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July 2017



Rail News: People

Rising Stars: Nick Chodorow, The Belt Railway Co. of Chicago (BRC)



Nick Chodorow, 39

Chief information officer
The Belt Railway Co. of Chicago (BRC)

Job description: Chodorow is responsible for all things technology–related at the Belt Railway, as well as providing the railroad with a "technological vision" for the short– and long–term, he says. Chodorow also has been tasked with implementing a positive train control (PTC) system at the short line.

Education: Undergraduate degree in economics, Cornell University; master’s degree in IT management, Northwestern University

Nominator’s quote: “In his short time [at the Belt Railway], Nick has understood what each department does and insisted on better solutions using information technology. He now leads several committees with the [American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association] and other organizations. His commitment to continually excelling and leading the different committees to a safer and more efficient tomorrow is relentless.” — Steve Hoye, Belt Railway Co. of Chicago

How did you get into railroading?
It was somewhat of a fluke. I was working in an options trading firm in downtown Chicago in late 2012 and decided I needed a change. I answered a company/industry blind job post on Indeed.com for an IT director position at a medium-sized Chicago-based company. Multiple months went by and then I was contacted by the HR department at the BRC for an interview. Over the course of a week I interviewed with each of the BRC's senior leadership team and did my own research on topics such as PTC and the BRC itself. It seemed like the right place and industry for me to call home on the next step of my career, so I joined the BRC in March 2013.

What do you hope to be doing or learning five years from now?
I plan on running a railroad or rail industry vendor five years from now. Learning should never end, so it's hard to know exactly what I’d be learning five years from now, but I’m 100 percent sure that each day between now and then I will continue to be exposed to and learn new things.

What inspires you?
Two major things: implementing PTC and doing what I can to ensure that the BRC is a leading railroad operationally and technically. By doing so we should be able to continue to operate as a standalone railroad well into the future.

What would you say to convince someone to consider railroading as a career?
Where else can you have a career that directly influences our economy while playing a large role in ensuring that the industry itself adapts as the world around it changes? On the IT side, it's so much more motivating to know you are building applications and systems to move our economy forward than, say, a web or mobile app that’s for entertainment purposes only.

What is a little-known fact about you?
I was in a French immersion program as a kid growing up in Prince Edward Island.

Rising Stars 2017 Award Winners:


Winnie Chang
Winnie Chang

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Nick Chodorow
Nick Chodorow

Belt Railway Co. of Chicago


Robert Gordon
Robert Gordon

National Transportation Safety Board


Travis Kelly
Travis Kelly

Texas Central Partners LLC

Darrell Krueger
Darrell Krueger

BNSF Railway Co.


Michael Lefevre
Michael Lefevre

Brightline (All Aboard Florida)

Michele Malski
Michele Malski

Short Line Safety Institute

Julie Mink
Julie Mink

Tealinc Ltd.


Myat Ohn
Myat Ohn

HNTB

Annka Robinson
Annka Robinson

Dallas Area Rapid Transit/Trinity Railway Express

Danielle Ross
Danielle Ross

Spectrum Inc.


Mike Stickel
Mike Stickel

Lake State Railway Co.

Sarah Touey
Sarah Touey

Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon


Stu Towner
Stu Towner

Watco Cos. LLC

 



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