Monday, June 17, 2013

MARS sets summer conference agenda

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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The energy and housing markets will be two areas of focus at the upcoming MARS (Midwest Association of Rail Shippers) Annual Summer Meeting July 8-9 at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisc. The meeting theme is “Riding the Rails to Economic Recovery,” and will include sessions on housing, retail, energy, and short line railroads, as well as an economic outlook and legislative analysis.

David Murawski, a vice president with Union Tank Car Company, is chairing the panel presentation on the transportation of crude oil. “The topic of crude-by-rail is really relevant right now, considering the surge in energy movements by rail, and the unprecedented demand for tank cars to carry the loads,” said Murawski.

For the “Building on the Housing Market” panel, Harry Zander of Macquarie Rail will be joined by representatives from major manufacturers of housing materials, including Louisiana Pacific and U.S. Gypsum. “The housing comeback—both starts and permits—looks promising,” said Zander. “Housing appears to be poised for a substantive role in our currently modest economic recovery. Our panel will discuss the supply chains that stand to benefit the most from this improved market.”

Among the other speakers are Rick Webb, CEO of the Watco Companies; Eric Starks, President of FTR Associates; Graham Brisben, CEO of Professional Logistics Group; and Peter Pfohl, Partner in the law firm of Slover and Loftus.

Murawski and Zander say the MARS meetings (held in summer and winter) have become an excellent resource for sharing information and pooling knowledge. “Through this conference, I’ve built an extensive industry network and gained invaluable information on current equipment leasing trends and other rail-related dynamics in the marketplace,” said Murawski.

The MARS meetings are open to both and non-members. This year’s schedule features the traditional Scholarship Golf Outing and reception on Monday, July 8. A full-day business meeting will follow on Tuesday. Advance reservations are required for the conference and golf outing. Conference information and registration is available online by clicking HERE, by email at, or by phone at (630) 513-6700.

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