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Job description: Stahlnecker works on a variety of freight- and transit-rail projects. Her duties include feasibility studies, design, plan preparation, cost estimation, project management and construction support. She provides guidance for less experienced staff in her section and helps with HDR's freight railroad training program.
Education: Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering with a minor in communication studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Nominator’s quote: “[Stahlnecker] has become a key member of the rail staff with her extensive track design knowledge and experience, leading multidisciplinary complex projects and developing new clients, as well as mentoring younger staff. Her technical proficiency has facilitated her involvement as a key design leader on both freight and transit projects.” — Luke Bathurst, HDR
How did you get into railroading?
With my father’s career at Union Pacific Railroad, the railroad industry has been a part of my life since I was born. But it wasn't until college that I realized that is where I wanted to be with my career. My interests evolved from enjoying science and solving problems (grade school/middle school) to architecture (high school) to transportation engineering (college). During college, I had five internships that gave me a wide range of exposure to numerous aspects of transportation. This included field and office work, as well as tasks like surveying, planning, designing, construction, and assessments. With my classwork, experiences and internships, I knew the railroad industry was where I wanted to be. It was exciting and drew me in.
What career accomplishment are you most proud of so far?
In 2011, I was named an HDR associate. The associate program recognizes employees who embody high standards of personal and professional conduct and show extraordinary potential for advancing in technical, creative or business careers. These employees demonstrate enthusiastic leadership and excellence in their fields, increasing levels of responsibility and initiative for continued growth and development activities. This was an amazing accomplishment for me as it was entirely unexpected and felt great to see that my hard work and dedication were showing through.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, volunteering, being outdoors, cooking, reading, trying new things, traveling, and going to various sporting events, festivals and performances within the community.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I held the Nebraska Class A State Track and Field record for the 300-meter hurdles for 10 years.
What do you hope to be doing five years from now?
I hope I’m managing projects that have a positive impact on the railroad industry as well as the country. I hope I’m helping to bring along less experienced individuals within the industry to give them experience and knowledge that will help them grow their careers.
What would you say to convince someone to consider railroading as a career?
The rail industry is just like any industry with a wide variety of areas and opportunities. Don’t be discouraged and turned off to the entire industry if you see or hear one thing that doesn’t appeal to you. There are so many avenues you can pursue in the industry — from being in the office to being in the field, working for a railroad or being a consultant, contractor or supplier to the railroad.
Arthur Adams Jr.
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