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Director of Purchasing Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co. (IHB)
Education: Saint Joseph's University, bachelor's degree in English; pursuing an M.B.A. at Indiana University Northwest
Career highlights: Nicoletti joined IHB in 2002 to perform financial, accounting and process improvement duties. He was promoted to director of purchasing in 2010. Currently, he performs financial evaluation and project management, particularly for the railroad's effort to convert 70 percent of its fleet to compressed natural gas (CNG). He led IHB's effort to obtain a $35 million grant through Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to fund the locomotive conversion to CNG.
Why rail? "My father worked in the rail industry. It's something I've always been very close to. I can remember being taken for rides on locomotives when I was young. It seemed natural for me to go into the business."
Making a difference in rail transportation ... through the locomotive conversion project. Nicoletti and his IHB colleagues are "proud to be the first railroad to commit to this change from diesel" and what the conversion can do for the industry from environmental and economic perspectives.
Five-year goal: "Enjoying the success of the locomotive conversion. I really like to be very creative with solutions. I like to tackle problems in new ways, yet I want to be grounded in the facts based on the numbers. So what I really hope for in five years is a much larger role of responsibility that would allow me to capitalize on operating in that way."
Active in: He offers support to military veterans' associations.
His philosophy: "Don't be afraid to pursue new ideas, but be prepared to let the numbers speak for themselves."
Interesting fact: He races cars at Great Lakes regional raceways and rebuilds Mazda rotary engines.
Nominator's observation: "Michael Nicoletti has made decisions [that] can transform the rail industry. ... The transfer to CNG motive-power will significantly improve the air quality in the IHB operating area." — Pat Daly, IHB