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Partner Chambers, Conlon and Hartwell L.L.C.
Education: George Washington University, bachelor's degree in international business; George Mason University, law degree
Career highlights: Nordstrom started his career as a staff member on Capitol Hill. When he joined Chambers, Conlon and Hartwell in 1999, he became the lobbyist for the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.
Making a difference in rail transportation: He serves as lead organizer of Railroad Day on Capitol Hill, and was an originator of the Section 45G tax credit that helps short lines invest in infrastructure.
His philosophy: "You have to be honest with people. If you can deal with people as fellow human beings and treat them with respect, and if you have good ideas, people will listen to you and help you implement those ideas."
Five-year goal: "I get to work in an industry that's in its third century, but also constantly having to innovate. Railroads are in the business of moving things, and I always want to move forward. Five years from now, I can totally see myself in this industry, but hopefully still continuing to innovate."
Interesting fact: He drove a Volkswagen dune buggy with a broken clutch in a campaign motorcade for George W. Bush. "I was too poor to fix the clutch, so I would ordinarily park on a downhill grade to get the car started and pray I missed red lights. I was terrified when then-Gov. Bush told me to drive along to the next campaign event, but not terrified enough to say 'no.' I met the president again years later and we had a good laugh over that drive."
Nominator's observation: "Adam drafted the 'assignment' provision in the 45G statute to allow railroads and customers to join together to fund infrastructure investments that small short lines could not afford on their own. The foresight behind this provision has generated tremendous value for smaller railroads; almost half of the 45G investments utilize some form of Adam's assignment provision — hundreds of millions of dollars in investments that would not have happened otherwise." — Ed McKechnie, Watco Cos.