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October 2021

Rail News: MOW

NRC Chairman’s Column: What’s the most valuable thing you’ve brought home from an industry event?

NRC Chairman Jim Hansen


Take a minute to reflect on the most valuable thing you’ve ever brought home from an industry event. 

At most of these events, you’ll find a carload of branded items handed out by company representatives. Some of my peers are pros at filling tote bags with an assortment of company-branded giveaways to bring back to office colleagues or home to their kids. 

But in more than three decades of going to these events, I don’t recall any item that I brought home that’s been a game-changer for my company or my career. Don’t get me wrong. These items have their place. Their branding helps us remember company names and players, and delivers some short-term value.  

But for me, the most valuable thing I’ve brought home from an industry event is not a thing at all: It’s a connection. 

Starting back with my first NRC annual conference in the 1980s, I learned the immense value of making a connection. When I headed home, I had a pocketful of business cards, a bunch of new peers who would take my calls, and some indispensable industry intelligence to share with the rest of the team back at the office. 

Connections are invaluable sources for industry information. They inform you about challenges out on the railroad and potential solutions. Connections provide insights on product and service developments. They offer details on partnerships and deals in the works. They also give you visibility to career options and future development opportunities. And connections open doors to other connections who lead to even more connections. 

No one advances in their career without help from others along the way. Thanks to my railway connections, I’ve greatly expanded my expertise, secured new business as well as new jobs, and developed rewarding associations and friendships across our industry. 

When it comes to connections, there’s no better place to make them than at the NRC’s Annual Conference. 

The JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix is the site of the 2022 NRC Conference and NRC-REMSA Exhibition.

If you are considering attending the 2022 NRC Conference coming up Jan. 5-8 in Phoenix, you can be assured of leaving with some valuable connections. Whether secured through a broad range of speakers and breakout sessions, through the NRC-REMSA Exhibition or from multiple informal networking events, your associations with more than 1,000 industry professionals at the conference will help develop your business roadmap for the year. These assets will serve you well throughout your career. 

It’s time to make your plans to attend. All of the details, including the agenda, registration, hotel options, exhibitor reservations and sponsorship opportunities, are online:

I’m looking forward to connecting with you in January. 

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


Jim Hansen, NRC Chairman
The National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association Inc.
80 M Street, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
202-715-2920 •

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