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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Michigan Tech University's 'Railroad Night' brings together Class I recruiters, graduating students


All in all, it was a good evening for Michigan Tech University (MTU) and the railroad industry. On Feb. 20, the college held its 2nd Annual Railroad Night, which attracted more than 100 student, university and rail industry participants — or twice as many as last year’s initial event.

Held in conjunction with MTU’s 2007 Winter Job Fair and hosted by the Railroad Engineering and Activities Club, Railroad Night featured recruiters from eight sponsoring companies, including five Class Is. The event was sponsored by Canadian National Railway Co., Canadian Pacific Railway, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, Union Pacific Railroad, HDR Inc., TranSystems Corp. and Balfour Beatty Rail Inc.

The event provides students, faculty and administrators an opportunity to meet and socialize with rail industry representatives, said Pasi Lautala, MTU instructor and coordinator-railroad engineering.

“Many articles discuss the aggressive hiring of locomotive engineers and conductors by Class I railroads, [but] what does not get discussed as much is the need for well-educated and suitable managers and engineers, who will become the new ‘movers and shakers’ of the industry when current leaders retire in masses during the next decade,” he said. “The majority of these individuals will be university graduates, especially engineering graduates, and one of the greatest challenges is to attract and educate these young individuals.”

Railroad Night included a panel discussion featuring NS Assistant Chief Engineer of Planning and Administrative Services David Becker; CSXT Assistant Chief Engineer of Public Projects Eric Peterson; CN Senior Human Resources Manager Allen Rothwell; UP General Director of Human Resources Robert Kraft; HDR Railroad Section Manager Robert Kollmar; Balfour Beatty Rail Senior Project Manager Ravi Swamy; and TranSystems Senior Transportation Planner David Hadley.

“Maybe the example set by Michigan Tech and the sponsoring industry companies can encourage other universities to consider similar events and assist in bringing the rail industry back to campuses and to the radar screens of our future professionals,” said Lautala.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/16/2007