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September 2014

Rail News: People

Rising Star: John Manutes

John Manutes

John Manutes [AGE 34]

Chief Inspector, Regional Passenger Railroad Specialist
Federal Railroad Administration, Region 6

Education: Michigan State University, B.S. in mechanical engineering

Career highlights: After college, Manutes became a management trainee for Union Pacific Railroad's car department in Omaha, Neb., then worked in mechanical maintenance in Roseville, Calif. In 2009, he accepted a job as motive power and equipment safety inspector in the Federal Railroad Administration's Denver office, and was named chief inspector of passenger rail in 2011. In coordination with government and private-sector partners, he now manages the commuter-rail safety phases of the Regional Transportation District's (RTD) FasTracks project in Denver.

Why rail? UP was recruiting "heavily" on the Michigan State campus during his senior year.

Making a difference in rail transportation by ... serving smaller railroads as a resource for federal safety regulation and government grant information. "As fast as their businesses are changing, I get to work with them one-on-one in understanding how the regulatory side is changing."

Five-year goal: "Ideally, I'll still be in this job. Maybe after 10 years, I'll get back into management and supervision."

Active in: Colorado chapter of Operation Lifesaver

His philosophy: "Hard work and preparation. I believe the railroad industry is 'blue collar.' In other words, it's dedicated to hard work and foregoing short-term success for long-term gain. That suits me very well."

Interesting fact: He served as Michigan State's mascot "Sparty" from 2000 to 2004.

Nominator's observation: "Mr. Manutes makes outstanding contributions to the rail industry through leadership over and above his traditional work scope. ... Most notably, he has overseen the final leg of RTD's FasTracks project. [He] has implemented several safety working groups and coordinated with FRA's Passenger Railroad Division to guarantee safe and efficient commuter-rail begins in the Denver community on time." — Steven Fender, FRA





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