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September 2019

Rail News: MOW

NRC chairman's column: Updates and summer of safety in the 'swamp'

Mike Choat, NRC Chairman


By Mike Choat, NRC Chairman

I hope that all of you are having a fantastic summer and staying cool during what has been a scorcher!

As we make our way through what has been a very busy and productive summer, I wanted to provide some internal updates from the National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association (NRC) executive committee and board of directors. I’m pleased to announce that the NRC has hired TGA Association Management Solutions LLC (TGA AMS) for government affairs and association management services.

Making his return to the NRC is Matt Ginsberg, president of TGA AMS. Matt was with the NRC previously in many roles, including operations, conference planning and government affairs.

As the old adage says, “when it rains it pours,” and the NRC staff updates also continue to pour! On Aug. 1, the NRC welcomed Ashley Wieland as president of the association. Ashley, who also is making a return to the NRC, comes to us from the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), where she played a pivotal role in building ATSSA’s government relations programs. Ashley’s previous NRC roles included grassroots advocacy, operations and conference planning.

The board of directors and I are elated to have Matt and Ashley back in the fold to steer this proud association forward. With the leadership in place, the board is very excited to see what the future holds.

With our staff updates addressed, please let this be a reminder for you to join us for the 2020 NRC Conference and NRC-REMSA Exhibition! The conference begins Jan. 5, 2020, and concludes with a finale reception Jan. 8. The event will be held at the famous Hotel Del Coronado, long known for its beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. With registration opening soon, please arrange to come and join us for one of the best and most informative events in the entire rail industry! The NRC staff will have more registration information for you in the coming weeks, but you can expect the hotel room block and exhibit hall to sell-out quickly.

Switching gears, I am thrilled to announce that my focus on having a “summer of safety” has continued with John Zuspan of Track Guy Consultants. Under the tutelage of John and his team, the NRC wrapped filming on its newest safety video on how to qualify operators under FRA Part 214 and Part 243. Following this video will be a video on how to handle different types of ties, and how to prevent pinching, cuts, broken bones and all the other fun stuff our industry runs into handling ties!

Continuing our “summer of safety” focus, I would also like to mention that the NRC, in conjunction with the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), proudly and officially has released a petition to the FRA on the Part 243 rule. This petition is the culmination of many days, weeks and years of work to try to scale back unnecessary regulation, costing our members valuable time and precious resources. The ASLRRA and NRC eagerly await a favorable decision from the FRA.

Lastly, I want to wish everyone well, and hope that you enjoy the remainder of your summer. We look forward to seeing you in San Diego come January!


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