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Alaska Railroad Corp. (ARRC) late last month presented its 2017 Gold Spike awards to the company's top employees.The annual awards program recognizes railroaders who demonstrate the railroad's values of safety, service excellence, integrity, sustainability, teamwork and leadership.The railroad presented a team award to train dispatchers Vern Bashor, Benjamin Bowen, Ryan Diehl, Caitlin Elison, Joshua Robinson, Lauren Shinn, Bryan Sooter and Steven Tennison for their "sustained level of excellent performance and team-driven professional development," ARRC officials said in a press release.Many dispatchers also volunteered their time and expertise to help other departments, including project developers for ARRC's positive train control implementation.Meanwhile, ARRC recognized Kyle Bergner, a transportation field manager, for his leadership in Whittier, where he has fine-tuned the barge-to-train freight operation. His efforts improved efficiency to accommodate increased train activity with fewer resources, ARRC officials said.The railroad also presented a Gold Spike award to telecommunications manager Brian Studinski for improving processes that have increased department productivity, efficiency and troubleshooting, they said."The Alaska Railroad benefits tremendously from values-oriented employees like these Gold Spike awardees. They understand the importance of communication, encouraging one another, team-building and providing thoughtful leadership," said President and Chief Executive Officer Bill O'Leary.