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August 2023

Rail News: MOW

NRC Chairman's Column: What do you get for your NRC membership?

Steve Bolte, NRC Chairman


Autumn is right around the corner. Along with it comes the annual planning process when companies develop their roadmaps for the coming year. This process inevitably leads to goals, budgets and questions about the activities and resources needed to achieve your business plan.

As you start this process, let me help you answer a question many of us have fielded before: What do you get for your membership in the NRC?

The short answer is “a lot!” A more thoughtful reply makes a case for how the NRC helps you achieve your company business plan, how it benefits the broader railway contractor/supplier community and how it enhances your own professional development.

Contractors and suppliers that construct, maintain and supply railroads and rail-transit lines established the NRC in 1978 to advance their mutual interests. Like its members, the NRC is an industrious association that covers a lot of ground with a lean staff, an engaged board of directors and active committees.

The NRC may be best known for our annual conference held each January. We have a well-earned reputation for being the premier networking event in the railway industry. Last year, more than 1,300 leaders from a range of railroad disciplines gathered to exchange information, gain valuable insights, and collaborate with customers and potential partners.

With a company membership, employees receive discounts on registration and exhibit space. All attendees benefit from presentations by chief engineers from Class Is, major short lines and large transit agencies about their capex programs and budgets. The chance to ask questions and connect with these leaders, their engineering and procurement teams and other industry leaders is invaluable. There is no better venue to uncover opportunities and put together project teams and business deals.

NRC membership provides access to buy, sell or simply network at our annual railroad equipment auction as well as a listing in the NRC Membership Directory - an important resource for Class Is and short lines. Members also are eligible to apply for a range of industry awards that build employee morale and provide broad industry exposure. Employees from member companies, their children and grandchildren can apply for annual scholarships to help pay tuition to a college, university or trade school.

The NRC has played an invaluable role in developing resources that make railway construction and maintenance safer. Members can access a range of safety training materials online, including 30 safety training videos, toolbox talks, safety manuals, FRA 49 CFR Part 214 Roadway Worker Protection training and FRA 49 CFR Part 243 Minimum Training Standards templates. Contractors with exemplary safety records also can apply for and leverage industry recognition as “NRC Safe Contractor of the Year.”

When it comes to advocating for railway contractors and suppliers before Congress and federal agencies, the NRC is on the front lines. Our staff works with lawmakers and regulators to encourage investment in U.S. railway infrastructure and related job growth. As knowledgeable experts, our team helps shape legislation and regulations that impact our members. A recent example includes lobbying for opportunities to contract out work on projects funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The NRC also helps members build relationships directly with lawmakers so they can have an ongoing dialogue about important rail-related issues. The NRC’s annual Congressional Fly-in, coordinated by our Policy & Legislative Committee, and grassroots events at member facilities and project sites are rewarding ways to connect with your elected officials.

Registration opens in August for the NRC Annual Conference and NRC-REMSA Exhibition, which will be held from Jan. 3-6, 2024, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Join the NRC and get the most out of membership starting with a registration discount. Then leverage the connections, the information, and the insights from the conference and other opportunities throughout the year to move your company, your industry and your career forward.

“Building a Safer and Stronger Railway Construction Industry Together!”

Steve Bolte, NRC chairman
The National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association Inc.
80 M Street, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003

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