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Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway

Norfolk Southern's Butler to retire Oct. 1


Deborah "Deb" Butler, Norfolk Southern Corp.'s executive vice president planning and chief information officer, has announced her plan to retire Oct. 1, the company said yesterday.

Butler joined NS in 1978 as a customer account auditor. She advanced to positions of increasing responsibility in operations before being named assistant vice president transportation customer services in 2000, and vice president customer service in 2002. The company appointed her EVP of planning and chief information officer in 2007.

In addition, Butler has served as chairwoman of Thoroughbred Technology and Telecommunications LLC, an NS subsidiary, and as a board member of TTX Co. Inc., which provides rail cars and related freight-car management services to the rail industry.

During Butler’s tenure, NS implemented a new optimized dispatching system to improve network velocity, made significant progress toward positive train control systems installation, and successfully negotiated the purchase of 282 miles of Delaware and Hudson Railway Co. lines to support rail service to the Northeast.

As chair of NS' Environmental Policy Council, she has been a key advocate of the company's commitment to sustainable business through improvements in locomotive fuel efficiency and emissions, energy use, land and water conservation, waste management, and engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, NS officials said in a press release.

"Envisioning the railroad of tomorrow is one thing, actually making it happen is quite another," said NS President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Squires. "Deb's enduring contribution to Norfolk Southern is all around us in the systems and technology that literally make the railroad run, that support efficient customer service, and that provide flexibility to take advantage of growth opportunities."

Butler also has been recognized for serving as a mentor to the next generation of railroaders. She helped found Women in Norfolk Southern (WiNS), the railroad’s first official employee resource group, now in its 10th year.

In 2013, the League of Railway Industry Women (LRIW) named Butler the recipient of its Outstanding Woman of the Year Award. Sponsored by Progressive Railroading, the award recognizes an individual woman's dedication, commitment and contribution to the rail industry.

In an interview with the magazine that year, Butler talked about how she entered the railroad industry "strictly by accident," but then ended up spending her entire career at NS.

"This [railroading] is such a complex business, much more complex than I think most people realize," Butler said at the time. "When you look at what goes on behind the scenes of making everything work, it's so interesting. I've always had jobs where I believed I was able to make a difference."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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