Chairman, OnTrackNorthAmerica and Chairman & CEO, Strategic Rail Finance
I began my career in transportation in 1994 by launching Strategic Rail Finance, a North American rail-industry consulting firm. My associates and I have been busy since then, advising private and public sector clients in 44 states and Canada. I entered the rail industry with the intention to improve how we invest capital in infrastructure and industrial systems. In addition to our client work, I have contributed considerable time and energy to educating, and learning from, government officials and staff at all levels.
I have met with the staff or leaders of 68 U.S. Senate offices and 135 U.S. House offices, speaking on behalf of policy and programmatic improvements that would benefit all, not a particular client or vested interest.
Leading up to the founding of OnTrackNorthAmerica in 2007, and in the years since, we have developed our capacity for convening stakeholders in government and industry.
- On December 8, 1998 we convened a rail transportation conference in the U.S. Capitol Building for 55 congressional staff, praised by many as the finest briefing they had ever attended.
- On December 11, 2008 we convened a five-hour summit of industry and government leaders in the U.S. Capitol Building to consider new collaborative approaches to freight transportation efficiency.
I am honored to have earned the respect and ear of Congressional leaders and staff.
- On October 19, 2005 I spoke before the Surface Transportation Board on the 25th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980.
- On February 17, 2011 I testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Railroad Subcommittee on reforms to the Federal Railroad Administration’s Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program.
- In March of 2011 I was the only private sector invitee to a U.S. House Railroad Subcommittee Staff Workshop exploring ways to explore the FRA RRIF loan program.
I have found that our common sense message, based in whole-system thinking, resonates across the political spectrum.
Some representative acknowledgments of our efforts:
- Thank you letters from Republican House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf and Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller’s Chief of Staff.
- In November of 1997 I was responsible for having freight rail projects made eligible in H.R.115 – the National Infrastructure Development Act.
- In 2003 I contributed to Washington State produce shippers by designing and writing important elements of the Washington State Produce Railcar Pool Act as passed by the 2003 state legislature.
- In 2009 I worked with the Federal Railroad Administration to eliminate audited financial statement requirements for Class II and III railroads from the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing Act (RRIF loan program).
I am pleased to have had articles published in several transportation industry journals.
- Railway Age, December 2014, “Revitalizing Direct Rail Service”
- Progressive Railroading, June 1998, “Getting a Lender’s Attention”
- Association of Transportation Law, Logistics & Policy, Fall 2000, “Assessing the Process of Creating the RRIF Program”
- Transportation Quarterly, Fall 2002, “Regional and Short Line Railroads in the United States”
- Railway Age, September 2008, “Leveraging Capital for the Entire Industry”
- Railway Age, April 2011, “A RRIF-Centered Capitalization Growth Strategy”
Chairman/CEO, OnTrackNorthAmerica and Chairman, Strategic Rail Finance
Eugene N. (“Gene”) Cipriani
Eugene N. (“Gene”) Cipriani
Attorney; former advisor to the United States Railway Association (U.S.R.A.); former in-house corporate counsel for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
Eugene N. (“Gene”) Cipriani is an attorney who previously worked for the United States Railway Association (U.S.R.A.) as an Attorney Advisor and for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) as in-house corporate counsel.
At SEPTA, Gene was counsel for the Railroad Division, the Real Estate Department and the Engineering, Maintenance and Construction Division. He was also SEPTA’s counsel before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on railroad-highway crossing cases and worked frequently with PennDOT, the City of Philadelphia and the Counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery. He served as SEPTA’s legal liaison with utilities, including PECO Energy Company, Verizon, Philadelphia Gas Works, the Philadelphia Water Department, Aqua America and various cable and fiber-optic companies. In addition, he was the in-house counsel for the Paoli Railyard and Reading Company PCB clean-ups and was the Chair of the Potentially Responsible Party Group charged with cleaning up the Lancaster Battery Superfund site in Lancaster, PA.
After SEPTA, Gene was a Right of Way Agent, first for Keystone Acquisition Services, Corp. and later for AECOM. In 2017, Gene became a Contract Administrator for the Freight Rail Department of AECOM. In 2020, Gene was made a Part Time Variable employee of AECOM and has resumed his Law Practice in the Estates Law field.
Gene obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Saint Joseph’s College (now University) and his Juris Doctor Degree from Temple University Beasley School of Law. He is a member of The Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia (ECP), Chapter 9 of the International Right-of-Way Association (IRWA), the American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE) and the Delaware Valley Goods Movement Committee of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC). He implemented the “Building Bridges for STEM®” (BBTS) program as part of a Leadership Development and Outreach effort within AECOM and under the auspices of The Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia. BBTS has been warmly received within the educational community of the Philadelphia metropolitan area and has been one catalyst for helping students who are the first generation in their families to consider attending college.
Attorney; former advisor to the United States Railway Association (U.S.R.A.); former in-house corporate counsel for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
Financial Executive at Consolidated Rail Corporation and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (retired)
Tom has more than 40 years of experience as a financial executive and investment consultant with extensive background investing large, complex portfolios across multiple asset classes, including alternatives. He has considerable experience in capital planning, treasury, investor relations, asset/liability management, and financial services.
Tom began his railroad career in 1974 with Penn Central as an Auditor and continued with Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) in various accounting roles after conveyance in 1976. In 1981, he joined Capital Planning, and eventually led the group as its Director from 1984 to 1988. He managed Conrail’s $600 million capital program, including budgeting, accounting, project analysis, and audits.
