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Watco fills several top operating department positions

The Watco Cos. Inc. recently named Paul Fries and Richard Stoeckly directors of railroad operations for the Northwest and Midwest, respectively.

Fries most recently served as general manager of the Kansas and Oklahoma
Railroad Co. Since joining Watco in 1994, he has served as a track laborer, section foreman, track inspector, roadmaster, trainmaster, and general manger of Palouse River and Coulee City Railroad Co. (PCC), and Stillwater Central Railroad Inc.

Stoeckly most recently served as president and chief executive officer of I&M Rail Link, which was acquired by Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corp. in 2002. With more than 30 years' experience in railroading, he spent 12 years with Santa Fe Railway serving in various track, mechanical and operations department positions. Stoeckly later served Montana Rail Link as director of strategic planning, and Sea Span Coastal Intermodal and Southern Railway of British Columbia Ltd. as president.

Watco also named Rob Thrall and Brad Smith general manager and assistant general manager, respectively, of PCC and The Great Northwest Railroad, the former Camas Prairie RailNet Watco acquired from North American RailNet Inc. last month.

Thrall most recently served as a trainmaster for Watco's Eastern Idaho Railroad. Since joining the company in 1994, he has served as a conductor and locomotive engineer.

Smith most recently served as general manager of PCC. Since joining Watco in 1991, he has served in various capacities for Watco Switching Division and as a trainmaster for the Blue Mountain Railroad.

Watco owns and operates eight short lines in 11 states.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/12/2004