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Rail News Home People

September 2014

Rail News: People

Rising Star: Kari Gonzales


Kari Gonzales

Kari Gonzales [AGE 34]

Assistant Director, Software Services and Internal Research and Development
Transportation Technology Center Inc. (TTCI)

Education: Colorado School of Mines, mechanical engineering degree; pursuing M.B.A. at Regis University

Career highlights: Gonzales has worked at TTCI (a subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads) for the past 11 years, starting as a college intern and becoming a full-time employee after graduation. Currently, she oversees internal research and development projects to help improve core competencies for the industry. She also manages AAR's Equipment Engineering Committee, which develops design and operation standards for freight cars. From 2012 to 2013, she worked at BNSF Railway Co. under TTCI's Executive Guest Exchange Program. She was promoted to her current position at TTCI in 2014.

Why rail? At a friend's suggestion, Gonzales applied and was hired for an internship (the first of three) at TTCI while in college. "I was a chemical engineering major at the time. But during my summer at TTCI, I fell in love with the railroad business and I've been hooked on it ever since. I went back to school that fall and changed my major to mechanical engineering."

Five-year goal: "To be involved with projects that are on the forefront of what our industry does. I see myself more in a strategic planning and research role that will help [TTCI] investigate technologies that can improve the safety and velocity of railroads." Also, she hopes to complete an M.B.A. in strategic management.

Her philosophy: "Work hard and lead with spirit."

Interesting fact: She played center field for the Colorado School of Mines' Oredigger softball team.

Making a difference in rail transportation by ... encouraging college-age students to consider careers in railroading. "I think there are a lot of individuals that may overlook the railroad because they don't understand how great a place it is to work. Because the railroad is still fairly male-dominated, I try to reach out specifically to women who aren't afraid of a challenge."



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