All fields are required.
Job description: Towner, who joined Watco in July 2004, leads a team that builds long-term value and finds innovative solutions to customers’ and partners’ needs. He works with field leaders to find ways to improve the company and identifies strategic acquisitions.
Education: Pittsburg State University; bachelor’s degree in finance, Master’s in Business Administration
Nominator’s quote: “Stu has contributed to the success of the company for more than 13 years. As for rising through the ranks, he has a record of doing just that. His leadership and work ethic have set an example for many to follow and he has mentored several others who will themselves aspire to be rising stars.” — Ed McKechnie, Watco Cos.
Why did you get into railroading?
Watco was a much smaller company back then than it is today — roughly six or so railroads. But, I had heard it was a good company run by a good family and it was in my hometown. I was working a couple of jobs that neither paid very well nor had consistent hours, so I applied and was accepted to work part time in Watco Customer Service. My boss was promoted within my first year and I inherited his responsibilities; my part-time job quickly turned into a more than full-time job. I was immediately hooked on learning and understanding the railroad business.
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
There are three things I am most proud of in my professional career. First is the relationships I have gained both internally at Watco and with external customers. Second was leading several support departments to improve morale, process/service to the field and cost efficiencies. Third is seeing someone who I have had the opportunity to directly lead and mentor develop into a very talented professional.
What inspires you?
Creating something with a team of truly committed people who are working hard for the greater good of the team.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
Spending time with family and friends; reading and learning about other industries; golfing.
What advice do you have for a first-year railroader?
Commit yourself to personal safety and take accountability for the safety of all those around you. Not only will you have a great and long career, but you will develop into someone who can mentor the next person.
What would you say to convince someone to consider railroading as a career?
Railroading has so many roles and responsibilities that it can fit a lot of different personalities and career goals. Along with the different career avenues available, the railroad retirement plan is a great tool to help you plan for the future.
What do you hope to be doing in five years?
I hope to continue to learn new things by getting out of my comfort zone. I would also like to be in a position to challenge the norm and develop new opportunities so that we can continue to innovate and improve value.
Arthur Adams Jr.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Belt Railway Co. of Chicago
National Transportation Safety Board
Texas Central Partners LLC
BNSF Railway Co.
Brightline (All Aboard Florida)
Short Line Safety Institute
Dallas Area Rapid Transit/Trinity Railway Express
Lake State Railway Co.
Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon
Watco Cos. LLC