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Association Briefs: WTS International, ASLRRA

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
WTS International President and CEO Sara M. Stickler (left) and Eno President and CEO Robert Puentes (right) sign a formal MOU on Sept. 8.

WTS International President and CEO Sara M. Stickler (left) and Eno President and CEO Robert Puentes (right) sign a formal MOU on Sept. 8.

The Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) International and the Eno Center for Transportation (Eno) sign memorandum of understanding (MOU). Also, from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association’s weekly Views & News: A Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) report discusses results of Onboard Broken Rail Detection (OBRD) system research; ASLRRA congratulates industry colleagues on their retirements; and registration opens for first ASLRRA training seminar in 2023.

WTS International signed on Sept. 8 a formal MOU with traffic management think tank Eno, “ensuring the two organizations will collaborate on mutual goals to better the transportation sector and prepare a next generation of industry leaders and workforce.”

The MOU outlines several of the mutual objectives of the organization, including:

  • Promoting career opportunities in the transportation sector to a diverse demographic, including women and minorities.
  • Furthering the attraction, participation, connection, advancement, and recognition of women and minorities in the transportation industry; public, private, and academia.
  • Providing professional development opportunities, advocacy, and to help advance the skill sets of a diverse workforce; thereby ensuring the sector’s future success.
  • Encouraging the participation in organizational leadership activities at an international, national and local level.
2022–24 WTS International Board Chair Jannet Walker-Ford

“The Eno Center for Transportation and WTS International are both longstanding and respected organizations in the transportation sector,” said Jannet Walker-Ford, 2022–24 WTS International Board Chair. “We look forward to a fruitful collaboration as we work on common goals, including leadership development and advocating for policies that benefit the mobility workforce.”

According to the organization, WTS International collaborates with its MOU partners to “create an industry that is more diverse, inclusive and equitable.” Eno joins a group of other WTS standing MOUs within the transportation industry, including the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), American Public Transportation Association (APTA), American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), and the Transportation Research Board (TRB).

“WTS International values strategic relationships, especially with organizations aligned with our mission and vision,” said WTS International President and CEO Sara M. Stickler, CAE. “Eno and WTS have numerous similarities, but also bring unique perspectives to a partnership. We look forward to engaging in specific programs that benefit our members and transportation stakeholders and serving as a resource to the Eno community as we continue to diversify the industry.”

“We are proud to formalize our long partnership with WTS and look forward to working with them to advance our mutual interests,” added Eno President and CEO Robert Puentes. “Together, we can help advance the workforce, build equity across all sectors of transportation, and meet the needs of an evolving transportation industry.”


The FRA recently published a report discussing research into the feasibility of an OBRD system concept, ASLRRA stated in its Sept. 14 issue of Views & News.

The Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) conducted the research in collaboration with a rail industry stakeholder technical advisory group. According to the FRA’s report summary, the research project used laboratory and field tests to try to validate a usable concept for an OBRD system. Identifying an onboard solution, the report says, “could help implement moving block train control and reduce the life cycle cost of broken rail and occupancy detection.”


Separately, Dan Zink, a long-standing member of the Legislative Policy Committee and Board Member of ASLRRA representing the Central Region retired from his position as Vice President, Economic Development and Community Affairs for Red River Valley & Western Railroad Company, effective Sept. 2. His commitment to the furthering of ASLRRA’s goals and mentorship of many of the industry’s up-and-comers were especially notable, the association said.

Effective Sept. 6, Kathleen Martz, National Regions and Affiliate Program Manager for SmartWay, retired from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Martz, the association says, was a key partner for ASLRRA in creating a path for short line railroads to join the SmartWay program and educating SmartWay shippers about the benefits of freight rail as part of their transportation mix.

Kathleen Martz, National Regions and Affiliate Program Manager for SmartWay, has retired from the EPA, effective Sept. 6.

“Kathleen has been a fantastic partner, always ready to see the big picture and try to help us figure out our way. She was instrumental in getting so many short lines to join SmartWay and she has been a great friend to us,” noted Jo Strang, ASLRRA’s SVP of Safety, Regulatory and Environmental.

Meanwhile, the first ASLRRA training seminar in 2023 will be the Association’s popular Drug and Alcohol (Part 219) Training Seminar, which will be held Jan. 31 to Feb. 1 in Phoenix, Ariz.

According to ASLRRA, the seminar will discuss 49 CFR Part 219, covering all sections of the rule and requirements for all railroads and contractors and including interactive discussion of rule requirements and practices.

FRA Drug and Alcohol Program Specialist Sam Noe will lead the instruction, joined by ASLRRA Vice President of Safety and Compliance JR Gelnar.

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