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NRC names new Hall of Famers

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

On January 4, 2017, the National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association (NRC) announced this year’s entrants into the NRC Hall of Fame:

John Zuspan, Rick Ebersold, and Ronald Brown have been unanimously selected by the Executive Committee.
NRC provides these bios: 

John Zuspan has worked in the rail industry for more than 40 years, starting as a track laborer at Atlas Railroad Construction while attending Clemson & Drexel. In 1978, John left Atlas to go to Delta Railroad Construction (Delta) as a switch foreman. In 1980, John left Delta to accept a superintendent of track position at Slattery/Skanska. In 2001, John joined Balfour Beatty Rail as Vice President.

In 2004, John left Balfour Beatty Rail to launch his own business, Track Guy Consultants, after seeing a need in the construction industry for training in track construction and maintenance, including Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Track Safety Standards. John has written 11 handbooks on track construction, maintenance, and management.

“Without John’s help, many individuals and small businesses may not have succeeded,” said Stanley Beaver, Balfour Beatty Rail’s safety and environmental director. “Very often his help comes without charge in the form of advice and encouragement. John is never too busy to take time to help individuals working through complex issues.”

John serves on the NRC Board and the NRC Safety Committee. John has been instrumental in producing numerous Safety Training DVDs that have become a staple of the NRC’s efforts to promote railroad construction safety. He also led efforts to create the Part 243 Minimum Training Standards template for NRC members. He has participated in Railroad Day on the Hill and is an active member of American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association committees.

Rick Ebersold has 45 years of experience in the rail industry beginning in 1969 as a laborer for the Chicago and North Western Railway. Herzog’s management team recognized Rick’s drive, and he was hired in 1973 as a foreman. He progressed through the ranks from general superintendent to project manager, overseeing numerous highly successful railroad construction projects from coast to coast. In 1992, he was promoted to President of Herzog’s rail testing group. Today, Herzog Services, Inc. continues Rick’s forward momentum and growth by providing testing services for Class I and short line railroads throughout North America.

As an industry leader, Rick has promoted legislative priorities on behalf of Herzog and the NRC. In one effort, Rick developed Hours of Service reform that he successfully presented to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officials and the Chair of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, which resulted in its inclusion in the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act” five-year transportation infrastructure bill signed into law by President Obama on December 4, 2015.

“Rick has been a true father figure and mentor to his employees,” said Scott Norman, Senior Vice President at Herzog Contracting Corp. Alan Landes, President and COO of Herzog said that Rick “epitomizes all the good things in our company” and is a “team player…[who] never hesitates when accepting a task for Herzog.”

Rick joined the NRC board in 1999, holding several positions including Chairman and Executive Director, during which time he trained and imparted wisdom on the incoming President and CEO of the NRC, Chuck Baker, who continues to serve in this role. Under Rick’s leadership, NRC membership rose from 150 member companies to more than 200, and conference attendance spiked by 75 percent. He spearheaded a partnership with the Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA), including a joint trade show and concurrent meetings, which has helped solidify the annual NRC Conference as one of the premier railroad events in North America.

Rick has also served on the Board of Directors for REMSA, and has been a member of AREMA, the Northwest Maintenance of Way (NAMRC) Rail Club, and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

Ronald Brown founded Annex Railroad Builders (Annex) in 1961 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, Annex’s geographical customer base grew to include most of the Midwest. By the 1980s, Annex was considered one of the larger, more highly respected railroad contractors in the Midwest, and employed over 100 people. In 1986, Annex purchased a small short line railroad, and the Central Indiana & Western Railroad was formed and is still in operation today. In 1998, Annex, along with 13 other companies, joined to form a new contracting company: RailWorks. After working for RailWorks for three years, Ronald retired in 2001.

“Ron was truly a pioneer in our industry…a true advocate for [the NRC]” said NRC Hall of Fame Member James J. Daloisio of the Railroad Construction Co. of South Jersey.

Ron was one of the founding members of the NRC, and was instrumental to its success during its infancy. He was also a member of the Union Negotiating Committee and was a Management Trustee, and played a significant role in the evolution of the Trust Funds under the Railroad Transportation and Operation Agreement.

They will be recognized at the 2017 NRC Conference in Boca Raton, Fla. on Wednesday, January 11.













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