People News: AITX, Metrolink, Pandrol, R&N, RailState, Sound Transit, WSP USAWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Executive changes have been announced at railcar service provider AITX; Southern California regional/commuter railroad Metrolink; rail infrastructure firm Pandrol; Reading & Northern Railroad (R&N); real-time network visibility provider RailState; Seattle’s Sound Transit; and consultancy WSP USA.
Robert Gibson has joined AITX as the new Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Manager. With more than 20 years of experience overseeing the well-being of industrial workers across the railcar repair, steel fabrication, mining and heavy construction sectors, Gibson served most recently as EHS Manager for Cathcart Rail (formerly Appalachian Railcar Services). He has also held the positions of Safety Director for Raleigh Mine and Industrial Supply and West Virginia Steel, where he developed all OSHA-required health and safety programs and environmental requirements and reporting; and Assistant Safety Director at TERRADON Corporation, where he managed all employee onboarding and the Qualified Loss Management Program.
“Making employee health and safety a company-wide priority starts with investing in the best people,” AITX Senior Vice President Railcar Services John Ward said. “We are proud to welcome Robert to our growing repair services family. Robert is already bringing the energy, ideas and passion we have come to expect from our team of EHS experts. We look forward to continuing to learn, improve and put employee safety above all else.”
Metrolink has named Elisa Cunningham and Lisa Bahr as Chief Technology Officer and Chief Customer Experience Officer, respectively.
Cunningham is responsible for overseeing the regional/commuter railroad’s digital strategy and directing the information technology, fare collections and Positive Train Control (PTC) systems divisions. She has more than 30 years of technology experience across various industries, including aerospace and defense, gas and utilities, state and local government, and public transit.
Cunningham served previously as Assistant Vice President of Technology at Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), where she implemented an agency-wide enterprise asset management program, data science/intelligence, governance models, and web/mobile product development to enhance business operations and customer strategies. She has also held leadership roles for the county of Riverside, Calif.; city of Dallas, Tex.; L3Harris; and EDS.
Bahr is responsible for leading Metrolink’s customer relations, customer and market insights, communications, public relations, marketing, and social media teams, along with the railroad’s corporate partner program. Most recently, she worked for Cubic Transportation Systems as Global Director of Marketing, Communications and Customer Experience, leading the company’s strategic initiatives in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.
“We have ambitious plans to transform Metrolink into the backbone of the region’s transportation system—one that enables people to connect to opportunity, family and fun across all six counties,” Metrolink CEO Darren Kettle said. “Achieving our vision as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a bright future will require a strong leadership team that brings both technological innovation and a focus on our customers. Elisa and Lisa bring extensive experience in both these areas, and together their talents—along with those of the entire Metrolink team—will ensure our agency is prepared to meet the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”
Nicolas Groult has been appointed CEO of Pandrol and a member of the Executive Committee at parent company Groupe Delachaux. He has more than 25 years of experience working for international companies, many in the industrial sector. Groult spent the past 10 years at Parker Meggitt Group, holding several senior roles, including Senior Vice President and General Manager of Power & Sensing. He has also worked for Johnson Controls.
“I am delighted to welcome Nicolas to the business to lead the growth and success of Pandrol as a leading rail infrastructure provider that maximizes railway availability, safety and sustainable lifetime value,” Groupe Delachaux CEO Guy Talbourdet said. “His previous experience will bring a great deal of insight into the business and I have no doubt that under his leadership the business will remain a leader in its fields of expertise.”
“Pandrol has a rich history and heritage, coupled with an exciting potential for the future,” Groult said. “I am excited to take on this leadership position, working alongside a very talented workforce, who are the very best in the industry.”
R&N, Railway Age’s four-time Regional Railroad of the Year, has promoted James Raffa to Senior Vice President-Petrochemicals and Minerals, and named Rian Nemeroff as Senior Vice President-Consumer Products.
