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— by Julie Sneider, assistant editor
The individuals featured on the following pages represent Progressive Railroading's first edition of "Rising Stars," a special section designed to highlight some of the rail industry's young talent.
To find these individuals, we asked readers to help us identify 20 candidates under the age of 40 who are considered rising stars at their company or agency. We wanted to know: Who are the up-and-comers already making a difference in railroading?
Readers responded with more than 100 nominations of talented individuals who appear to be well on their way to rail-star status. The finalists selected this year represent the gamut of the rail sector: Class Is, short lines, regionals, passenger railroads, contractors, suppliers, and transit and government agencies.
They also are diverse in their career and personal interests, as well as in their service to professional associations and local communities. If the Rising Stars of 2013 are any indication, the future of railroading will be in good hands.
Fiailoa Ah Sue, Southern California Regional Rail Authority/Metrolink
Shelli Austin, IDS Transportation Services
Ashley Backhus, TranSystems Corp.
Chris Bagwell, Great Lakes Central Railroad
Walter Bleser, Georgetown Rail Equipment Co.
Emanuel Couto, New Jersey Transit
Husein Cumber, Florida East Coast Industries Inc.
Chris Daloisio, Railroad Constructors Inc.
Gregory Grissom, Georgetown Rail Equipment Co.
Erik Johanson, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
Shawntell Kroese, Union Pacific Railroad
Michelle Muhlanger, Federal Railroad Administration
Martita Mullen, CN
Elan Neal, Genesee & Wyoming Inc.
Kevin Nichter, Lilee Systems
Joshua Raymond, Amtrak
Chad Rolstad, BNSF Railway Co.
Marlon Taylor, Anacosta & Pacific Co. Inc.
Justin Vonashek, Metra
Editor's note: Norfolk Southern Railway management trainee Samuel Betten was selected by Progressive Railroading as a Rising Star, but was not profiled.