In 1988, Tom became Assistant Treasurer – Pension Assets & Financial Services. His investment responsibilities focused on managing the pension plan and savings plan that eventually totaled almost $3 billion. In addition, his responsibilities included Conrail’s cash forecasting, short-term borrowing, share repurchase program, and directing bank and cash management activities. He routinely invested nearly $1 billion in corporate cash.
In addition to continuing his investment duties, he was made responsible in 1996 for managing Conrail’s communications with its sources of equity capital as Assistant Treasurer – Investor Relations and Pensions. Tom was a key member of the executive team representing Conrail in all external communications with the investor community during a very tumultuous time period (1997 – 1998) prior to its acquisition by CSX and Norfolk Southern.
During 1998, Tom was recruited from Conrail by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) as its first Chief Investment Officer. CHOP’s investment portfolios covered endowment and quasi-endowment, self-insurance trusts, and pension plans. Tom also had oversight responsibilities for 403(b), 457 and other executive savings plans. He was tasked to evaluate and build a progressive investment function and significantly improve the performance of its portfolios that were operating below standard industry indices. At the time of his departure, CHOP’s investment assets totaled nearly $2 billion, which grew considerably and improved relative to its benchmarks throughout his tenure. Through his leadership, significant changes were made to CHOP’s asset allocation and investment manager group, and alternative assets were initially added.
From 2006 until he retired in 2015, Tom served as a Senior Investment Consultant with PFM Advisors, RBC Wealth Management and Kelly Financial Services. He specialized in providing independent and unbiased investment management consulting services to over 100 clients including many Public, Corporate, Taft-Hartley, Hospital, Endowment and Foundation funds. The combined assets of these clients were over $10 billion. In addition, he coordinated internal research efforts and lead research on alternative assets. As a CIO, his depth of knowledge and industry experience added a unique perspective in developing tailored investment solutions for the needs of his clients.
Tom has an undergraduate degree in Accounting from LaSalle University and an MBA with emphasis in Finance from Temple University.
In arriving at important professional and personal decisions and actions throughout my life, I have tried to be as practical and pragmatic as possible. I have also tried to base these decisions and actions on some type of cost/benefit analysis when I could. I pride myself on being analytical in arriving at proper and reasonable solutions. Important elements of this thinking have been educating myself on important matters at hand as best I could and identifying those parties that could add insights or could be impacted on the past, current or future conditions. However, at some point, the analytical process and thinking must give way to tangible decisions and actions.
I am excited to add my talents, experience and perspective to the OnTrackNorthAmerica (OTNA) team. It is an impressive and diverse group. I appreciate and endorse its collaborative and rigorous approach in addressing its initiatives. OTNA’s approach is fully consistent with my own philosophy. One main initiative has been to develop an optimal and sustainable system for expanding rail transportation in service to the economy, environment and quality of life. I look forward to continuing to add support to OTNA in achieving this extremely difficult and complex task.
Financial Executive, Consolidated Rail Corporation and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (retired)
Daniel R. Elliott
Transportation Attorney, Former Chairman of U.S. Surface Transportation Board
Daniel R. Elliott was presidentially appointed, and Senate confirmed to terms in 2009 and 2015 on the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB), an independent economic regulator of the freight railroad industry. He was designated by the President to be Chairman for both of these terms through January 2017.
As Chairman, Mr. Elliott became an authority in economic regulatory matters handled before the STB, in Congress and through the courts. He was responsible for decisions at the agency regarding complex rulemakings, demurrage and rate cases, preemption issues, and major rail construction cases. Another part of his job included constant interaction with Congress, especially committees with oversight over STB activities, including testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee on several occasions.
Now Mr. Elliott mainly handles transportation regulatory matters for railroads and shippers. He brings unique insights to any issue he faces because of his understanding of how federal agencies work and his relationships throughout government and the rail industry.
Prior to assuming his leadership role in the federal government, Mr. Elliott handled rail labor matters for sixteen years. He has extensive knowledge of the unique issues that arise in the rail world.
Mr. Elliott was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and grew up in Cleveland. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. and the Ohio State College of Law with a J.D.
Transportation Attorney, Former Chairman of U.S. Surface Transportation Board
R. Powell Felix
Founder, Indiana Boxcar Corporation
A former school teacher turned railroader, Mr. Felix began his short line railroad career on a Penn Central branch line in Indiana in 1979. He went on to be the founder or owner of 9 different short line railroads covering 7 states. In 1988, he founded Indiana Boxcar Corporation that continues to purchase, lease and sell locomotives and freight cars. He has actively participated in various railroad organizations at the national and state level. An advocate for short lines and their customers, he has visited in person over 300 North American short line operations. He holds a bachelors and masters degree from Purdue University and continues to reside in Connersville, Indiana.
Founder, Indiana Boxcar Corporation
Founder, Hoecker Energy Law & Policy PLLC, former Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
A nationally recognized energy advisor, Jim primarily concentrates his practice on emerging markets in the wholesale electric and natural gas areas.
Inside and outside government, Jim has focused his representations on electric utilities, utility investors, transmission companies, and gas and oil pipelines on issues of infrastructure development and rate regulation, demand response and environmental law. He is also the founder and principal of Hoecker Energy Law & Policy PLLC, where he serves as outside counsel to WIRES, a national business alliance of companies advocating investment in electric transmission, including transmission-dependent wind and solar energy firms as well as transmission developers. He has advised foreign countries and utilities on energy industry reconstructing and has served as an expert witness throughout the United States and Canada. He has given testimony before committees of Congress and administrative tribunals.
Jim’s significant work on behalf of clients in the energy industry has included:
- Representing a national nonprofit trade association comprising transmission providers and customers, before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the U.S. Department of Energy and Congress in contested and generic rulemaking matters, policy making and legislation.
