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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Red River Valley & Western seeks new CEO; Adrian & Blissfield installs new police chief


The Red River Valley & Western Railroad Co. (RRVW) has launched a nationwide search to identify a successor to President and Chief Executive Officer Andy Thompson, who plans to retire after serving as the regional's top executive since 2005.

The railroad contracted Jason Ward, managing partner of Industrial Search Partners L.L.C., to handle the search. Ward has a successful track record in recruiting senior talent in the rail industry, and his firm most recently completed the search for the American Short Line and Regional Rail Association's new president, said Martha Head, the trustee for a family trust that owns both RRVW and the Twin Cities & Western Railroad, in a press release.

Thompson plans to work closely with the chosen successor to help ensure a smooth transition, then relocate with his wife to their hometown of Tacoma, Wash.

"We appreciate Andy’s leadership over the last decade and wish him every happiness in his retirement," said Head.

A longtime rail industry veteran, Thompson spent 26 years with the Northern Pacific (NP) and Burlington Northern (BN) railroads prior to joining RRVW. He began his career in 1968 as a switchman for NP while attending the University of Washington. Following the 1970 merger that created BN, Thompson served in a variety of operating and marketing positions, eventually rising to vice president of packaged commodities before retiring in 1995. Ten years later, he was coaxed out of retirement to head RRVW — a move that has suited him well, Thompson said.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed everything about this railroad, our employees, customers and communities," he said. "We've experienced strong growth. I’ve worked from Washington to Wisconsin to Texas and many points in between, and it’s not always like that."

RRVW operates over 500 miles of track, primarily in North Dakota, and interchanges with BNSF Railway Co.

Meanwhile, the Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road Co. has appointed Scott Lambka chief of police to succeed Gerald Haensler Jr., who retired at September's end.

Haensler became the railroad's first chief of police in 2009 after serving as chief of police for Madison Township, Mich. He was a 37-year veteran in law enforcement prior to retirement.

Lambka most recently was director of public safety for Raisin Township, Mich., where over the past 13 years he also served stints as chief of police and a patrolman. He previously spent seven years in the U.S. Army as a paramedic and was a police officer in Kentucky.

Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road provides freight-rail service in Lenawee County, Mich., and operates The Old Road Dinner Train in Blissfield, the longest continuously operating dinner train in the United States. The company also operates the Charlotte Southern Railroad Co., Detroit Connecting Railroad Co. and Jackson Lansing Railroad.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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