America’s got talent — and so does Wabtec

“When I’m able to accomplish these [races], I come back more confident knowing that I can solve big problems and fight through challenges.” — Emily Rosenquist Wabtec Corp.

By Julie Sneider, Senior Associate Editor 

To Emily Rosenquist, running is a metaphor for her life and her work: Running long distances requires endurance, strength, grit and will. So does confronting challenges in life and on the job, she says. 

An industrial engineer for Wabtec Corp., Rosenquist finds running a great way to stay fit and meet people who also have an interest in running. Over the years, she’s participated in more than 30 marathons across all seven continents.  

Rosenquist is one of several Wabtec employees whose off-the-job interests and hobbies are highlighted in “Wabtec’s Got Talent,” the company’s new social media campaign that offers a “unique and personal look at the people of Wabtec,” according to Wabtec spokesman Tim Bader.  

“Our employees’ curiosity and passion both at work and in their personal lives drives the innovative spirit at Wabtec,” Bader said in an email. The new campaign “is a fun way to highlight the incredible and interesting things our employees do in their free time.” 

The campaign also helps Wabtec — which employs about 25,000 worldwide — build awareness among potential job candidates that the company is an employer of choice for professionals with high-tech skills. Wabtec is actively recruiting for positions around the world. 

“Wabtec is always looking to recruit and retain talent to help drive innovations for the industries we serve,” Bader said. “‘Wabtec’s Got Talent’ is a way to provide perspective candidates a glimpse into the people, passion and culture here.” 

Rosenquist began running about a dozen years ago, shortly after graduating from college and about the time she started working for GE Transportation, which was acquired by Wabtec in 2019.  

Amanda The “Wabtec’s Got Talent” campaign is highlighting the off-the-job talents of employees like Amanda, an accomplished skydiver. Wabtec Corp.

“I was engaged in sports while growing up, and after college I did my first triathlon,” says Rosenquist, now 34. “And I fell in love with the running part” of the competition.  

After that, she trained for the Chicago Marathon, her first. 

“I ran with family and friends and they were like, ‘I’ll never do that again,’ and I was like, ‘I love this!’” Rosenquist says. “I got to run through all the different neighborhoods in Chicago and experience the city. I thought it was really special, and that I should do these [marathons] around the world.” 

Other places she’s traveled to for marathons or ultramarathons include Singapore, Peru, the Australian Gold Coast, Portugal and Antarctica. To prepare for the Antarctica run, Rosenquist trained during the 2019 polar vortex in Chicago where she lives, running in temperatures that reached double-digits below zero. 

“Running in that snow and wind, I didn’t have to fabricate the environment during the vortex,” she says. “And when I showed up in Antarctica it felt balmy at 12 degrees. I was ready to go, had the right gear and was definitely prepared because of my Chicago training.” 

Next on her list of competitive runs is the Boston Marathon, which takes place in her hometown. She ran the marathon in 2017 and recently qualified to run it again. She considers it one of the most fun races she’s participated in. 

“Getting to that level of fitness was such a personal accomplishment for me,” she says. “I never thought, growing up in Boston, that I’d ever be able to run that race.” 

Another major goal is to qualify for and participate in the Western States Endurance Run, the world’s oldest 100-mile race that takes place every June on the trails of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, ending in Auburn, California. But the 100-mile goal is on hold for a bit, so she can stay closer to home with her three children, ages 3.5 years, 2 years and 6 months. 

In addition to using running as a way to meet people, visit faraway places and stay fit, Rosenquist uses her hobby to raise money for Team World Vision, a Christian humanitarian mission. 

“That’s been another great component of my running,” she says. “I’ve found real community with other crazy runners and we help raise money to fight poverty and injustice.” 

And, running helps her in her job at Wabtec. Over her past 12 years with the company, she’s held various roles across supply-chain operations. Currently, she’s senior manager of commercial enablement, meaning she supports the company’s sales team to better serve customers.  

Karl Wabtec employee Karl is among those whose hobby has been featured in the company’s “Wabtec’s Got Talent” social media campaign. Wabtec Corp.

The skills developed in long-distance running are similar to the ones needed to solve complex problems for customers, Rosenquist believes. For example, the biggest challenge she’s ever faced on a run occurred during a 100-kilometer race in Black Canyon City, Arizona. At mile 52 — with another dozen or so miles to go — she developed hypothermia. She received medical assistance to stop shaking from the hypothermia, then was able to complete the race. 

“That race was the most challenging because I was physically compromised and had to rely on my mental toughness and grit to plow through it,” she says. “So, when I’m able to accomplish these events, I come back more confident knowing that I can solve big problems and fight through challenges.” 

In addition to Rosenquist, Wabtec’s campaign has honored the talents of employees like Amanda, an award-winning skydiver who so far has completed over 1,900 skydives; and Karl, a railroad enthusiast who built a fully functional scale model steam engine that has the power to take friends for a ride. 

Their and other employees’ stories will appear on both social media and Wabtec’s internal news channels every few weeks, Bader said. The featured employees are chosen through an internal nomination process. 

“Wabtec has some of the most talented and passionate professionals in the rail industry,” he added.