- Representing a Canadian independent system operator in structuring an Order No. 888-compliant tariff for export of electric power into the U.S. wholesale power market.
- Advising an independent transmission developer seeking transmission rate incentives and rate-based treatment under the Federal Power Act for new electric transmission facilities
- Advising a developer of green-field transmission in New Mexico.
Prior to rejoining private practice, Jim was FERC chairman from 1997 to 2001. During the nearly eight years he served as FERC chairman and, before that, FERC commissioner, he was responsible for instituting regional transmission organizations to administer the wholesale electric power system and streamlining regulatory processes. In the 1980s, Jim was assistant general counsel for gas and oil litigation at FERC, as well as assistant general counsel for rulemaking and legislative analysis.
Founder, Hoecker Energy Law & Policy PLLC, former Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Partner, Sr. V.P. and Executive Coach, Distinctions, Inc. (retired)
Brian has a 45+ year career as a Senior Executive, Founder, or Principal in a variety of large corporations and startup businesses.
-November 2006 – December 2011: Partner, Sr. V.P. and Executive Coach, Distinctions, Inc.
Responsible for developing new material, programs and services, and for leading consulting engagements and executive coaching.
-July 2001 – September 2006: CEO – Mission Control Productivity, Inc.
Raised startup capital and managed the launch of the company. Grew the company to global scale with franchised operations US, Indian, Japan, Singapore, Australia, UK, France, Germany, and Denmark. Sold company in 2006.
-May 1999 – July 2001: Principal, ChrisScott, Inc.
Startup consultant to companies in electronic prescribing, medical practice software and safety training. Also hired to write business plan for startup of Mission Control Productivity, Inc.
-April 1994 to May 1999: CEO, MediMedia Information Technologies Division, MediMedia USA Inc.
Partner and CEO of InfoScan Inc., a medical information publishing company. The company was sold to Vivendi International in 1998.
-1989 – 1994: Director of Product Development, Day-Timers, Inc.
Executive responsible for Product and Business Development for Day-Timer, Inc. Division, American Brands, Inc.
-1981 – 1989: VP Sales, Shell Containers, Inc.
Built group from 9 to 31 sales reps and product portfolio from 9 to 37 manufacturers.
-1980 – 1981: Startup Project Group Leader at GE Space Center for SNAPS project to train US Navy personnel on using the Aegis Missile system.
-1975 – 1979: CEO Keystone Highway Traffic Equipment Company and Municipal Street Company.
Started, owned, managed, grew and sold two companies manufacturing highway equipment for sale to State federal and local government agencies. Increased business from $500,000 to $6,000,000 in revenue. Designed and patented twelve new products. Began with 4 employees and grew to 160. Sold Company.
-1963 – 1975 – Series of collegiate administrative positions in Placement, Admissions, and Development.
While tracking back through the positions I’ve held as a manager, founder, or executive, the underlying passion and organizing principle of my career has been the creative and entrepreneurial possibilities that became available at each step into a new endeavor, finally completing with my last work as a business and executive coach. Throughout a substantial span of my career I have known Michael Sussman and closely followed his ground-breaking vision and passion for providing a paradigm shift in the transportation industry. So when Michael asked if I would be willing to support his efforts as an active board member, the opportunity was natural. I’m both committed to, and fascinated by, the inclusive possibilities that the expertise and work of On Track North America will provide for a humanly friendly and sustainable future for our transportation system and infrastructure.
Partner, Senior Vice President, and Executive Coach, Distinctions, Inc. (retired)
Jeff Broadfoot is the President of Natural Wood Solutions, LLC. Previously Jeff was National Accounts Sales Manager for Thompson Industries, Inc. – Treated Wood Products. He was with Thompson since May, 2004 and operated a district Sales Office in Indianapolis, marketing to class one railroads throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as to regional, shortline, transit, industrial and railroad contractor customers in the northern U.S. and Canada. Prior to joining Thompson, he was a Senior Professional Sales Rep for the Forest Products Division of Kerr-McGee Chemical Corporation from 1983 until they closed that Division in 2003. He is the past president of the Railway Tie Association, an organization comprised of members including sawmills, railroads, contractors, tie-treaters, and preservative manufacturers. He currently serves on the executive committee as second-vice president and will be president again in 2011. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forest Management from the University of Missouri at Columbia and also holds a minor in Business.
President, Natural Wood Solutions, LLC
Local Chairman, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, Division 456
Dr. Beverly A. Cigler
Dr. Beverly A. Cigler is a Professor of Public Policy and Administration at Penn State Harrisburg. She has written more than 150 articles/chapters, co-authored 9 books, and presented 190 speeches to municipal and state officials across the U.S. Bev has received numerous national, state and regional awards for her scholarship and service and is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. Her areas of expertise include multicommunity collaboration, intermunicipal and state-local relations, and emergency management. She serves on Boards of Directors and advisory committees for a number of research and municipal and county associations in Pennsylvania and nationally and is a research associate at the Pennsylvania legislature.
Professor of Public Policy & Administration, Penn State Harrisburg
Dr. Jeff Conklin is a senior independent software product development specialist and researcher. His experience in developing cutting-edge collaborative software systems spans over 30 years during which he has built unique commercially-oriented products. Dr. Conklin is the President and Founder of the CogNexus Group whose mission is to help gridlocked multi-stakeholder groups resolve the blocks and create robust results. Dr. Conklin pioneered the “Dialogue Mapping” technique, which he uses to guide clients safely through the ‘adult conversations’ that are essential to collaboration, and which he teaches in tutorials and workshops. He has designed and facilitated hundreds of successful meetings and online collaborations.
