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Modesto short-line's Bienvenu elected chair of Beard's board

John Bienvenu
Photo – Beard Land and Investment Co.


Beard Land and Investment Co. (BLI) has elected John Bienvenu as chairman to succeed Richard Sipos. He has served on BLI's board since May 2011.

BLI owns California short line Modesto & Empire Traction Co. (M&ET) and Beard Land Improvement Co. M&ET is situated in the 2,000-acre Beard Industrial District Park in Modesto. The short line operates a 5-mile main line and an additional 48.7 miles of track within the park. M&ET interchanges with BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad.

Bienvenu's grandfather, John Beard, was one of 10 siblings who founded the Beard companies nearly 100 years ago, Bienvenu said in a press release.

"Our commitment to our customers, our employees and our family shareholders has not wavered over that time, and I look forward to helping Beard and our talented and dedicated management team, led by [President and CEO] Dillon Olvera, continue its mission," he said.

Olvera became president and chief executive officer of BLI last year. He previously served as the company's vice president and chief financial officer.

In addition to Bienvenu's election as chair, BLI's board elected three new directors: Bruce Rueppel, Lon Van Gemert and Ronald Naess.

Rueppel is a partner in the private equity firm Guard Hill Holdings; Van Gemert most recently served as CEO of Progressive Rail Inc.; and Naess is a member of the Beard family whose great-grandmother was one of the company's original founders.

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