People News: ASLRRA, RTA, INRDWritten by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) Chairwoman Judy Petry retires from Farmrail. Also, Chicago’s Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) welcomes Kevin Bueso as new Chief Financial Officer (CFO); and Indiana Rail Road (INRD) promotes Austin Milton to Director, Safety and Training.
ASLRRA Chairwoman Judy Petry has retired as President and General Manager of Farmrail, effective, Dec. 1, 2022, the Association announced in its Feb. 1 edition of Views & News.
Petry will continue as a director of parent company Farmrail System, Inc.’s Board and will remain involved with the industry as a Director of the Alaska Railroad, ASLRRA said.
Petry came to Farmrail on the plains of western Oklahoma in 1987 as a transplant from a small town in the Louisiana Delta, initially as Farmrail’s Manager of Accounting Services. “Armed with a finance background and an instinctive curiosity,” ASLRRA says, she learned about the railroad business by “constantly questioning the numbers generated by its individual departments.”
“A combination of personal attributes–a big personality, ambition, commitment, imagination, creativity, organization, multi-tasking and communication skills, outreach, willingness to travel–made her a natural insider candidate to become Farmrail’s President and General Manager in 2013,” ASLRRA said.
Petry subsequently guided Farmrail through the remainder of a 35-year career in which the company expanded from its original 80 miles to the current 347 miles serving 12 counties primarily dependent on agricultural production and oilfield development. She was also instrumental in the joint venture creating upstate New York’s Finger Lakes Railway, serving as its controller since its inception in 1995.
“Judy has been a towering figure in the ASLRRA for the last 20 years,” said ASLRRA President Chuck Baker. “Beginning as a volunteer at our annual conventions, Judy played an active role on ASLRRA’s board since 2004 and served as its first female chair from 2016-2019. She was a mentor to many new leaders, and always pushed for the betterment of our Association and our industry, ‘doing collectively what none of us can do individually.’”
RTA announced Jan. 31 that it has welcomed Kevin Bueso as its new CFO/Senior Deputy Executive Director, Finance, Innovation, and Technology.
In his new role, Bueso will oversee the financial function and responsibilities of the RTA at an “unprecedented inflection point for the Northeastern Illinois transit system.” This includes a $3.58 billion regional transit operating budget across the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace, and a $5.72 billion 2023-2027 Regional Capital Program. He will also help guide the regional response to challenges accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, manage a group of highly skilled professionals, and provide counsel to leadership as the RTA and its partners “collaboratively develop and implement long-term funding solutions while supporting and advancing system-wide transformation and improvement,” the agency said in a release.
Bueso has spent his career in local government and finance, serving for the last three years as McHenry County’s CFO. He is experienced in strategic planning and has a background in change management, succession planning, oversight of IT functions, and capital and finance planning. Bueso has overseen the deployment of strategic plans to achieve accounting, compliance, and financial reporting targets. In addition, he is experienced in developing financial policies and operational procedures, which includes negotiating to gain internal and external stakeholders’ support.” This experience will be particularly crucial as the RTA begins implementation of its ‘Transit is the Answer’ regional transit strategic plan,” the agency said.
Bueso is also affiliated with a variety of professional associations and helped to create the initial Illinois Chapter of the Local Government Hispanic Network (LGHN). He was recently profiled in Government Finance Review and CFO Magazine for his accomplishments and leadership in his field. Born and raised in Honduras, Bueso is fluent in Spanish. He is a graduate of Roosevelt University, where he received both graduate and undergraduate degrees.
“Kevin’s accomplishments in local government administration and finance are extensive, and his commitment to public service is admirable,” said RTA Executive Director Leanne Redden. “His experience over the past 16 years position him to deliver the level of leadership our agency needs at this critical time.”
“I am thrilled to join the RTA at this critical time,” Bueso said. “The agency—and transit across the country—is facing financial challenges that call for innovation and strong leadership. I look forward to working with staff and stakeholders to advance transformative improvements to our system.”
INRD announced Feb. 1 that Austin Milton has been promoted Director, Safety and Training in conjunction with the railroad’s recently achieved safety milestone of hitting in December 2022 a one-year mark of zero reportable accidents or injuries.
“The hard work and dedication to safety of every employee made this achievement possible,” INRD said.
In his new role, Milton will lead the overall coordination of all safety operations, including the development, implementation and administration of safety programs, practices, procedures and training.
Milton joined INRD as a Train Operator in 2011 following several years with CSX as a Manager Trainee and Trainmaster. He was promoted to Trainmaster in 2013 and held multiple positions of increasing responsibility. In 2016, Milton was named Manager, Safety and Operating Practices.
According to the railroad, Milton will continue to work closely with leadership, supervisory personnel, and human resources to integrate safe work practices throughout the company. He will also continue his oversight of INRD jobsites, where he will perform workplace safety audits, manage safety-training programs and diligently promote safety accountability for all employees.
“Austin has been instrumental in advancing our ‘safe course, always’ mentality across the company,” said INRD President and CEO. “Promoting a safe and secure work environment is an important part of our culture, which is why it’s vital that we have committed individuals like Austin managing our safety and training programs.”