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Rail News: Safety

AAR honors Norfolk Southern's Schoendorfer, shippers for hazmat work

David Schoendorfer, NS manager hazardous materials, addressed a group of first responders during classroom training in 2014.
Photo – Norfolk Southern's BizNS magazine, Winter 2015 edition,


The Association of American Railroads (AAR) yesterday announced the 2018 recipients of the Holden-Proefrock Award and the 2017 Non-Accident Release (NAR) Grand Slam Awards, which recognize people, shippers and railroads that operate in hazardous materials fields.

The AAR selected David Schoendorfer, system manager of hazardous materials at Norfolk Southern Railway, to receive the Holden-Proefrock Award. With 33 years of rail experience, Schoendorfer has played a key role in the safe transportation of hazardous materials and community outreach for both his railroad and the industry, AAR officials said in a press release.

In his current role, Schoendorfer oversees NS' hazardous materials compliance, risk management, safety training and emergency preparedness and response. He also has served for 27 years and currently chairs the AAR's Hazardous Material Committee, which establishes standards and best practices for the safe transportation of hazardous materials.

Schoendorfer has played a key role in community outreach efforts, including the NS acquisition of the HazMat Safety Train, which provides hands-on training to first responders. He also was instrumental in the development of the rail industry's AskRail app.

The Holden-Proefrock Award is named in honor of Roy Holden, a former AAR employee and an innovator in tank car design and safety, and Art Proefrock, a former Hulcher Emergency Services employee who pioneered hazardous materials transportation emergency response.

Meanwhile, the NAR Grand Slam Award is presented annually to companies that are exemplary shippers of hazardous materials. This year, AAR bestowed the 2017 award on 42 companies.

An award winner must have been recognized by at least four Class I railroads and have had zero non-accident releases involving their shipments the previous calendar year.

A hazardous materials non-accident release is an unintentional release of a hazardous material while in transportation, but not involving an accident.