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Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad

UP garners veteran magazine and AAR honors, advances trackwork in two states

U.S. Veterans Magazine has included Union Pacific Railroad on its 2013 "Best of the Best" list, which honors the nation’s top military veteran-friendly companies and their diversity-inclusion practices.

The magazine chose UP based on evaluations of companies' efforts to be accessible and reach out to veterans. The review process utilized independent and market research, interviews, diversity conference participation and survey responses.

About 23 percent of the Class I's nearly 3,900 new hires last year were veterans. UP is a member of the Army Reserve's Employee Partnership Initiative; a supporter of the Army Partnership for Youth Success program; and a past recipient of the Freedom Award, the U.S. government's highest employer recognition, and Military Officers Association of America Distinguished Service Award.

“Being named a top veteran-friendly company is an honor that highlights our commitment to hiring and supporting veterans," said Roy Schroer, UP's vice president of human resources, in a press release. "Military experience translates very well into the railroad industry. Veterans’ leadership skills and teamwork focus enhance our railroad’s safety, service and efficiency."

A UP employee also has earned recognition. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) yesterday named UP Assistant Vice President Finance and Insurance Warren Bruce Beach the recipient of the 2013 David W. Fries Award, which recognizes exemplary risk management efforts and practices in the rail industry.

Beach has had a long and successful career in both the military and transportation sectors, according to the AAR. A Vietnam veteran, he spent years as a pilot for the U.S. Air Force, then became a financial analyst for Proctor and Gamble and later an assistant controller for Lone Star Steel Corp.

"Throughout his long career, Warren has consistently applied innovation and superior effort to every aspect of his work," said Chris Bremus of Norfolk Southern Railway, who chairs the David W. Fries Award nominating committee, in a press release. "He has developed the capacity to thoroughly research and understand very complex issues, and then clearly and simply communicate key elements so that critical and strategic decisions can be made."

Sponsored by the Railroad Insurance Management Association, the award was established in honor of the late David W. Fries, a former director of risk management for NS, and past president and officer of the association who was dedicated to the field of risk management and risk issues in the rail industry.

Meanwhile, UP also announced that it's spending $8 million to upgrade a line between Lowden and Blairstown, Iowa. To be completed by October's end, the project calls for installing 52,000 ties, replacing one mile of rail in various curves and renewing surfaces at 71 grade crossings.

In addition, UP plans to spend about $11 million to upgrade a line line between La Fox, Ill., and Clinton, Iowa. To be completed by year's end, the work involves the installation of 60,000 concrete ties and 22,300 tons of ballast.

The projects are among the nearly 1,500 UP plans to complete across its 32,000-mile network this year.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/27/2013