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Director, Safety and Environment VIA Rail Canada
By Daniel Niepow, Associate Editor
Bruno Riendeau began his career with VIA Rail Canada as a summer student worker in 1997. A biochemistry undergraduate at the University of Quebec in Montreal at the time, Riendeau was assigned to a project in VIA Rail’s facility maintenance department, where he developed training materials for the disposal of hazardous materials.
Hired on as a permanent employee in 1999, he’s worked on a host of environmental initiatives since, such as helping the railroad’s maintenance centers retain their ISO 14001 environmental certification, which they first earned in 2000. The certification is awarded to organizations and companies that meet an established list of criteria for environmental management systems.
In January 2015, Riendeau was promoted from a senior adviser role to director of safety and environment. He also serves as a member of VIA’s legal services and risk management team.
Riendeau, who earned an MBA degree from his alma mater in 2012, now directs two senior advisers and one coordinator, in addition to leading several key projects, such as maintaining VIA's safety and environmental management systems, ensuring compliance to external and internal regulations, and guiding the railroad’s overall environmental performance, says Jean-Francois Legault, VIA Rail’s chief legal officer.
“Bruno has continuously shown curiosity, creativity and willingness to learn and help the corporation achieve its objectives,” wrote Legault in nominating Riendeau as a Rising Star.
Legault further characterized Riendeau as a capable leader who excels in giving and receiving constructive feedback — whether he’s interacting with clients, colleagues or supervisors.
Riendeau’s deftness at communicating has allowed him to translate high-level environmental theory into practical, workable solutions for the railroad’s employees. It’s also helped him foster positive relationships with regulators and other external entities.
“We have entered a new era in our business in terms of safety management,” Riendeau says. “The railroad industry, being 100-plus years old, tends to be more reactive than creative, so there’s a good opportunity to bring in new blood and new people that are going to help change that culture.”
To keep pace with the industry’s sweeping changes, Riendeau emphasizes the importance of not only taking the time to learn new information each day, but also transferring that knowledge to colleagues.
Although a disciplined worker, Riendeau still strives to find enjoyment in his daily duties.
“If you’re not having fun with what you’re doing, you’re not doing the right thing,” he says.
Outside of work, Riendeau focuses on spending time with his fiancé Julie and his six-year-old son Anthony.
Rising Stars 2015 Award Winners:
Francois Belanger, CN
Todd Blaylock, HNTB Corp.
Jonathan Chastek, Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Co.
Oliver Dolder, Railtech Welding & Equipment
John Riley Edwards, RailTEC, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Stefan Loeb, Watco Cos. LLC
Jessica Moore, Union Pacific Railroad
Amanda Nightingale, King County Metro Transit
Celia Ann Pfleckl, Amtrak
Charles Rennick, Providence & Worcester Railroad Co.
Kaleigh Reyes, GE Transportation
Rebecca Reyes-Alicea, Federal Railroad Administration
Bruno Riendeau, VIA Rail Canada Inc.
Curtis Shogren, CSX Transportation
Alanna Strohecker, AECOM
Keith Tarkalson, Stacy & Witbeck
Brett Urquhart, Rocla Concrete Tie Inc.
Tara Vesey, Dakota Gasification Co.
Lexie Walker, Metra
Adam Weiskittel, BNSF Railway Co.