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People News: Alstom, ARH, ARRC, GCRTA, Phoenix Valley Metro, RailState, Uber Freight

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
(Photograph Courtesy of BNSF)

(Photograph Courtesy of BNSF)

Alstom appoints a new Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs, Americas. Also, two Anacostia Rail Holdings (ARH) executives complete post-graduate degree programs; Alaska Railroad (ARRC) names a Director of External Affairs; Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) renews the contract of its CEO/General Manager; Valley Metro of Phoenix, Ariz., welcomes a new Chief Maintenance Officer; real-time network visibility provider RailState hires a Solutions Architect; and logistics firm Uber Freight appoints a former Norfolk Southern executive as Head of Intermodal.


Dani Simons

Alstom has named Dani Simons Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs, Americas. Based out of the company’s New York office, she is overseeing all aspects of communication and public affairs work across the United States, Canada and Latin America. Simons was most recently Director of the Office of Public Affairs and Assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. She has also served as Director of Strategic Communications for NYCDOT; part of the launch team for Citi Bike, and then Head of Communications for its parent company, Motivate; and Global Head of Public Partnerships at Waze.

“Dani is a corporate affairs leader with a strong track record of achievement, and I am excited to welcome her to my leadership team,” said Michael Keroullé, President of Alstom Americas. “I am confident she will help us drive a meaningful outreach strategy to support our commitment to the region and serve our growing customer base.”


ARH has announced that two of its executives have completed post-graduate degree programs, taking advantage of the short line holding company’s education assistance program. They are:

Stephane Perri
  • Pacific Harbor Line (PHL) Vice President Stephane Perri, who completed the Management Executive Education Program at UCLA Anderson School on Feb. 6, 2023. PHL President Otis Cliatt II also graduated from the program in 2015 and was appointed to the Board of Trustees of Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in 2000. Perri joined the railroad in April 2000 as Assistant Locomotive Engineer, later qualifying as Locomotive Engineer. In 2005, he transitioned to management as Assistant Trainmaster, and worked his way up to Senior Director of Transportation in 2016 and to General Superintendent in 2018. Along the way, he completed Michigan State University’s Railway Management program. Perri is a native of Paris, France, where he received his bachelor’s degree in general economics studies from the University of La Sorbonne.
Kimia Khatami
  • ARH Senior Director of Business Development Kimia Khatami, who completed the University of Denver Executive Master of Science Degree in Transportation Management on June 9, 2023. Khatami joined PHL in 2015 as Sales and Customer Service Manager, following three years of service at Union Pacific. She later became Director of Sales and Customer Service, and in 2021 was elevated to her current role. Khatami is a native of the San Francisco Bay area and received her bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University.

In other ARH news, PHL on May 4 showcased its new EMD® Joule battery-electric locomotive from Progress Rail at a graduation ceremony for its latest class of engineers.


Meghan Clemens

Meghan Clemens on Aug. 7 will become Director of External Affairs for ARRC, succeeding Christy Terry, who has been promoted to Vice President of Real Estate.  

Clemens joined the railroad in 2013 as Marketing and Communications Manager, a role that involved strategic marketing, customer engagement and media relations for passenger services. In her new position, she will oversee ARRC’s direct engagement and effective communication with Alaska’s rail-belt communities, the public and other stakeholders. 

“We are thrilled Meghan agreed to this new role at the railroad,” President and CEO Bill O’Leary said. “Her extensive experience in marketing and communications matched with her excellent customer services skills and outstanding work performance makes her the logical choice for Director of External Affairs. Her already strong relationships and well-developed communication channels across the state will ensure a smooth transition into her new position.”

Earlier this month, ARRC celebrated 100 years of service and reported other appointments and promotions throughout the organization.


India L. Birdsong Terry

The GCRTA Board on July 25 unanimously approved a new contract for GCRTA CEO and General Manager India L. Birdsong Terry. She has led the agency since Sept. 16, 2019, and will continue to oversee more than 2,100 employees through Dec. 31, 2027.

“I am delighted to continue serving the GCRTA and Greater Cleveland, as our agency continues to set the bar regarding innovative mobility solutions and community connections,” Birdsong Terry said. “Service reliability and robust civic partnerships will remain crucial cornerstones of our success, in support of enhanced customer travel experience. I sincerely appreciate the support of our Board of Trustees, internal team and community partners, as we continue to strengthen our brand as a mobility pacesetter in the region.”

