People News: NYA, NCTD, HNTB, HDR

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Pictured, left to right: Marlon Taylor, New York & Atlantic Railway (NYA Photograph); Tom Tulley, North County Transit District (NCTD Photograph); Peter Schwartz, HNTB (HNTB Photograph); Joy Riley, HNTB (HNTB Photograph); and Erin Slayton, HDR (HDR Photograph)

Pictured, left to right: Marlon Taylor, New York & Atlantic Railway (NYA Photograph); Tom Tulley, North County Transit District (NCTD Photograph); Peter Schwartz, HNTB (HNTB Photograph); Joy Riley, HNTB (HNTB Photograph); and Erin Slayton, HDR (HDR Photograph)

Anacostia Rail Holdings (ARH) elevates Marlon Taylor to President of New York & Atlantic Railway (NYA). Also, California’s North County Transit District (NCTD) hires Tom Tulley as Chief Operations Officer of Rail; HNTB appoints Peter Schwartz as Railroad Development Practice Lead and Vice President, and announces that Senior Project Manager Joy Riley has been named WTS South Carolina Chapter’s Member of the Year; and HDR’s Transportation Program Management Services Director Erin Slayton has been elected to the Executive Committee of WTS International.


Marlon Taylor has been promoted to President of 270 route-mile NYA, a wholly owned subsidiary of ARH. He succeeds James Bonner, who has held the position since 2016. Following a “brief transitional period,” ARH said, Bonner will be joining New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway as President.

ARH owns and operates six railroads—NYA, Chicago South Shore & South Bend, Gulf Coast Switching, Louisville & Indiana, Northern Lines Railway, and Pacific Harbor Line (PHL)—on more than 600 miles of track throughout the U.S.; combined, they handle the equivalent of two million-plus carloads annually. 

In addition to Taylor’s responsibilities at NYA, he serves industry and community groups including the Safety & Operations Management Committee of the Association of American Railroads, as President of the Railroads of New York, and as a member of the Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Leadership Council.

Taylor began his railroading career in 1999 as a conductor at PHL, which recently hosted officials of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, Southern California ports, and labor organizations to discuss “how supply chain operations at North America’s largest combined port complex can further strengthen its support of safe, efficient and green rail transport.” He rose through the ranks at PHL as locomotive engineer, train dispatcher, trainmaster, transportation manager, and director of operations. In early 2016, he was named NYA’s Assistant Vice President.

“Marlon has become an integral part of the NYA team since he joined the railroad in 2016,” said B.A. (Bruce) Lieberman, ARH Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “We could not have had a better candidate to continue building on the success of NYA. The railroad is in its best-ever financial and physical condition, and it fields a team of unmatched professional railroaders. We are grateful to James for his leadership and dedication, and we look forward to a continued strong relationship with him.”

“Over the past eight years with NYA, I have enjoyed developing solutions that help our customers thrive, while serving our diverse community and workforce and managing our safe, efficient, and green operations,” said Marlon Taylor. “Our success has been achieved with the close cooperation of our host, the Long Island Rail Road. It is the busiest commuter railroad in North America, and we are committed to maintaining our great relationship with this premier agency.”


(NCTD Photograph)

Tom Tulley has been named Chief Operations Officer of Rail at NCTD, responsible for rail operations and maintenance programs for the COASTER Commuter Rail and SPRINTER Hybrid Rail services.

Most recently, he served as Managing Director/Country Manager for Stadler Services in the United States and Canada. In this role, he directed the corporate effort for all current and future Stadler U.S. and Canada properties to ensure all federal, state, and local regulatory requirements were met. Prior to joining Stadler, Tulley was Director of Regulatory Compliance and Rail Development with FirstGroup, where his work included serving as an international rail transportation executive, consultant and advisor for companies in Canada, Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, and Switzerland. One of the key projects was developing a baseline operational plan for the Honolulu Area Rapid Transit (HART) rail line in Hawaii, whose initial operating segment opened last year.

Tulley has also held leadership positions with Forth Worth Transportation Authority (Trinity Metro) working on the TEXRail and Trinity Railway Express commuter railroads, and has 14 years of experience with the Federal Railroad Administration.

“His combination of regulatory and direct operations experience will be a tremendous asset to NCTD as the agency continues to transition to direct COASTER and SPRINTER operations and push forward with a zero-emission rail fleet,” the agency reported.

