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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Port NOLA's Christian to step down, join Patriot Rail as CEO

Brandy Christian
Photo – Port of NOLA


Port of New Orleans President and CEO Brandy Christian will step down in mid-June to become CEO of Patriot Rail Co.

Christian will join Patriot Rail on June 17, and, after a brief transition period, will succeed John Fenton, who is retiring after 12 years, according to a Patriot Rail press release.

"Brandy is an exceptional global supply chain and freight rail executive with the vision, perspective and expertise to lead Patriot Rail in its accelerating growth and development,” said Patriot Rail Chair Deb Butler. “We are grateful to John for his exemplary contributions in guiding the company through significant expansion for more than a decade,"

Since Igneo Infrastructure Partners acquired Patriot Rail in 2019, the company has grown organically and through acquisitions, from 13 to 31 railroads, including Salt Lake Garfield & Western Railway in 2021 and Pioneer Lines Inc. in 2022. In 2023, Patriot Rail acquired Delta Southern Railroad, Hydra Distribution & Rail Services and Hydra Transport, and what is now the Granite State Scenic Railway.

"It has been a privilege heading up Patriot Rail over the past 12 years," Fenton said. "During that period, we expanded to more than 30 railroads in 24 states and built an industry-leading reputation for safety, value and partnership with our customers. I am thankful to the team and confident that the company will shine under Brandy's management."

Christian served as the president and CEO of Port NOLA since Jan. 1, 2017, and as the CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (NOPB) since its acquisition by Port NOLA in February 2018, during which time Port NOLA increased operating revenue by 70% and operating income by 300%, according to a NOLA news release.

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Ronald Wendel Jr. will assume acting leadership of Port NOLA and NOPB following Christian’s departure. Wendel also joined Port NOLA in 2015.


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