Friday, May 08, 2015

CSX’s Kuthiala receives AAR Chafee Award

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The Association of American Railroads has presented CSX Director of Advanced engineering Suneil Kuthiala with the John H. Chafee Environmental Excellence Award “for his outstanding environmental leadership, especially in the area of fuel efficiency.”

Kuthiala, who has 14 years of service with CSX in positions across engineering and technology, oversees implementation and development of GE Transportation’s Trip Optimizer on the railroad’s locomotive fleet to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.



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Trip Optimizer uses technology to identify fuel efficiency opportunities,” said CSX Assistant Vice President-Public Health, Safety and Environment Carl Gerhardstein. “Driven by Suneil’s leadership, Trip Optimizer is helping CSX deliver on its goal to further reduce GHG emission intensity 6-8% over 2011 levels by 2020. Currently, Trip Optimizer yields a 174,000-ton average reduction in GHG emissions annually, the equivalent of taking more than 36,000 cars off the road in a single year. CSX has saved 11.8 million gallons of fuel because of the program. We have a strong record of industry leadership around environmental excellence, and I’m proud to see Suneil recognized with this distinguished award. We believe that how you get there matters, and Suneil and his team are leading dramatic fuel efficiency improvements that minimize CSX’s impact on the environment while simultaneously reducing the company’s fuel spend.”

“The major fuel-efficiency benefits we’ve seen from this program are a testament to the Trip Optimizer team’s dedicated efforts and focus on the environment,” said CSX AVP Process Excellence John Hart. “This program is changing the way CSX uses technology to improve operational, financial and environmental performance.”

“Kuthiala’s career at CSX has been defined by a dedication to continued improvements that have created unprecedented fuel efficiencies, reduced emissions and saved money,” said AAR President and CEO Ed Hamberger. “His leadership of the Trip Optimizer program brought about a complete culture change for CSX’s field operations and modified how CSX approaches new technology. Since the initiation of the Trip Optimizer program, CSX has saved nearly 12 million gallons of fuel, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 132,000 tons, equivalent to taking more than 27,000 cars off the road.”

Kuthiala is an active member of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences, Institute for Supply Chain Management and the PTC/Energy Management ITC Subcommittee. His writings on Trip Optimizer technology have been published by the Transportation Research Board. His grandfather was Vice President-Operations of Rail India.



The annual Chafee Environmental Excellence Award is named for the late Rhode Island U.S. Senator who devoted his career to protecting the environment. Kuthiala is the ninth CSX employee to win this award.


In addition to Kuthiala, seven other railroaders were nominated for the 2015 John H. Chafee Environmental Excellence Award:

Paul Carver, Amtrak: “Paul Carver has dedicated his railroad career to operating environmentally sustainable facilities and has accomplished much in the realm of environmental compliance and energy efficiency. It has been said that what stands out about Paul is his belief that ‘we all have a responsibility to incorporate environmental stewardship into our jobs.’ He has long been dedicated to promoting environmental excellence and encouraging the same behavior from his railroad colleagues. Under his guidance, the New Orleans Maintenance Facility decreased energy consumption by 30% from the previous year—an achievement that required no capital investment. The site also lowered its fuel consumption, saving nearly 70,000 gallons of fuel and reducing more than 1.5 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. Carver consistently challenges his site to go above and beyond regulatory requirements and create a culture of environmental leadership. He even spends a significant amount of his off-duty time focusing on environmental efforts at the facility and at home.”

Austin M. Hurst, BNSF: “As a lead member of the Structures Design Team, Austin Hurst manages the engineering design of approximately 250 capital maintenance bridge projects each year. He discovered that a particular bridge project needed improvements related to environmental management activities. He later identified the need for additional environmental and awareness training related to environmental compliance and best practices. Hurst instituted several changes in processes and procedures that have resulted in a more-knowledgeable environmental management collaboration across BNSF. His efforts to reach out to colleagues in other departments have enabled positive changes throughout the company, resulting in improvements in environmental performance and risk management, increased understanding of concepts and more efficient practices across the entire department. Overall, Hurst works with his team to identify any environmental issues, report them properly and have them resolved expeditiously. At home, he teaches his two sons the value of recycling, waste reduction and proper waste management.”

