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Job description: Robinson is responsible for ensuring safety related to maintenance-of-way activities on the Trinity Railway Express.
Education: Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, bachelor's degree in civil engineering
Nominator’s quote: “Annka is an integral part of the success of the commuter-rail entities in the DART service area (TRE). She leads by example to ensure her work product is exemplary.” — Maureen McCole, Bombardier Transportation (formerly of DART)
How did you get into railroading?
I was introduced to railroading during a co-op. One of my co-workers had a husband working for a railroad at the time. She would always tell me about the benefits of being a railroad employee. I became very interested in the industry. Long story short: Her husband helped me obtain an internship for the following year and the rest is history. My career progression has been serving in the positions of management trainee, project engineer, manager of maintenance planning and programs, manager of track measurement, manager of right of way and, eventually, chief engineering officer.
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
My biggest career accomplishment has been getting the job of chief engineering officer. I never thought I would be able to achieve this goal at my age. I’m very proud of where I am in my career.
What inspires you?
My parents, who have been married for 37 years. They’ve been through a lot of ups and downs together, but have been able to weather the storms of life. I’m getting married in August 2017. While they have taught me a lot about marriage, I’ve learned a plethora of life lessons from them such as perseverance, patience with others and how to treat people. I guess you can say they inspire me to be a better person.
What is a little-known fact about you?
My ultimate life goal/bucket list item is to set foot on every continent. To achieve this goal, I’ve been planning a trip around the world. I don’t know when it’ll happen, but I’m very excited about this adventure.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
I am an avid reader, mainly of romance novels.
What advice would you share with a first-year railroader?
My advice would be to get a mentor. The mentor should be knowledgeable about the railroad industry and in a position to help them learn and succeed in their career. Advice given by a good mentor is invaluable.
What would you say to convince someone to consider railroading as a career?
The industry is incredibly diverse and there is so much opportunity to do a variety of things. Whether you’re interested in planning, government affairs, marketing, IT — it’s all available for you within this industry. Plus, who could turn down railroad retirement?
What do you hope to be doing in five years?
I would love to be developing innovative solutions. There is so much new technology and I feel it's being underutilized within the railroading industry.
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