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On Feb. 25, a similarly pragmatic urgency manifested itself down the road apiece from NYC as more than 600 rail leaders, listeners and lobbyists for the day participated in "Railroad Day on Capitol Hill," an annual event during which rail supporters generally aim to persuade Congress to support investment incentives and reject measures the rail lobby believes would limit railroads' ability to invest in infrastructure. Here are a few takeaways from this year's "Day":
Last month, longtime rail supply industry executive Joe Silverio died following a battle with cancer. He was 61. Silverio most recently served as senior marketing manager with American Railcar Industries Inc. in St. Charles, Mo. He also was an adjunct professor of marketing at Lindenwood University in St. Charles. And he was a friend.
I met Joe at one of the September rail shows in the late 1990s and got to know him during a couple of the early RailtecMéxico shows in Monterrey. Pretty much from then on, I became accustomed to listening for (and leaning on) his big, infectious laugh, and his love of family (his own, mine — yours, if you knew him) and baseball (the Red Sox and the Redbirds). We kept in touch during the past decade, although never enough to our liking.
We didn't connect this past holiday season the way we usually did for an annual survey Progressive Railroading conducts, but I didn't think too much of it. Even so, talking with Joe was always a high point of whatever day we happened to hook up, so I missed hearing his voice and that laugh. When a colleague called to tell me late last month that Joe had passed, and rather suddenly, on Feb. 20, the news hit hard.
All of us at Progressive Railroading were fortunate to know Joe and count him as a friend. We miss him already. Our thoughts are with the family he held so dear. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society or Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in honor of Joe's grandson, brother-in-law and nephew.