Since rejoining R&N in 2021, Raffa has been “instrumental in developing a Marcellus Shale transload terminal in Tunkhannock,” according to the 400-mile regional, which serves 70-plus customers in nine eastern Pennsylvania counties (Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Northumberland, Schuylkill, and Wyoming). “After a successful first year that saw R&N handle over 2,000 carloads of frac sand, R&N is poised to more than double that volume in 2023. As that business has taken off, Raffa has taken responsibility for the rest of the petrochemical and mineral business. All told, this business segment handles over 10,000 carloads a year and includes one of R&N’s fastest growing markets.”
Over the past seven years, Nemeroff has successfully built R&N’s forest products business into the company’s largest group with more 10,000 carloads a year, according to the regional. In his new position, Nemeroff will also handle all food and agriculture products. His business group will cover more than 14,000 carloads a year.
William Clark remains Senior Vice President-Coal. R&N, long-known as “the Road of Anthracite,” said that Clark has been instrumental in expanding the franchise, which in 2023 is poised to handle more than 1,000,000 tons of anthracite coal—a first.
R&N also named Matt Johnson to the new position of Vice President-Government Affairs. An 18-year R&N veteran, he has not only served as head of the R&N police force, but also has managed real estate and handled community affairs.
Dean Wise has joined the Advisory Board at Quincy, Mass-based RailState. Wise is the founder of Dean Wise LLC, a strategic advisory firm serving the transportation, logistics, infrastructure and geospatial sectors. He is currently on the Boards of the University of Denver Transportation and Supply Chain Institute, American Geographical Society, and Precision Terminal Logistics.
Previously, Wise was BNSF’s Vice President of Network Strategy, overseeing the Class I railroad’s strategy process; transformational technology initiative; regional franchise development, including western Canada; short line network; public-private partnerships; rail line sales and dispositions; and development of right-of-way for non-freight-rail uses, including fiber optics, cell towers and electric transmission lines.
Wise has also served as President and Managing Partner at Norbridge, Inc., a Concord, Mass.-based management consulting firm focusing on the freight transport and logistics industry; and as Vice President at Mercer Management Consulting (now Oliver Wyman). Additionally, he held management positions at Conrail Corporation and Southern Pacific Transportation Company.
“In my 45 years working in transportation and logistics, quality data for effective planning has always been limited,” Wise said. “RailState adds a new dimension to supply chain visibility, providing unique insights for multiple stakeholders.”
Sound Transit has hired Maria Doucettperry as Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, effective March 27. She served most recently as Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX at the University of Nevada, Reno, overseeing compliance with federal and state mandates related to equal opportunity, nondiscrimination and gender equity. Doucettperry developed and implemented comprehensive policies, procedures, systems and training programs on equity, diversity and inclusion for university faculty, staff and students.
Previously, during her 20-year career as a military attorney, Doucettperry was involved in pursuing justice in criminal and civil cases, addressing complaints of discrimination, helping to resolve disability cases, and facilitating the Army’s environmental compliance and environmental justice initiatives in the Pacific region.
“Maria Doucettperry will play a key role holding Sound Transit accountable to advancing and elevating our values and commitments for diversity, equity and inclusion at the forefront of everything we do,” Sound Transit CEO Julie Timm said. “Becoming an anti-racist organization requires making a strong, proactive commitment to identifying and responding to the systemic racism that exists throughout our society. Maria’s deep experience and commitment will direct our work on this journey.”
WSP USA has named Joseph Black as the Transit and Rail business’ Senior Vice President and Lead for the Rail Operations and Service Planning team. He will be based in the firm’s Austin, Tex., office. With more than 30 years of experience in U.S. rail and bus operations, Black has worked for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Lone Star Rail and Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District. He served most recently as Senior Program Manager, Rail Operations and Integration at Jacobs.
“Joe is an excellent fit for this role with great experience as an operator, project lead and consultancy manager,” said Jannet Walker-Ford, WSP’s Senior Vice President and Transit and Rail National Market Leader. “He has an exceptional understanding of the challenges facing rail operations and has a history of goal-focused solution development for agencies and operators across the U.S.”