Creel, Ottensmeyer Honored in Chicago

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Left to right: Railway Age Publisher Jon Chalon; 2018 Railroader of the Year Jack Hellman, CEO of Genesee & Wyoming; 1999 Railroader of the Year Ed Burkhardt; 2022 Railroaders of the Year Keith Creel and Pat Ottensmeyer; 2001 Railroader of the Year Mike Haverty, and Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono.

Railway Age’s 2022 Railroaders of the Year, Keith Creel, President and CEO, Canadian Pacific, and Pat Ottensmeyer, President and CEO, Kansas City Southern, were honored March 15 at the Union League Club of Chicago at the annual Railroader of the Year dinner, hosted by the Western Railway Club.

The 59th annual award went to Creel and Ottensmeyer, two exemplary and visionary North American rail industry leaders who are reconfiguring the North American rail landscape by completing, if all goes as planned, what will be the first Class I merger in more than 20 years, and creating North America’s first transnational freight railroad, Canadian Pacific Kansas City, CPKC.

CPKC is a landmark combination that will enable seamless, single-line freight rail service linking Canada, the United States and Mexico, opening up new opportunities for rail market share growth and vastly improved customer service. Merging these two iconic railroads, each with a unique history and legacy, required strategic planning, cooperation, enthusiasm and execution.

The CPKC story traces its roots back to the mid-1990s, when FNM, Mexico’s national railway system was in the process of evolving from a government entity into private ownership. Mike Haverty, Kansas City Southern’s visionary chief executive, saw an opportunity and successfully bid on FNM’s Northeast concession. Today, that railroad, Kansas City Southern de México, forms the Mexican section of CPKC.

Haverty attended the Railroader of the Year dinner and was recognized by Creel and Ottensmeyer for his his historic contribution to North America’s railroads.

Prior to the dinner, Railway Age the presented Next-Generation Freight Rail conference, which included a luncheon recognizing the 2021 Women in Rail honorees. Nine, along with judge Barbara Wilson, President and CEO of USARail, attended.

Some of Railway Age’s 2021 Women in Rail, with judge Barbara Wilson (second from right). Left to right: Norma Torres, President and COO, Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway, OmniTRAX; Kristina Chambers, Chief Data Officer, TTX Company; Cindy Ingram, Assistant Chief Engineer-Quad Cities/Chicago Territory, Canadian Pacific; Martha Lenz, Chief Engineer, Locomotive, Progress Rai; Amy Louk, Manager Administration and Marketing Support, New York & Atlantic Railway, Anacostia Rail Holdings Company; Nicole McKinstry, AVP Sales Operations, The Greenbrier Companies; Teresa Muti, Director, Power and Way, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority; Monique Stewart, Rolling Stock Equipment and Components, Program Manager, Federal Railroad Administration; Jacqueline Watkins, Project Manager Positive Train Control (PTC)-Safety, Metra.

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