NEARS Announces Award Winners, Conference Details

Written by Andrew Corselli, Managing Editor
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The North East Association of Rail Shippers (NEARS) announced that Michael Smith, President, Finger Lakes Railway Corporation, has been named its 2019 Transportation Person of the Year, and Erik Bohn and Gerald Racette will be inducted into the NEARS Hall of Fame.

They will be honored at NEARS’s Fall 2019 Conference in Burlington, Vt., on October 1-3, 2019. Early-bird registration ends on August 30.

In addition, NEARS announced its Vermont Rail System Dinner Train, which takes place on Monday, September 30, 2019. It’s set to feature a three-course dinner “while you ride along Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains on a Vermont Rail System train, with historic dining cars and lounge car. You can board the train at 4:30 p.m. for hors d’oeuvre and a cash bar, and we will depart at 5:30 p.m. and travel from Burlington to Middlebury, and return back to Burlington, on a three-hour trip. Tickets are $69 a person, which includes food and gratuity (drinks are on your own).” The registration page can be found here.

The agenda for the conference is as follows—and subject to change:


4:30 p.m. – VRS Dinner Train – Early Boarding, hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar

5:30 p.n. – VRS Dinner Train – Depart Station


3:00 p.m. – Registration Opens

5:30 p.m. – The Joseph & Eileen Gearin Networking Reception; Networking Reception Sponsored By AMTR

7:00 p.m. – Dinner On Your Own in Fabulous Burlington


7:00 a.m. – Breakfast Starts (Available until 08:30)

7:30 a.m. – Registration Re-Opens

8:00 a.m. – Welcome to NEARS and Safety Briefing; Jason Seidl, Managing Director, Cowen & Company

8:30 a.m. – The Tony and Jason Show – Town Hall Style, including Cowen Survey; Tony Hatch, Principal, ABH Consulting; Jason Seidl, Managing Director, Cowen & Company

9:30 a.m. – State of the Railroad Industry; moderator: Jason Seidl, Managing Director, Cowen & Company; Michael Miller, President North America, Genesee & Wyoming, Inc

10:30 a.m. – Networking Break & Vendor Fair

11:00 a.m. – LNG by Rail: Exploring Potential Markets

Intro: Jack Rudnicki, Manager Sales, BNSF Railway; Joshua Soles, LNG Market Manager, BNSF Railway

Noon – NEARS Networking Lunch and Vendor Fair

1:30 p.m. – Rail Shipper Technology Panel; Lindsay English, Director – Rail Products, ICL Systems

Robert Cooper, Principal Digital Product Manager, Wabtec; Martin Lew, CEO, Commtrex

2:30 p.m. – Customer Service – How to get rail business done!

Intro: Todd Moulton, Senior Account Manager, CSXT; Arthur Adams, Vice President, Sales & Customer Engagement, CSXT

3:15 p.m. – Networking Break and Vendor Fair

3:45 p.m. – Surface Transportation Board – State of Rail; Introduction: Dennis Wilmot, President, Iron Horse Logistics Group; Lucy Marvin, Director of Office of Public Assistance, Govt., Affairs & Compliance

4:30 p.m. – Cowen Short Survey Wrap-Up; Jason Seidl, Managing Director, Cowen & Company

4:45 p.m. – NEARS Transition Plan, Presentation and Awards

6:00 p.m. – The Joseph & Eileen Gearin Networking Reception; Networking Reception Sponsored By AMTR

7:30 p.m. – Dinner On Your Own In Fabulous Burlington


7:30 a.m. – Special Networking Breakfast Starts (Available Until 09:00)

8:00 a.m. – A Special Breakfast –The Direction of Rail Equipment Today

Intro: Erik Bohn, Director, Logistics & Customer Service, Americas, Omya Inc

John O’Bryan, Senior VP Business Development & Integration, The Greenbrier Companies

9:00 a.m. – Conference Follow-Up – Rail is Academic; Intro: Jack Rudnicki, Manager Sales, BNSF Rail; Dr. Peter Swan, Associate Professor, Penn State University

10:00 a.m. – Closing Remarks and William J. Donovan Memorial Drawing

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