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Railway Age Announces 2021 ‘Fast Trackers’ 20 Under 40 Honorees

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor

Railway Age is honoring 20 “Fast Trackers” from a pool of more than 100 strong nominations for this year’s 20 Under 40 awards program.

Established in 2016, the annual awards are presented to railroaders under the age of 40 in the United States, Canada and/or Mexico for making an impact in their respective fields or within their company.

“Our sixth-annual awards program honorees represent the ‘best of the best’ and the continued strength of our industry—from the freight and passenger railroads to the supply and consultant/contractor communities,” Railway Age Publisher Jonathan Chalon said. “We are proud to showcase them in the February 2021 issue of Railway Age.”

For the 2021 awards program, Railway Age increased the number of honorees from 10 to 20, due to a growing number of entries and top candidates. Candidates had to be under the age of 40 as of Jan. 1, 2021.

“Choosing winners was difficult,” said Michigan State Center for Railway Research & Education Director Nick Little, who was program judge. “The nominations showed breadth of knowledge, experience and achievement coupled with application, commitment and agility in their field of expertise, yet also giving back to both the industry and society.

“There’s clearly a new paradigm emerging in the industry based on reading the nominations—the application of big data, analytics, machine learning, drones, LiDAR, to name but a few technologies enabling improved management of our complex business. Safety remains paramount and clearly top-of-mind. Similarly, the ability to value our people, build strong and lasting relationships with suppliers and customers remain vital. Now and going forward, we’ll be able to use technology to do this faster, better and reliably with greater accuracy, better decision-making and predictability.”

Honorees (in alphabetical order):

• Erin Batt, Assistant Vice President and Chief Safety Officer, Union Pacific

• James Brown, Assistant Plant Superintendent, CSX

• Tomeka Bryant, Manager of Marketing and Sales, New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (Honorable Mention, 2020)

• Ricardo Chacon, AVP, Yield Management, Patriot Rail and Ports (Honorable Mention, 2020)

• Daniel Delgado, Engineer-Special Projects, MTA Metro-North Railroad

• Rachelle P. Glazier, Chief Mechanical Officer-Car, CN

• Michelle Hartmann-Grippin, Assistant Project Manager, Bergmann (Honorable Mention, 2020)

• Stephen Patrick Hayne, Manager, Marketing and Pricing, Ontario Northland

• Kaitlyn Hrdlicka, System Architect, Wabtec Corp.

• Jennifer E. C. Judge, Railroad Track Engineer, HNTB

• Michael L. Kraft, Principal Engineer, Amtrak

• Brian Lane, Director of Safety, Railroad Construction Company, Inc.

• Danielle Libring, Senior Project Manager, RailPros

Eddie Lott, Manager Crew Resources, Kansas City Southern

• Brian McClain, Assistant Vice President of Regional Operations, Genesee & Wyoming Railroad Services, Inc.

• Frank Evan Palazzolo, Trainmaster, Conrail

• Rachael Peterson, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, Watco

• Stephanie Roediger, National Account Manager, Canadian Pacific

• Herbert Smith, Regional Executive Director, Government Relations, Norfolk Southern

• Cara Weidling, Terminal Superintendent II, BNSF

Honorable Mention:

• Muneeb Abbas, Project Coordinator, MTA Long Island Rail Road

• Jeff Bernstein, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, New Jersey Transit

• Mohit Bhat, Assistant Vice-President—Technology Strategy, Architecture, Platform & Data Engineering, Data & Analytics, CN

• Andrea Dobbelmann, CFO, Progressive Rail, Inc. (Honorable Mention, 2020)

• Terry L. Hartwig, Terminal Superintendent, The Belt Railway Company of Chicago

• Dan Lang, Manager Systems Assurance, Hatch LTK

• Emilia Marceta, Project Manager (A), Signals & Communications, Network Infrastructure, Metrolinx/GO Transit (Honorable Mention, 2017)

• Martin Ritter, CEO, Stadler US, Inc. (Honorable Mention, 2019, 2020)

• Brian Steadman, AVP Capital Investment Accounting, Kansas City Southern

• Shailesh Yerram, Managing Director BI Analytics & Cloud COE, Canadian Pacific

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