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September 2014

Rail News: People

From the Publisher: What's old is new again

— by Kirk Bastyr, publisher

"This business has a strange way of keeping and drawing people back into it." This was just a single line from a recent email I received, but the overall message was resounding. It's true that I am the new publisher of Progressive Railroading magazine, but the railroad industry, let alone the magazine, is nothing new to me.

I've had the chance to meet and/or speak with many of you in my short time as publisher, but for those of you I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting, let me give you a brief summary of my career.

I have spent the past 25 years in the marketing agency environment. I have been accountable for the development and delivery of traditional, digital and integrated marketing campaigns for clients whose diverse products/services have been marketed to a variety of targets and industries on an international, national, regional and local basis. This career path has provided me with experience in virtually every aspect of marketing and advertising.

So how does any of that help me in my new role as publisher of Progressive Railroading? During this time, I was a Progressive Railroading customer, creating campaigns and buying space on behalf of several clients that represented various sides of the rail industry.

One of my very first responsibilities was working the old RSA show in the basement of the Hilton Chicago hotel on behalf of my clients. As someone new to the industry, that first show was an eye-opening experience. But it led me to working in the industry (and many more shows!) for the next decade.

During this time, I came to know my predecessor, Steve Bolte, and the rest of the Progressive Railroading family. Little did I know that one day, I would become part of that family. And I couldn't be more proud!

The Progressive Railroading staff has worked tirelessly over the years and has been able to accomplish many great things. The advancements on both the print and digital side have been amazing, and have positioned the brand as not only highly respected, but as the industry's leading media outlet.

Part of my vision for Progressive Railroading is to take the best practices I have learned not only from the agency business, but from the various industries I've been fortunate enough to be a part of, and apply them to the Progressive Railroading model. Progressive Railroading has had many successes over the years and I plan on expanding on them while introducing new thinking from a fresh perspective.

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, "Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him." I'm not sure how wise or brave of a man I am, but I do know that Progressive Railroading will not be lying down, waiting to see what the future brings. We will continue to be at the forefront of developing and bringing valuable innovations to our audience.

After all, it says it all right in our name. Progressive Railroading should and will be just that ... progressive.

I have been energized by the warm reception I've received from everyone in the industry and I look forward to the opportunities and challenges of evolving and growing Progressive Railroading in the years to come.

It's been said that we are in the midst of a railroad renaissance — I'm looking forward to seeing where it takes us. I'm also looking forward to rekindling the industry relationships I once had and developing many, many new ones. So, whether it's visiting our booth at an upcoming show, stopping me at an industry event, sending me an email or picking up the phone to talk, please feel free to get in touch. I'd love to hear from you. Contact me at



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