John Harrison Marino Sr., 1939-2015

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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John Harrison Marino Sr., 76, career railroader, professional engineer and co-founder of RailAmerica, died May 19, 2015, at home.

Marino received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Princeton University and an M.S. in Transportation Engineering from Purdue University. He then served as an officer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Upon completion of his service, he embarked on a career as a professional engineer. For over 40 years, he was considered one of the nation’s top experts in the railroad industry, and contributed numerous innovations that made rail transportation more efficient, cost-effective, and profitable. His extensive experience emphasized multi-modal solutions that capitalize on the inherent effectiveness of each mode, incorporating public-private partnerships to fund complex capital projects.

Marino served as a Civil Engineer with DeLeuw, Cather and Co. in New York City in 1966 and as an Intermodal Transportation Expert and Industrial Engineer to the Reading Railroad in Philadelphia from 1967-1968. He then went on to serve as a Management Consultant to A.T. Kearney, Inc. in Chicago from 1968-1973, and later as a Manager Industrial Engineering with Seatrain Steamship Lines in Weehawken, N.J.

In 1974, Marino joined the United States Railway Association (USRA) where, as Chief of Operations Planning, he assisted in the preparation of the Final System Plan for Conrail, which was presented to Congress in 1975 and implemented in 1976.

In 1976, Marino left the USRA to acquire the Hillsdale County Railway and the Lenawee County Railroad in Michigan. He consolidated these short line railroads and began an era of profitability for the railroads and the communities that they served. That year, he co-founded Transportation Management Services (TMS), Inc., a company that is still in existence today in the Washington, D.C. area. TMS provides marketing, business development and strategic planning services for government agencies, shippers, equipment suppliers and transportation companies with emphasis on rail and public transportation.

In 1986, Marino co-founded RailAmerica with the formation of the Huron & Eastern Railway Co. Subsequent acquisitions included railroads in Canada, Australia and Chile. Marino successfully led the company through its formative years in the roles of President and Chief Operating Officer and served the Board of Directors as Vice Chairman, Emeritus. He enjoyed a proud moment on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange when the company was listed on the NYSE in 1997. Genesee & Wyoming acquired RailAmerica in 2012; as a result of the $1.39 billion transaction G&W is the world’s largest operator of regional and short line railroads.

Marino acquired and operated the Historic Gettysburg Railway from 1997-2001, fulfilling his desire to serve the historic community. He served as Vice President Strategic Planning for Patriot Rail, LLC., an owner and operator of 13 regional and short line freight railroads in the U.S., from 2006-2012. He also served as a Director of Las Vegas Railway Express Inc. from 2008-2012.

Marino most recently acted as a Senior Strategic Advisor to Continental Rail Corp., a short line consolidator of freight rail and rail related properties. He served as a Director of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, and as an appointed member of the Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council of the Surface Transportation Board. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Institute of Transportation Engineers and National Defense Transportation Association.

Marino is survived by his brother, Gary Marino, his sister Carolee Marino-Devine, his wife Patricia, a son, three daughters and ten grandchildren.

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