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RailAmerica: Three business units out, five operating regions in


RailAmerica Inc. continues to make operational and personnel changes since Fortess Investment Group L.L.C. acquired the firm in February.

Yesterday, the owner of 42 regionals and short lines in the United States and Canada announced plans to reorganize from three business units into five operating regions led by regional vice presidents.

Comprising nine short lines, the West Region will be managed by Robert Jones, who joined RailAmerica four years ago after serving Union Pacific Railroad for 30 years in a various management and operating positions.

The Central Region — also comprising nine railroads — will be led by Ray Stephens, who most recently served as president of the former Western Business Unit.

Meanwhile, John Ovitt will head the Midwest Region, which comprises nine railroads, as well. He most recently served as vice president of operations for the Central Region.

Comprising eight short lines, the Southeast Region will be led by Peter Touesnard, who most recently served as VP of operations for the former Eastern Business Unit.

Finally, Jan Polley will manage the Northeast Region, which comprises seven railroads. He most recently served as president of the former Eastern Business Unit.

“These new territories will be more manageable in size, scope and complexity,” said RailAmerica Chief Executive Officer John Giles in a prepared statement. "I believe we will quickly see improved effectiveness and productivity, the introduction and execution of new programs, and significant assistance in problem solving.”

In addition to the reorganization, RailAmerica announced the following management changes:
• VP David Rohal will assume responsibility for centralized train dispatching currently headed by Tom Murphy and field operations support functions currently managed by Carolyn Stefanic;
• VP Paul Lundberg will assume responsibility for labor relations activities;
• VP Charles Patterson will assume responsibility for marketing and sales; and
• VP of Finance Jeffrey Bloom will assume responsibility for cost and economic analysis activities.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/19/2007