Bryan Murray, Kansas City Southern: “Bryan Murray started his railroad career in Kansas City Southern’s Purchasing Department before moving into the Engineering Department. In his current role, Murray supervises the day-to-day aspects of contractors involved in the used crosstie and metal material reclamation and/or disposal program. His efforts led to the reclamation and reuse of more than 154,000 tie plates, 41 track-miles of rail and the beneficial reuse of more than one million crossties. He was instrumental in further developing the used crosstie disposal program as he established protocols for material retrieval and disposal, significantly increasing the railroad’s ability to recycle large amounts of material. He has managed the used crosstie and metal programs well and plays a key role in reducing environmental risk. By sending used crossties to paper mills, Murray has helped save thousands of dollars in landfill costs. Additionally, Murray works closely with transportation department officials to schedule the movements of 185 railcars to deliver material to destinations, an action that helps to reduce fuel emissions from unnecessary car movements.”

Tim R. Smith, Union Pacific: “As part of the annual bridge replacement program, Tim Smith builds railroad bridges in Union Pacific’s Western Region. He is responsible for $40 million in bridge replacement projects annually, most of which occur in sensitive ecosystems. Smith has utilized internal resources and external environmental consultants to ensure compliance with environmental permit requirements, best practices and a commitment to reducing the impacts on the environment and community during construction projects. In fact, UP’s system wide environmental permitting strategy for replacement projects is modeled after the approach Smith developed. He often incorporates many best practices to save time, reduce cost and eliminate or minimize environmental regulatory agency and community concerns during permitting and construction phases. Smith proactively identifies environmental risks and implements sustainable solutions to reduce them. His philosophy is that by being engaged and identifying environmental concerns and best practices early, he can avoid having to be reactive to a failure or oversight.”

Howard C. Swanson, Norfolk Southern: “Howard Swanson takes a hands-on approach to environmental stewardship and has established a record of environmental awareness and leadership during his railroad career. He works for Norfolk Southern’s Engineering Department, overseeing the replacement, rehabilitation and rating of bridges and structures to ensure the safe movement of trains across the Northern Region. He has been instrumental in ensuring that maintenance-of-way and structures operations are compatible with and minimize impacts to the environment and natural resources. One of his bridge projects improved the efficiency at an intermodal facility reducing both the facility’s carbon footprint and that of trucks getting to and from the yard. Swanson played the lead role in clearing regulatory and environmental hurdles and gaining federal and state approval of a replacement bridge. He shares his expertise with the rest of the rail industry as an active member of the American Railroad Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA). where he serves as vice president of the association’s structures functional group.”

David Wilson, CN: Dave Wilson’s career is marked by projects such as the rehabilitation of Canadian National’s (CN) concrete rail ties. Wilson and his team worked with a CN contractor to develop a resin that would repair worn concrete ties and extend their lives by approximately 30 years. Since the reuse project started in 2013, the team has repaired an average of 200 to 300 concrete ties per day, saving CN $1.4 million in new tie purchases and $300,000 in disposal costs. The cost savings created through the program feed into the company’s bottom line and are aligned with CN’s sustainability strategy and EcoConnexions program, an employee engagement program based on environmental stewardship. Wilson is one of the program’s ambassadors and has led his team to reduce the department’s footprint across British Columbia by improving inventory maintenance, ensuring all products and supplies are protected from the elements and improving safety and pride in his team and the workplace.”

Doug R. Younger, Canadian Pacific Railway: “As Manager of Public Works for Canadian Pacific Railway, Doug Younger is the company lead in coordinating public projects and other matters of public involvement on railway property. He is also an advocate for public funding of railway projects to enhance public safety. CP has partnered with Parks Canada in the CP-Parks Canada Grizzly Bear Project to reduce the risk to bears on the railway right-of-way. The company provided $1 million for research projects as well as support for mitigation measures including fence closure systems and electric mats. Younger has been a resource in educating Parks Canada senior management and field personnel on railway operations and engineering activities. He also resolved a noise complaint from a bed and breakfast near CP’s tracks by removing an unused turnout that was the main source of the noise. Younger has volunteered with Friends of Mt. Revelstoke and Glacier National Park as well as the Alberta Wilderness Association, organizations that promote the enjoyment of Canada’s National Park System and wilderness conservation.”

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