The Surface Transportation Board (STB) appoints a labor representative to the Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council (RSTAC). Also, a Norfolk Southern (NS) employee has been chosen to Chair the Southern Economic Development Council.
The STB on Aug. 23 reported that RSTAC has a new at-large member: Jeremy Ferguson, President of the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD). He began his career as a freight rail conductor and has nearly 30 years of railroad industry experience.
RSTAC, which was established by the ICC Termination Act of 1995, focuses on issues of importance to small shippers and small railroads, including railcar supply, rates, competition and procedures for addressing claims, according to the STB. It is charged with “developing private-sector mechanisms to identify, address and prevent obstacles to effective and efficient interstate transportation.” Members provide advice on regulatory, policy and legislative matters to the STB Chairman; Secretary of Transportation; Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
RSTAC’s 15 appointed members comprise senior officials representing large and small shippers, and large and small railroads; they are appointed by the STB Chairman. The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the five STB members serve as ex officio members.
“Since joining the Board, I have been a proponent of labor being represented on RSTAC, one of the Board’s most important advisory committees,” STB Chairman Martin J. Oberman said. “The Board and the members of RSTAC could have greatly benefitted from rail labor’s perspective in recent years as the Board and industry stakeholders have grappled with serious service issues across the freight rail network and the exacerbation of those problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A labor voice on the committee would have provided us with an essential perspective on the causes and potential solutions to the significant degradations of rail service and would have ensured that we understood, firsthand, the fundamental role working men and women have in the essential functioning of the rail network and the problems those workers have faced as a result of the pandemic and working conditions at their railroads. I am confident that Jeremy will fill that crucial role going forward. I am committed to giving rail labor a seat at the table, and I am delighted to appoint Jeremy to the at-large position on RSTAC.”
STB is currently seeking nominations for candidates to fill six vacancies on its Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee (RETAC). Nominations are due Sept. 15, 2023.
NS Senior Industrial Development Manager Brian Gwin has been elected 2024 Chair of the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC), which has members in 17 states in the American South, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
Upon election, Gwin stated: “I appreciate the trust and support of the SEDC Board of Directors in electing me to this important position, and I look forward to continuing and expanding upon the great work of the entire team in 2024. SEDC is embarking on an era of growth with almost 1,300 members from 700 economic development organizations in our 17-state region and will launch a major Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Initiative in 2024 to continue our leadership in the American South.”
Joining Gwin on the SEDC Executive Committee are newly elected 1st Vice Chair Jana Dyke of Albany-Dougherty (Georgia) Economic Development Commission; 2nd Vice Chair Tim Weston of Yates Construction; and Secretary-Treasurer Joe Hines of Timmons Group. Scott Poag, W&A Engineering, upon completion of his term as Chair, will assume the Immediate Past-Chairman position. Also, Chris Masingill of St. Tammany (Louisiana) Corporation; Courtland Robinson of Duke Energy; and Richard Blackwell of Agracel were elected to the Executive Committee to serve as Regional Directors, representing the Council’s three geographic sectors. All Executive Officers will assume respective roles on Jan. 1, 2024.
“Brian’s leadership position with SEDC aligns with our smart, sustainable growth objectives, and we look forward to our organizations’ mutual success in 2024 and beyond,” NS reported on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.