In his role with CogNexus, Dr. Conklin works with strategy and policy teams on confronting and managing wicked problems – situations involving disputed knowledge, divergent stakeholders, and, often, a history of failed solution attempts. By bringing new skills, tools, and theory to clients, it engages the whole system in the pursuit of shared understanding of the situation and a growing confidence in the power of lightly structured dialogue.
An important real-world example of Dr. Conkliin’s work is the Delta Dialogues, a multi-stakeholder, interest-based policy discussion about the complex issues in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The goal of the program is to break the policy gridlock that has impacted the region for more than 30 years. Previous efforts to address the Delta’s “wicked problem” have been stalemated by a failure of the key stakeholders to communicate effectively about issues. The Delta Dialogues project arose out of the willingness of the key stakeholders to engage in a process focused almost entirely on coming to a shared understanding of the issues and the stakeholder interests in them. After eight monthly meetings over 18 months the Dialogues project achieved a significant increase in trust and respect among the stakeholders, laying the foundation for creating robust solutions that have a chance to avoid being deadlocked in litigation while the Delta’s challenges grow more acute.
Dr. Conklin also developed the Dialogue Mapping™ facilitation technique, a radically inclusive approach to knowledge management that allows groups to capture and make sense of unstructured knowledge that is discussed during project meetings. He is the author of the book,Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems.
President, CogNexus Group
James Coston is a Chicago attorney with extensive experience in equipment leasing and lease finance, and founder in 2004 of Corridor Capital LLC. In 1969, while still in high school, he testified before the Interstate Commerce Commission to protest the Penn Central Railroad’s petition to eliminate all passenger-train service between Chicago and the East. Following his ICC testimony, and again while still in high school, Mr. Coston and two friends founded the Twentieth Century Railroad Club in order to preserve the heritage of American passenger rail service and prepare the ground for a modern, federally financed passenger-rail industry. In 1980, Mr. Coston transformed the Twentieth Century Railroad Club from a membership organization into a retail travel business specializing in group travel in privately owned luxury railroad cars hauled behind Amtrak trains, as well as entire special trains chartered from Amtrak for weekend day trips from Chicago into the rural Midwest. In 2000, Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle appointed Mr. Coston to a newly formed panel, the Amtrak Reform Council, where Mr. Coston served until its statutory expiration in 2002.
Chairman, Corridor Capital LLC
Hon. Rod Diridon, Sr.
Rod Diridon, the son of an immigrant Italian railroad brakeman, is the “father” of modern transit service in California’s Silicon Valley (Santa Clara County). His political career began in 1972 as the youngest person ever elected to the Saratoga City Council. He recently retired because of term limits, after completing 20 years and six terms as chairperson of both the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and Transit Board. Rod is Emeritus Executive Director of the Norman Y. Mineta International Institute for Surface Transportation Policy Studies created by Congress in 1991. Also Rod served as President of the Council of University Transportation Centers.
Emeritus Executive Director, Mineta Transportation Institute
Ken Foxx is a Senior Consultant at Strategic Rail Finance with 44 years of railway experience and expertise in locomotive manufacturing, technology and repair, financial administration, operations development, and strategic planning. He has advised on rail operations throughout the world on industrial services, business process management, and end-product improvements.
Mr. Foxx’s independent consulting has followed an impressive 30-year career with General Motors Electro-Motive Division from 1974 to 2004. He started as a student at GM’s High Potential Employee Cooperative Education Program where he was first introduced to locomotive systems, product design and manufacturing. From there he was promoted seven times, developing many successful business lines, including $21 million in annual locomotive overhaul business with the Santa Fe Railroad and bringing in $100 million in annual sales as a liaison between EMD and BNSF, Kansas City Southern, and Union Pacific. In his later years with the company, Mr. Foxx managed the return of EMD’s $50 million remanufacturing service operation to profitability and served as EMD’s Fleet Manager for the SD90MAC locomotives operated on the Union Pacific Railroad.
He retired from GM as the Managing Director of Global Warranty in 2004 with experience in all aspects of new locomotive manufacturing, rebuild, maintenance, repair, customer support, commercial sales, leasing, warranty, reliability, design, and domestic and international program management.
Mr. Foxx earned his BSME from the University of Illinois and his MBA from Northwestern and the GM Institute. Mr. Foxx is a member of the Benton City Arkansas Planning Commission, a community development and athletics mentor, a NCAA baseball umpire and a Six Sigma Black Belt. He is also involved in animal rescue and care, and is currently learning Spanish.
Senior Consultant, Strategic Rail Finance
Dr. Barbara Gray
Dr. Barbara Gray is a Professor of Organizational Behavior and Director, Center for Research in Conflict and Negotiation, at The Pennsylvania State University. She holds the following degrees: B.S. in Chemistry (Magna Cum Laude), University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, 1968; Secondary Education Certificate, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1973; and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1979. Dr. Gray has held the following visiting positions: Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation during 1987-88, Visiting Faculty, the Katholicke Universiteit Leuven in 1997, TVA Fellow at The Darden School, University of Virginia in 1998, and Boer & Croon Chaired Professor at the TIAS Business School, Tilburg University in 2004. Dr. Gray is also a trained mediator and consults to organizations about conflict and collaboration.
Dr. Gray has published three books: Collaborating: Finding common ground for multiparty problems (Jossey-Bass, 1989); International Joint Ventures: Economic and organizational perspectives (with Kalyan Chatterjee, Kluwer, 1995), and Making Sense of Intractable Environmental Conflicts: Concepts and cases (with Roy Lewicki & Michael Elliott, Island Press, 2003). She has over 70 publications including work in Administrative Sciences Quarterly, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Human Relations, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Journal of Management and Journal of Management Inquiry.
