• News

People News: RailState, New Orleans RTA, UP

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
Adam Nori (left) and Nick Borders (right) have joined RailState’s sales and business development team.

Adam Nori (left) and Nick Borders (right) have joined RailState’s sales and business development team.

Adam Nori and Nick Borders have joined RailState’s sales and business development team. Also, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) appoints Lona Edwards Hankins as permanent CEO; and Union Pacific (UP) Executive Vice President and CFO Jennifer Hamann is named a recipient of The Manufacturing Institute’s 2023 Women MAKE Awards.


RailState, a Quincy, Mass.-based provider of real-time network visibility, announced March 2 that rail industry veterans Adam Nori and Nick Borders have joined the company’s sales and business development team to “scale product adoption across North America.”

“One of our greatest strengths is the deep domain expertise of our team,” said RailState Co-Founder and CEO Jamie Heller. “Adam and Nick have decades of combined experience serving freight rail shippers across North America. Their industry insights and connections will be crucial as RailState grows and delivers on our mission to bring network visibility and transparency to this industry.”

Nori joins RailState with nearly 20 years of rail experience. He is currently the owner of Pacific Alpine Rail Advisors, a Calgary-based rail-focused consulting firm where he supports rail customers with fleet management, railcar procurement, and business development. Before creating Pacific Alpine Rail Advisors, Nori held key leadership roles with Canadian Pacific (CP), Suncor, TrinityRail, and Standard Rail Corporation.

“Throughout my time in the rail industry, I’ve seen countless companies struggle with effectively managing their rail operations because of missing or outdated data and a lack of transparency,” Nori said. “RailState’s product will transform the ability of companies to get the most out of rail by optimizing their logistics. I could not pass up the opportunity to be part of such an exciting innovation.”

Borders brings more than a decade of experience in the rail industry and is the owner of Sequoia Rail, LLC, a rail transportation brokerage and consulting firm. He previously served as a business development manager at Standard Rail Corporation, following engagements at Rocky Mountain Transportation Services and Progressive Fuels Limited.

“I have a passion for leveraging the best technology at our disposal to make better decisions and improve this industry that we love and rely on,” Borders said. “In my opinion John Schmitter, Jamie Heller and their team have the most revolutionary value proposition our industry has seen in the last decade.”

“We are delighted to have Adam and Nick join RailState as we see increased demand from companies seeking unbiased, real-time rail network data to help them make critical decisions about their supply chains,” said RailState Co-Founder nd COO John Schmitter. “Their experience will be a tremendous asset to RailState as we continue to provide the broadest network visibility and real-time insights to our customers.”

New Orleans RTA

The New Orleans RTA on March 3 announced the appointment of Lona Edwards Hankins as its permanent CEO. Hankins has served as interim CEO since December 2022, following the retirement of Alex Z. Wiggins.

“I am humbled to be selected by the Board of Commissioners to steward the RTA in this next and important phase of the agency’s history,” said Hankins. “Public transit is an important lifeline for our region’s families, workforce, and youth.  It is the pathway to economic mobility for families and the foundation of job growth and economic development in our region. I am eager to partner with the community to build the efficient, reliable, and equitable transit system our riders so richly deserve.”

The announcement, RTA says, comes after the Board of Commissioners voted in support of the resolution to appoint the agency’s permanent CEO at the March 3 board meeting.

Hankins joined the RTA in 2019 as the agency’s Chief of Infrastructure and Long-Term Planning. In that position, she oversaw the development and execution of capital assets and the implementation of infrastructure improvement projects across all modes of RTA’s transit operations and administration. In her more than 30 years of work experience in the industrial and public sector, Hankins notably spearheaded the rebuilding of New Orleans schools during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Previously serving as the Director of Major Capital Projects for the Recovery School District (RSD), she completed more than $2 billion in projects across 40 school campuses for children of New Orleans.

“The RTA Board of Commissioners is pleased to select Lona Edwards Hankins as the next permanent CEO,” said Mark Raymond, Jr.  “Since joining the RTA in 2019, Lona has demonstrated time and time again her commitment to our community, her integrity and her ability to bring in over $64 million in competitive federal funding to build a modern, rider-centered transit system.”

“Lona has proven her dedication and passion for the job at hand,” said Dr. Eric Kalivoda, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) Secretary. “Our infrastructure is changing to meet the needs of the community, and a dynamic vision of public transportation’s impact is essential in making sure all residents can benefit.”

“Our goal when selecting the next leader of RTA was not only to ensure we continue our transformative progress in the right direction but also to ensure they represent our transit ridership and the New Orleans community as a whole,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “As interim CEO, Hankins exceptionally demonstrated her ability to be inclusive and forward thinking across all spectrums of our public transit system. She is well-equipped to permanently lead RTA and will be instrumental in ensuring a world-class transit system for all transit riders.”

The RTA is a subsidiary of the State of Louisiana and is governed by its Board of Commissioners which is composed of eight publicly appointed representatives.  The Board sets agency policy, oversees funding, and the expansion of public transportation in the region. Five representatives are appointed by the Mayor of New Orleans, and three representatives are appointed by the President of Jefferson Parish.


The Manufacturing Institute—the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers— has named UP’s Executive Vice President and CFO Jennifer Hamann a recipient of its 2023 Women MAKE Awards, “honoring women in science, technology, engineering and production careers who exemplify leadership and excellence,” the Class I announced March 6.

At UP, Hamann oversees all aspects of the railroad’s financial activities and represents the Class I across the industry. Throughout her 31-year career, she has held numerous leadership positions in Finance, Investor Relations, Marketing and Sales, and Workforce Resources.

According to UP, Hamann is known for “consistently seeking feedback and listening to her employees, then following up with action.” Department feedback, the railroad says, led to introducing a robust onboarding experience for new team members; implementing a Finance Customer Centricity Scorecard directly connecting key work to internal customers and UP’s strategy; and increasing the cadence of department staff meetings and town halls. As a recently appointed CFO during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamann increased shareholder interaction and transparency, building trust and confidence.

In 2022, Hamann served as the company champion for the United Way of the Midlands campaign, raising more than $900,000 for the organization. She also spearheaded UP’s “Finance Serves Day,” a community service initiative where Finance employees serve alongside Hamann in United Way volunteering events. She is a long-standing member, executive sponsor and advocate for UP’s LEAD (Lead, Educate, Achieve, Develop) women’s initiative.

Tags: , , , , ,