Railway Age 2020 Readers’ Most Influential Leaders

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

Railway Age is pleased to present the results of its first annual Readers’ Most Influential Leaders poll. We asked subscribers, through an online poll, to nominate active (non-retired) people from all areas of the North American railway industry they believe are the most influential. Here are highlights of the top 10; full profiles will appear in the May issue of Railway Age.

Ronald L. Batory, Federal Railroad Administrator

Ron Batory, the 14th FRA Administrator, is widely respected and highly regarded in the railroad industry. Batory began his railroad career in 1971 working as a traveling Freight Car Accounting Auditor for the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton (DT&I) Railroad. In 2004, Batory became President & Chief Operating Officer of Conrail, the eighth largest freight railroad in America, until his retirement in April 2017.

Jamie Boychuk, Executive Vice President Operations, CSX

In 23 years as a railroader, Boychuk has risen from a conductor in Western Canada to a key leader of CSX’s operational transformation that is setting a new standard for rail transportation efficiency in the eastern U.S. Boychuk joined CSX in 2017 as an experienced executive of the transformation team and quickly demonstrated a combination of extensive operations knowledge and hands-on leadership that led to his appointment as Executive Vice President Operations in 2019.

John Byrne, Vice Chairman, Committee on Tank Cars, Railway Supply Institute

An expert on railcar design and regulatory compliance, John Byrne is helping lead the way for safer and more efficient tank car manufacturing. He’s successfully led and represented RSI members to deal with key issues that would have had a significant negative impact on the railway supplier community. Byrne recently retired from GE Capital after nearly 38 years, most recently as Manager, Regulatory Compliance and Quality.

Wes Edens, Chairman and Founder, Fortress Investment Group

Wes Edens is the brainchild and catalyst for Brightline, the first new major private passenger intercity railroad in the U.S. in more than a century. Brightline is currently in operations in South Florida, under construction to Orlando, and expanding operations to serve Las Vegas and Southern California.

Warren Erdman, Executive Vice President Administration and Corporate Affairs, Kansas City Southern

Warren Erdman leads a team of 23, spanning three different disciplines of Public Relations and Corporate Affairs, Facilities and Security/Police, and Special Services. His career at Kansas City Southern has been filled with much success as he navigated uncharted waters, as a leader at a U.S.-based railroad with holdings in multiple countries.

John Fenton, CEO, Patriot Rail & Ports

Prior to his current role, John Fenton served as CEO of Metrolink, which operates 165 trains in the high-density greater Los Angeles area, carrying more than 40,000 passengers daily. It was during his time at Metrolink that Fenton played a pivotal role in leading the national implementation of the first Positive Train Control (PTC) system mandated by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

KellyAnne Gallagher, Founding Executive Director, Commuter Rail Coalition

KellyAnne Gallagher is a public transportation policy professional and strategic advisor who, in 2019, became the Founding Executive Director of the Commuter Rail Coalition, a trade association providing a singular focus on the benefits and needs of U.S. commuter railroads. She served on the Federal Railroad Administration Rail Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) for 14 years, is a member of the International Union of Railways (UIC) High Speed and Regional Rail committees and served as Vice Chair of two UIC World Congresses on High-Speed Rail.

Nathan Loftice, Director Environmental Planning, Permitting and Sustainability, BNSF

Nathan Loftice has had a track record of success in environmental and sustainable business management. He was one of BNSF’s Employee of the Year honorees in 2018 for his sustainability efforts to help manage the environmental impacts of waste cleanup and the social and safety aspects of homeless populations.

Tracy Miller, Senior Vice President Operations Southern and Eastern Regions, Canadian Pacific

With 25 years of Class I operations experience, Tracy Miller started at CP as Vice President of Corporate Risk – U.S. in March 2019; earned the Vice President of Operations – Southern Region title in July 2019; and has been Senior Vice President of Operations Southern & Eastern Region since September 2019.

Albert Neupaver, Executive Chairman, Wabtec Board of Directors

Al Neupaver joined Wabtec on Feb. 1, 2006 as President and CEO, and a member of the company’s Board of Directors. He has led Wabtec through its greatest growth period, to presently $11 billion and an NYSE Fortune 500 corporation. Mergers and acquisitions during Neupaver’s  time include Standard Car Truck (2008), Faively Transportation (2016) and GE Transportation (2019).

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