Dr. Gray’s research interests include interorganizational relations, multiparty collaborative alliances, organizational and environmental conflict, team dynamics and sensemaking. She is currently studying the impacts of repair of relationship conflict on organizations and investigating leadership functions in multiparty alliances including a project with the National Institutes of Health to study transdisciplinary teams.
Conflict and Negotiation
Environmental and Diversity-Related Disputes
Professor Emeritus of Organizational Behavior
Steve was Local Chairperson and Legislative Representative, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, Local 276.
Norfolk Southern Rail Train & Engine Service (Retired)
Dr. Gene Griffin
Dr. Gene Griffin has over 30 years of experience in transportation and logistics, and has conducted research in economics, management, business logistics and public policy related to rail and motor transport, low-volume roads, economic development, rural transit, and agricultural transportation. He served as director of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute since 1980 until 2012 and was responsible for the Institute’s nine research and outreach programs as well as the graduate and undergraduate education programs. During his tenure as director, the UGPTI gained national stature in its focus area of small urban and rural transportation and logistics. Gene continues his involvement in research and has published numerous reports and journal articles.
Principal, Global Innovative Solutions
Steve Herr has worked within and with the railroad industry his entire career, starting with a summer job in college as a track laborer with the Illinois Terminal. After completing a BA in Transportation Management from UC San Diego he joined Southern Pacific as a management trainee and went into operations planning. Subsequent to an MS Transportation at Northwestern, he worked briefly in Industrial Engineering at Santa Fe, and then went back to SP in their executive department research group, where he costed out “waaaay too many” unit trains and did situational studies. He also got his first taste of marketing at SP, setting rates on a wide variety of goods – everything from Kris Kringle dolls to space shuttle boosters to heavy machinery – and overhauling SP’s boxcar backhaul program in the West Coast I-5 corridor.
He then went to work for the regional Wisconsin & Calumet as the marketing manager handling all commodities, along with the occasional shortline-usual “We need a brakeman for the Waukesha job today.” Steve was eventually promoted to general manager of the WICT in 1992. When it was sold, he continued with the parent company, Chicago West Pullman, but left in 1994 to start his own business, Glacier State Distribution Services, with the overall goal of solving the problem he had seen many times while marketing – that the farthest distance in most potential new rail movements was from the side of the railcar to the side of the customer’s facility. The business began by bidding on state road salt contracts, bringing the salt in by rail and using portable transloading conveyors. As markets changed, the business evolved and now operates a transload terminal in Kenosha, WI, handling water treatment chemicals, metal products, landscaping stone and road salt.
Owner, Glacier State Distribution Services
Ron Kaminkow has served as the Secretary of Railroad Workers United (RWU), and now as General Secretary, since 2008. Founded that year, RWU is a coalition effort of rank & file railroad workers from all unions, crafts and carriers dedicated to the principles of solidarity, unity, and democracy. The group emphasizes action and mobilization of working railroad workers to win better working conditions on the railroad.
Prior to hiring out as a brakeman with Conrail in 1996, Ron served as President of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees union (AFSCME) #634 – a local of the Wisconsin State Employees Union (WSEU) in Madison, WI. A former brakeman, conductor, and engineer for Conrail and later NS in Chicago (United Transportation Union #168) and Elkhart, IN (UTU#194), Ron went on in 2004 to work for Amtrak in Milwaukee (Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen #27) and Chicago (BLET #40). He currently works as an Amtrak engineer in Reno, NV where he is the Vice President and Delegate of BLET #51.
Ron is an active member of the Sierra Club’s Toiyabe Chapter (NV/Eastern CA) and serves on its Transportation Committee. He is also a member of RailPAC of California & Nevada – a passenger rail advocacy group), and serves as the Nevada state Council Rep for the Rail Passengers Association (RPA).
General Secretary, Railroad Workers United
Dr. Maury Klein
Dr. Maury Klein, professor of history at the University of Rhode Island, is one of America’s foremost railroad historians. He is author of thirteen books, including Union Pacific: Volume I, 1862-1893, published by the University of Minnesota Press, and Unfinished Business: the Railroad in American Life, published by the University Press of New England. His books The Life and Legend of E.H. Harriman, The Flowering of the Third America: The Making of an Organizational Society, and The Life and Legend of Jay Gould were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
Professor of History, University of Rhode Island
Mr. Leilich, has over 45 years of railroad transportation and consulting experience. Clients included railroads, shippers, financial institutions state and federal government agencies, and operators of passenger and commuter rail services. His principal skills are in operations strategic planning, railroad economics and finance, and transportation costing – all involving freight, commuter, passenger, and High Speed Rail (HSR). In 2011, he spent a month studying HSR operations in China and Taiwan, meeting with numerous HSR managers, government officials, academic leaders, and consultants.
As a part-time faculty member of the University of Illinois, he was responsible for the development of the operating plan and estimating revenues and operating and maintenance costs of proposed HSR operations between Chicago and St. Louis. He also lectured and helped educate graduate students on railroad operational and economic subjects. Earlier, he worked with the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority to review studies of building HSR along the I-26 and I-70 highway corridors
Mr. Leilich has served as a management advisor and consultant to the Board of Directors and senior management of the Alaska Railroad. He also worked with many commuter authorities, State DOT’s, Amtrak, and freight railroads on commuter and passenger rail issues. He helped a number of investors and operators start up 13 successful short line and regional railroads throughout the US. His company’s proprietary modeling software was used to study line capacity problems throughout North America and many other countries around the world.
