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August 2020

Rail News: People

Rising Stars 2020: Joe Stephens

Joe Stephens


Joe Stephens, 37
Vice president of estimating
Herzog Technologies Inc.

Nominator’s quote: “Joe is highly motivated to improve and advance industry best practices. He has no problem collaborating across all levels of a project’s organization, from the owner to its field crews, to get the job done right.” — Jim Hansen, Herzog

What is your educational background?
Missouri Western State University, Bachelor of Science, construction engineering technology

Describe your current job and responsibilities.
At Herzog Technologies Inc. as vice president and chief estimator, I am involved in business development, managing of estimating and proposals development to support signal and communication project procurement as well as ongoing project support and operations.

Describe your career path.
I started at Herzog Contracting in the estimating department for civil/track construction. After four years I moved to Herzog Technologies Inc. to learn and provide estimating services for signal, communications, and positive train control projects. I was promoted to chief estimator, then director of project planning. In October 2019 I was promoted to vice president.

Why did you get into the railroad industry?
Herzog has an excellent internship program that allowed me to finish my education and work in the construction industry simultaneously. During this time, I became very interested in railroad construction and the complexities of the industry.

What is the best career advice you’ve received?
“Stop sending emails, pick up the phone and call the person.” This information impacted me greatly as so much of our communication is via email or text and a single phone call can often resolve/accomplish much more.

What advice would you give to a new railroader?
Be safe, be persistent, and learn as much as you can about everything you can.

What was your very first job?
My first job was at a small-town hardware store.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I am a child of an Air Force family and lived in Europe for six years.

What are your favorite hobbies?
I enjoy woodworking, playing guitar, playing golf and spending time with my family.

What is the biggest challenge the rail industry now faces or will face?
When the current veteran railroaders decide to stop coming into the office every day, we will have a difficult time filling their shoes.


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