“Mrs. Terry is the leader who is taking this organization to new heights,” said GCRTA Board President Charles P. Lucas, Pastor Emeritus of St. James AME Church. “She has the vision and skills that establish the best transit priorities for this community, enhance RTA’s strengths, and create solutions to improve access and service. Our region is experiencing a renaissance and I am delighted to have an experienced CEO who’s going to guide our public transit system into that future.”

“After a lengthy and thorough study of organizations similar to GCRTA nationwide, the GCRTA Board of Trustees is very pleased to have reached an agreement that keeps Mrs. Terry with GCRTA as our General Manger and Chief Executive Officer,” said David E. Weiss, GCRTA Board Trustee and Compensation Committee Chair, and Mayor of Shaker Heights. “Her vision, combined with extensive industry knowledge, ability to attract funding and dedication make her the perfect choice to lead GCRTA in becoming one of the premier public transportation agencies nationally.”

Earlier this month, GCRTA selected Siemens Mobility to supply 24 S200 light rail vehicles to replace its Red Line fleet, which runs from East Cleveland, Ohio, to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The contract includes an option for up to 36 more vehicles to replace the Blue and Green line fleets.

Valley Metro

Darren Curry

Darren Curry is joining Valley Metro as Chief Maintenance Officer, responsible for planning, developing and directing all aspects of the agency’s Maintenance Division. This includes long- and short-range maintenance operations of all Valley Metro assets, including fleet, operations and maintenance facilities, stations, transit centers, park-and-rides, railway tracks, signals, communications, and traction power.

With more more than 36 years of experience in maintenance and transit, Curry worked most recently as Assistant Executive Director of Transit Assets and was responsible for leading the Metro Transit Assets Team at Metro in St. Louis, Mo. He was responsible for the maintenance of fleet, operating and passenger facilities, bridges, tunnels, light rail right-of-way and rail systems, and all technical support functions.

“Darren has a wealth of knowledge and experience in maintaining and managing public transit assets,” said Jessica Mefford-Miller, who took over leadership of the agency in April 2022. “I am so pleased to have him join our team of knowledgeable and talented experts taking Valley Metro to a new level of service.”

Valley Metro in May appointed Melissa Boyles as Chief of Staff and Mike Pal as Chief Transportation Officer. 


Glen Doiron

Glen Doiron has joined Quincy, Mass-based RailState’s Customer team as Solutions Architect to support product adoption and development. After eight years at ICL, a logistics technology provider, Doiron recently founded GeoPrl Insights Corp., a Kelowna, B.C.-based company focused on providing contract and consulting services in management, business development, project/product management, logistics, and SaaS.

“We are thrilled to have Glen join RailState as we work to help our customers get the most value from RailState’s unbiased, real-time rail network data,” said John Schmitter, RailState’s Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer. “Glen is a problem-solver and understands the challenges our customers face because he’s been in their shoes. His passion for helping customers is boundless and we couldn’t be happier to have Glen join our team.”

“It’s rare to find someone with deep domain expertise and an extraordinary breadth of knowledge,” said Jamie Heller, RailState Co-founder and CEO. “Glen has decades of experience working on many sides of the logistics industry. Having first-hand knowledge of developing software tools for shippers and using such tools as a shipper himself is invaluable to our team as we bring our new solution to the market.”

In related news, Dean Wise in March joined RailState’s Advisory Board.

Uber Freight

D’Andrae Larry

Uber Freight announced that D’Andrae Larry is Head of Intermodal, helping customers navigate, plan and execute intermodal shipping. He joins the company from Norfolk Southern, where he led the Class I’s freight strategy within both the Automotive and Intermodal networks.

Managing Uber Freight’s intermodal business, which the company said moved 180,000 containers and 360,000 drays last year, Larry will be responsible for developing intermodal business strategies, building strategic railroad and commercial relationships, and leading the team.

“We’re thrilled to have D’Andrae join our leadership team to help drive the acceleration of our intermodal unit and deliver even more value for our shippers,” said Lior Ron, CEO of Uber Freight. “Intermodal is a core part of our business and provides a key strategic advantage for our shipping partners, from lowering their carbon footprint to remaining agile in the face of volatility. A proven leader like D’Andrae is paramount for our team and the marketplace alike as the space continues to evolve and grow.”

“Shippers are at an inflection point,” Larry said. “The market desires optionality across modes, smart innovation that drives resiliency and efficiency, and a trusted logistics partner they can grow with. Uber Freight is in a unique position to be able to put all those puzzle pieces together, and I’m excited to join the team to help drive transformational growth for the business, our shippers and their end-customers. Intermodal is the perfect vehicle for achieving it all.”

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