Mr. Leilich has testified as an expert railroad witness in several federal and district courts, the former Interstate Commerce Commission (now Surface Transportation Board) and state public utility commissions. He has co-authored several books on railroading and was a frequent writer for industry trade magazines on railroad operations, economics, and line capacity management.
He was the founder and owner of two successful rail consulting and software development companies, Corporate Strategies, Inc. (CSI) and TrainMaster, Inc. CSI was sold to a subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway and the assets and proprietary software of TrainMaster, Inc were sold to a Michigan technology development company.
Mr. Leilich also spent ten years in rail consulting and management positions with the former Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. (now KPMG) and A. T. Kearney, Inc.
His railroad experience includes some engineering development work with the former Southern Railway (now Norfolk Southern) and service as a locomotive fireman and qualified engineer with the former Santa Fe (now BNSF Railroad). After completing college, he spent a number of years in staff and line management positions with the Santa Fe. He earlier served in the Navy as the Chief Engineer aboard a naval destroyer.
Mr. Leilich and his wife of over 50 years now live in The Woodlands, Texas to be close to their son, daughter, and grandchildren.
Railroad Advocate and Consultant
Anthony V. Mannino, Attorney-at-Law
Tony Mannino serves on the board of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA), and is also a member of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Goods Movement Task Force. He is currently Special Counsel to Pennsylvania state Senator Larry Farnese.
His background in government provides a unique view on the intersection of public policy and transportation needs from the perspective of elected officials, end users, and community stakeholders.
From 2008-2015 he served as Chief of Staff to Senator Farnese, where he worked closely on improving port infrastructure and promoting a variety of transit-oriented developments in Philadelphia. He also focused on advocacy for the expansion of fixed rail infrastructure and alternative fuel mass transit.
From 2006-2008 he was Chief of Staff to state Rep. Bryan Lentz in Delaware County, where he helped draft legislation to advance the regional coordination of airport infrastructure and promote greater use of short distance passenger rail.
Prior to his public service, he spent more than a decade in the private sector as an attorney in the commercial litigation field.
Philip Mortimer provides OnTrackAmerica with experienced international expertise. Philip is the lead partner and Director of Truck Train Brokerage, a project sponsored by the UK Technology Strategy Board, examining the business systems and IT involved in the modal split of intermodal traffic between UK ports and inland destinations. Since 1997, Philip has been project director for TruckTrain Industries, a family of innovative vehicle concepts designed to move seamlessly between road and rail systems. In his recent PhD program, Philip has been a research associate on various projects including an assessment of the design resilience of stations and passenger rolling stock to blast damage and survivability, European Commission-sponsored rail development projects for new services, urban freight logistics (Bestufs & Freightwise), and the development of new rail freight services between Rotterdam & Constanza involving a review of regulatory frameworks and compliance with EU rail reform packages. Philip has written extensively for a wide variety of industry and academic publications.
Director, TruckTrain Industries
Mingzhou Jin, Ph.D.
Dr. Jin is the Director of the The Logistics, Transportation, and Supply Chain Engineering lab (LTS) at University of Tennessee. The LTS applies Operations Research, Simulation, Traffic Modeling, Statistical Analysis, Cost/Benefit Analysis, and other engineering techniques to address issues in logistics, transportation, and supply chain. Dr. Jin has done about forty projects in those areas with the total funding for more than $8M. The sponsors include USDOT, Department of Homeland Security, NASA, three State DOTs, American Trucking Associations, several University Transportation Centers, and various companies. Dr. Jin is currently the president of the Engineering Economy division of the Institute for Industrial Engineers and the board director of the Logistics and Supply Chain division. He is serving in the editorial boards of the journals of the Engineering Economists and the International Journal of Production Economics and is the guest editor of the Journal of Cleaner Production.
Associate Head Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Tennessee
Matt began his professional railroading career in 2004, working as a Conductor. In 2005, he was promoted to Locomotive Engineer. Prior experience with regulatory compliance issues in the casino industry led to recruitment by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen’s Nevada State Legislative Board starting in 2006. Since 2013, he has served as the Board’s Chairman. His duties for the Board include interfacing with railroad management and regulatory agencies to address the safety concerns of BLET members in Nevada, as well as lobbying at the Nevada Legislature on behalf of our members.
He has also had the privilege of serving as Manager of Operating Practices -Northern Region for West Coast Railroaders Group (WCRG). Led by a team of rail professionals, WCRG provides track car services to host railroads in western states, and also works with host railroads to coordinate excursions for private owners/operators of vintage track cars.
Outside of work, his hobbies include amateur radio, bicycling, and studying the history of the American West as well as public policy.
Matt’s home base is Spanish Springs, Nevada.
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, Nevada State Legislative Board Chair
Doug Plachcinski is a planner with 15+ years of experience in the areas of local zoning and planning administration, transportation planning and modeling, corridor studies, farmland and open space preservation, hazard mitigation planning, property investigation and entitlement, and capital improvement programming. His work is committed to practical outcomes, empowerment, and consensus-building.
Doug graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography concentrated in Urban Studies and History. He went on to earn a Master of Science in Civil Engineering concentrated in Transportation Systems from Wayne State University in 2004. He also took classes in Urban and Regional Planning at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Eastern Michigan University. He participated in several courses at the University of Michigan towards a postgraduate certificate in Real Estate Development.
Currently, he manages the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission’s Long Range Transportation Planning process for a second five-year cycle, develops programs for highway safety improvements, and conducts pavement management studies. He has experience as principal planning/program administrator at local and regional government agencies as well as in private consulting. His experience also includes coordination with stormwater management protocol and sensitive environmental features protection. As the Planning Director for West Bloomfield, Michigan he lead an inclusive public process for the development of a flexible form-based zoning code for the Orchard Lake Road corridor, the principal regional retail corridor within the community.
