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Monday, March 15, 2010

MSU Railway Management Program expands for 2010

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The Michigan State University Railway Management Program (RMP), now in its second year, is undergoing significant improvements, including an upgrade in location and addition of a master’s program.

MSU is consolidating the RMP with university’s nationally top-rated Supply Chain Management program. RMP faculty and staff will be located at the Eli Broad College of Business on MSU’s East Lansing, Mich., campus. Both the RMP certificate program and the masters in Supply Chain Management program with a specialization in Railway Management will be conducted at the university’s Henry Center for Executive Development. The building, erected in 2001, “features state-of-the-art high-tech classrooms, wireless access, food service facilities, and an adjacent hotel,” according to RMP director Dennis Neilson.

This May, a Railway Management specialization will be available as part of the Supply Chain Management master’s degree program. It incorporates four 12-day in-residence sessions at MSU. Other Supply Chain Management specialization tracks include Logistics, Operations Management, and Procurement. The application deadline is April 1.

“The new master’s program and the RMP certificate gain unique credibility because of the class structure, which allows students and participants to maintain a full time job and obtain a master’s degree or RMP course certificate,” says Neilsen. “The master’s program’s intensive courses are offered in May and August for two successive years. The courses are supplemented with online programs between the residency sessions.”

“Today’s rail industry is evolving and growing rapidly to meet economic demands around the world,” says program founder and FCM Rail, Ltd. Chairman and CEO Dennis Gilstad. “The MSU Railway Management Program prepares current and future leaders to make organization-enhancing decisions. This is important in our ever-changing and growing industry. Our industry plays a vital role in the U.S. economy. This program will help the industry stay current with the changes and the challenges that will be facing it as the industry moves forward. The certificate program explores where the industry has been, where it is now, and where it is going. This knowledge allows leaders to understand the changing marketplace and technologies, and develop leadership skills to take their organizations to the next level.”

“The downsizing era is over,” says MSU Professor Steve Ditmeyer. “Railroads are now facing growth. The purpose of this program is to give leaders the skills that they can use to manage their railroads for future prosperity.”

The MSU RMP Advisory Committee and staff has populated the curriculum with noted guest faculty. Among them are Richard Timmons, President, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association; G. Fred Leif, Assistant Vice President-Labor Relations, CSX; James Dagnon, Executive Vice President-Employee Relations (ret.), BNSF Railway; Jeff Young, Assistant Vice President-Information Technologies, Union Pacific; Larry Rose, Manager-Operations Logistics, Fuel Supply, Detroit Edison/DTE Energy; Charles Powell, Senior Manager-Equipment Standards, TTCI; Alan Polivka, Assistant Vice President-Communications and Train Control, TTCI; Jill Walls, Regional Director, UPS Global Supply Chain Solutions; Gary McClanahan, Vice President-Intermodal Operations, UPS; James Cumby, International Vice President, United Transportation Union; Pat Gamble, President and CEO, Alaska Railroad; and Craig Hill, Vice President-Mechanical and Value Engineering (ret.), BNSF Railway.

For further information on the master’s program, contact Nancy Taylor at 517-432-6458 or For questions regarding the Railway Management specialization or MSU’s RMP certificate, contact Dennis Neilson at 517-353-4452 or