Andrea Berry–Morris Kristina Brevard Matt Campbell Allison Fayfich Jon Gabriel Greg Godfrey Christopher Howard Amanda Jones Michael Keller Gretchen Kostura Jeremy Kramer Leslia LeMaster Wilson Mike Logan Kylie McLaughlin Kate O'Connor Rapik Saat Darin Selby Jerry Vaughn