Mr. Plachcinski was an Adjunct Professor within the Urban Planning program at Wayne State University (Transportation Planning and Policy), Eastern Michigan University (Transportation Geography), and participated in the development of education resources through the Michigan Chapter of the American Planning Association. He recently signed on as a contributor to publicworkstraining.com and freelances relevant community planning projects when he is not spending time with his family or participating in recreational running events across the country.
Senior Transportation Planner, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission
Theodore Prince – Principal, T. Prince & Associates LLC
Principal, T. Prince & Associates LLC
Brian Rademacher has 10 years of experience in Economic Development. He began as Director of Economic Development with Ormond Beach in June 2018. Prior to this he was the Economic Development Manager for the City of Hollywood, Florida where he was responsible for the overall management of the Economic Development Division. He facilitated redevelopment opportunities for mixed-use development along the City’s major commercial corridors and worked with local partners to develop programs to support entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Prior to his work in Florida, Brian held numerous positions with regional, state, and private positions building expertise in strategic planning, site selection & business development. Brian Is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a designation earned through the International Economic Development Council.
CEcD Economic Development Director City of Ormond Beach
Karen Risa Robbins
Karen Risa Robbins is a lawyer, entrepreneur, and business consultant with deep experience in collaboration and change initiatives. Founder and CEO of the AmTech Center for Collaboration in Silicon Valley, she led a team that won accolades for orchestrating public-private partnerships and change initiatives for top-tier government, industry, and academic clients. Her personal credits include leading governance and partner relations for the $18 Billion dollar NextGen Air Traffic Control Modernization initiative, and brokering the $150 million dollar NASA project that spawned the Predator drone. A legal innovator, she was the policy and legal architect of an unprecedented federal contracting model that enables public-private ventures. She negotiated large dollar R&D deals and initiated numerous industry alliances and nonprofit organizations. She presently serves on the Board of Advisors for the Doug Engelbart Institute (celebrated computer/internet pioneer) and as advisor to the California Department of Water Resources on the use of drones for precision agriculture. Today she applies her extensive knowledge of collaboration, stakeholder engagement, and organizational structures, to further public policy enterprises.
Principal, Washington Progress Group
Peter Schwartzman is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Studies at Knox College. He is a trained climatologist with interests in a wide variety of environmental areas. He has written over 100 hundred articles for local media as well as peer-reviewed journals. He is also cofounder of The Center (www.thecenteringalesburg.org), a community place for learning and connecting. Peter and his wife serve as coaches for the Silas Willard Geography Bowl team and also run the school Scrabble Club there. Peter is also: a tournament level Scrabble player; basketballasaurus (a creature constantly found dribbling and shooting); an activist for peace and justice; and, a fun-loving spirit. Peter’s academic degrees include a Bachelor of Science in physics at Harvey Mudd College, a Masters of Science in Science and Technology Studies at Virginia Tech, and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia.
Associate Professor & Chair, Knox College Environmental Studies Program
Dr. Joseph Schwieterman
Dr. Joseph Schwieterman is the director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development and professor of public services management at DePaul University. He has published extensively on air, rail, and urban-planning issues and is a long-standing contributor to the Transportation Research Board. He holds a doctorate in public policy from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in transportation from Northwestern University. His article, “Abandoned Corridors,” was a finalist for the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society’s 2003 David P. Morgan Award for excellence in railroad history.
Director, Depaul University Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development
Eugene Wilson is a licensed California attorney with over 25 years of experience in real estate, business, environmental, and land use issues. He has litigated a significant number precedent-setting published opinions in the areas of energy conservation and land use. He has been a strong advocate for increased use of freight and passenger rail as energy-efficient and cost-effective transportation modes. He has published various articles in California Litigation. His practice is devoted exclusively to environmental litigation with a particular focus on transportation, land use, energy and climate issues. He represents a range of specialized topics at the California Public Utilities Commission related to energy, transportation, and climate. Mr. Wilson participates in a variety of non-profit organizations.
Michael Sussman is the founder of OnTrackAmerica, serving as its Chairman and CEO. He has also been the president of Strategic Rail Finance since its inception in 1994. Mr. Sussman has created a comprehensive program for expanding private and public sector capitalization of rail and intermodal transportation projects. In the last twenty years, he has coordinated financing for projects in 35 states. During twelve years of work with the federal government, Michael has preserved the autonomy to speak and act in the best interests of the transportation industry and the country by self-funding all of Strategic Rail’s government relations activities in Washington and across the United States. Michael has convened two transportation industry briefings in the U.S. Capitol Building, most recently on December 11, 2008 with thirty industry and government leaders.
Chairman, CEO, OnTrackNorthAmerica, and Strategic Rail Finance
Transportation, Warehousing and Supply Chain Logistics professional, Vice President, Business Owner, President, Director, Family man, Father and Stepfather, Sibling and Grandparent to 5.
Randy began his career as a purchasing agent with The Coast Distribution System, Inc., an international and publicly held company. During his 17 years with Coast, Randy quickly moved up the ladder to become the vice president and regional manager of all distribution, transportation, and sales operations for the Southern California distribution facility at the age of 26. The promotion that followed led Randy to the corporate office to become the vice president of customer service and operations for the U.S. and Canada.
With the desire and a growing passion to be in business for himself, Randy left Coast and partnered with two long-time business associates to purchase and grow Aladdin Transportation and Warehousing, Inc. This business provided that next step and arena to work within a trade and industry involved in international trade.
