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ASLRRA bestows individual safety, service awards at Orlando conference

Shown from left to right: Peter Gilbertson, David Nagy and Cleo Johnson Jr.
Photo – ASLRRA


By Jeff Stagl, Managing Editor

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) yesterday handed out its highest individual honors for safety and distinguished service at the organization's annual convention in Orlando.

ASLRRA leaders presented the 2019 Thomas L. Schlosser Distinguished Service Award to Anacostia Rail Holdings Co. President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Gilbertson. The award recognizes an individual for his or her long-term and significant service to the association and short-line industry.

Gilbertson "literally wrote the book" on how to start a short line, ASLRRA officials said during the award presentation. More than 30 years ago, he co-authored a handbook  on such topics as buying short lines and negotiating regulatory hurdles. He also helped form Anacostia & Pacific — which prompted the formation of Montana Rail Link, the Twin Cities & Western Railroad Co. and other railroads — and later helped found Anacostia Rail Holdings.

Gilbertson also was a driving force behind the merger of two associations that created the ASLRRA and represented the association in negotiations with the Association of American Railroads that led to the Rail Industry Agreement, ASLRRA officials said.

“He is a thought leader in our industry and has personally guided many of our members through the regulatory, business and safety challenges of running short lines,” they said.

The award is named after the late Thomas Schlosser, a former ASLRRA chairman and major association contributor. Schlosser — who served stints as president and CEO of the Fort Worth & Western Railroad, president and chief operating officer of Park Sierra Rail Group, and CEO of Global Rail Systems — died in October 2011.

The ASLRRA also bestowed the 2019 Safety Professional of the Year Award to Pan Am Railways Executive Director of Safety and Security David Nagy, and the 2019 Safety Person of the Year Award to Mississippi Export Railroad Maintenance of Way Foreman Cleo Johnson Jr.

The Safety Professional of the Year Award recognizes a railroad management employee who demonstrates an exceptional work ethic and dedication to safety, while the Safety Person of the Year Award honors an employee who exhibits a high degree of safety awareness and contributes off-duty time to activities promoting safety awareness and initiatives in the community. The winning safety person must be from a member railroad who is not a career safety professional, has no reportable personal injuries and works with his or her company to make safety programs effective.

Before the award winners were announced yesterday, Chuck Baker — who became ASLRRA president in February — and other association leaders noted that this year's convention attracted more than 1,700 attendees and over 240 exhibitors. In addition, the 2019 conference offers more than 35 networking opportunities in the form of presentations, breakout sessions and other organized events.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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