“I have seen firsthand the incredible work that Tom has accomplished on several critical rail projects,” said Shawn Donaghy, who became CEO of NCTD on March 1. “This is a huge win for our agency not only to have such an accomplished rail professional, but also to have a world-class leader who will help develop the next phase of The District and our employees.”

In other NCTD news, Mary Dover has been appointed as Chief of Staff, Suheil Rodriguez as Director of Administration, and Chris G. Carrillo as Security Director.


(William C. Vantuono Photograph)

Peter Schwartz has joined HNTB as Railroad Development Practice Lead and Vice President, supporting the firm’s Transit and Rail Practice. He will serve as a subject matter expert to the firm’s railroad clients on the expansion of intercity passenger rail service.

Schwartz was most recently Senior Advisor at the Surface Transportation Board, where he led efforts around strategy and analysis of intercity passenger rail operating performance. Prior to that, he spent more than 20 years at the Federal Railroad Administration, where he led the agency’s implementation of the Corridor Identification and Development Program, creating a first-of-its-kind strategic and technical framework for developing intercity passenger rail service across the United States. Schwartz also spent part of his early career working for Amtrak as a Senior Planning Officer, leading teams responsible for detailed service planning for intercity passenger rail operations, and as a rail transportation consultant in the United Kingdom.

“Peter’s credentials and intimate understanding of both the policy side and technical knowledge of rail transportation will bring extraordinary value as we work with our clients to advance projects and initiatives that help modernize our national rail networks and operations,” said Ronnie Hakim, HNTB’s National Transit and Rail Market Sector Leader and Senior Vice President, as well as one of Railway Age’s Women in Rail honorees for 2020. “His ability to build consensus on the solutions and innovations needed will help our industry seize on the historic opportunity we have to enhance rail transportation across the United States, and particularly intercity passenger rail service.”

Also, HNTB’s Joy Riley, Senior Project Manager leading the strategic direction and delivery of large-scale infrastructure programs across the Carolinas, has received the 2024 Member of the Year award from the WTS South Carolina Chapter. This award recognizes an individual who has shown commitment to furthering the goals and growth of WTS, while enhancing its reputation within the transportation industry.

Since the South Carolina Chapter’s inception in 2018, Riley has played an active role planning, recruiting and delivering programs for it. As President from 2022 to 2023, chapter membership grew 30%, with increases in corporate, public and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/Small Business Enterprise participation and sponsorships.

“Joy’s dedication to cultivating relationships, spearheading development initiatives and upholding operational excellence has been instrumental in driving industry engagement and fostering the overall success of the chapter,” said Shannon Meder, HNTB’s South Carolina Practice Lead and Vice President. “Her commitment to advancing women within the transportation industry and our organization is truly remarkable.”

Separately, Dejah Singh recently joined HNTB as Fleet and Facilities Project Manager.


(WTS International Image)

Erin Slayton has been elected to the Executive Committee of WTS International. Her initial two-year term as Vice Chair will be followed by two years as Chair and then two years serving as Past Chair of the 9,000-member organization committed to furthering women in transportation. Jannet Walker-Ford, one of Railway Age’s 2023 Women in Rail honorees, is the current WTS International Chair.

Slayton is HDR’s Transportation Program Management Services Director and has been an active participant with WTS for much of her 20-year career. Based in South Carolina, she helped charter the state chapter in 2019 after moving to the area.

“I’m excited and humbled by this incredible honor,” Slayton said. “WTS does vital work to promote the role of women in transportation and I know it’s been a big part of my own journey. I’m looking forward to supporting our 69 chapters in their day-to-day work. I’m still an active part of my chapter in South Carolina, through which I’ve met so many amazing women, and I’m excited to help expand and improve the opportunities for others.”

Across North America, more than 300 HDR employees participate regularly in WTS chapters, including more than 30 who serve as chapter officers, board members or committee leaders. Slayton will be the fourth leader from HDR to serve as Chair of WTS International.

“HDR is proud to support WTS because it’s clear that the success of the next generation of transportation leadership depends upon building a diverse and inclusive workforce,” HDR Transportation President Tom McLaughlin said. “Erin has already been a great ambassador for WTS and all it stands for, and this role will only further her influence and impact. I can’t wait to see all that she accomplishes over the next six years.”

In related developments, HDR has promoted New England Transportation Manager Tony Gouveia to a dual role as Northeast Transit Leader, adding to his current position, and Pat Porzillo to Transit Engineering Director.

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