In his role as a business partner in Aladdin, Randy immediately became involved with local associations and industry trade groups, becoming a member of the Columbia River Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association in 2004. Randy was later invited by Louis Samenfink, executive director of U.S. Customs (ACE/TSN), to become a member of the TSN group (U.S. Customs/Trade Support Network) to provide his insight and expertise to the group as a multi modal operator including bonded transportation and facilities experience. After being recognized as a leader who is passionate about the transportation and supply chain industry, Randy was invited to become a member of the TLC group (U.S. Customs/Trade Leadership Council), a group of less than 30 members who are recognized as leaders in their specific areas of business related to international transportation and supply chain logistics.
After 10 years as a business owner, Randy and his partners successfully sold the Aladdin Transportation and Warehousing, Inc. business. Following some personal time to spend with family, Randy joined a long-standing family owned transportation business, Airport Drayage Co. as the Director of Development. Randy takes great pride in developing effective teams and building efficient and growth focused solutions within Airport Drayage to help transition and diversify the third-generation business onto a solid long-term sustainable path for years to come.
In addition to his primary responsibilities at Airport Drayage, Randy was asked to provide consultation services for the Oregon Port of Willamette (OPW) that was working on a state proposal to develop an inland intermodal port terminal. Randy provided those services as a contracted professional and was asked to extend the consulting agreement an additional 6 months providing input and guidance related primarily to trucking, container drayage and transloading operations.
Director of Development, Cargo Flow Solutions
Tom Erickson is a Rail Operations consultant for Strategic Rail Finance. Tom has 35 years’ experience working in nearly every aspect of the rail industry: sales and business development, project consultation, due diligence studies, and market research.
In 20 years of work with CSX and Conrail, Tom held diverse management positions. At Conrail, he managed market analysis and pricing for automotive and intermodal accounts, headed intermodal bulk marketing for Philadelphia operations, and personally led Conrail’s network of rail-truck transloading terminals. In this last position, he was responsible for the modernization and standardization of transloading assets and procedures, and oversaw a doubling of both tonnage and profits from the division.
As head of his own rail consulting firm, Rail Cents Enterprises, Tom focuses on advising Class II and III railroads and shippers in operations, market research, industrial development, network design, and commercial and right-of-way agreements. Tom has drafted feasibility studies for Amtrak, Canadian Pacific, and local government bodies, and has advised on rail privatization projects in Europe, Central America, and Africa.
Tom has been published in both Transportation Journal and the Journal of Transportation Law, Logistics and Policy, and also holds a patent on a railroad operating system.
Rail Operations Consultant, Strategic Rail Finance
Michael Koontz leads Strategic Rail Finance’s Social and Environmental Costs-Benefits practice, specializing in producing socioeconomic impact analyses to accompany USDOT TIGER, CMAQ, and RRIF funding applications. Mike managed the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program with the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation from 2001 until 2014. As program manager, he implemented CMAQ, guiding an annual investment of more than $2 billion over three transportation authorizations. He also authored detailed program guidance and a number of legislative interpretations involving the $30-billion, 20-year program. Prior to his role as CMAQ manager, Mike was a transportation planner for the FHWA and served for six years as a transportation network capacity analyst.
Social & Environmental Benefits/Costs Consultant, Strategic Rail Finance, Federal Highway Administration CMAQ Program Manager (retired)
David leads the freight market intelligence practice at OTNA and the Strategic Rail Group. In this role, he advises major ports, public agencies, and leading beneficial cargo owners (BCO’s) on strategic new services, transportation, and logistics infrastructure projects. His team employs multi-faceted, data-driven commercial studies to deliver investment-grade reporting that support new client initiatives.
David’s client advisory role is grounded in over 20+ years of direct operating experience in all areas of transportation and supply chain logistics. He founded, operated, and sold three successful transportation and logistics businesses in the past 15 years.
Most recently his Keystone Transportation Solutions (KTS) company was created to redesign logistics for the US logging and lumber export industry. Under David’s leadership, KTS developed an operating model which consolidated disparate wood products exporters and built several new logistics trade lanes, including new on-port operation which significantly reduced logistics costs and improved export volumes. David also founded and served as President and COO of Certicell, a leading provider of supply chain services and 3rd party after-market asset management to the wireless device industry. David also founded Environmental Reclamation Services, Inc, which introduced a successful and innovative approach to reverse logistics to the after-market product and repair industry, a protocol which is now replicated across this sector.
In each of these leadership roles, David led high velocity start-up enterprises which realized significant revenue growth due largely to innovative service offerings. Each venture delivered sustainable bottom-line benefits for his customers and all three resulted in highly successful business exits to private equity and strategic buyers.
David received his Bachelor of Business Administration, Accounting in 1989 from Rider University.
OnTrackNorthAmerica Executive Advisor, Chief Information Officer, Strategic Rail Finance
Transport industry professional with international experience across multiple segments:
- Airlines (network planning, revenue management, PaxEx, alliances, industry structure and trends)
- Passenger Rail (revenue management, retail, ticketing, government policy, industry structure and global trends)
- Public Transit (multi-modal, multi operator, retail, marketing, ticketing, policy and global trends)
- Freight & Logistics (multi -modal market experience, industry structure and global trade policy and trends)
Andrew has a BSc honors degree in Transport Management from Aston University, the UK’s leading center for transportation studies, and is Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CMILT) in the United States. He has decades of experience working at, or advising, public transit, railway, airline and logistics companies across the globe.
Andrew’s three passions are international current affairs/business, transportation (primarily rail and airlines) and football (aka soccer).