On Jan. 1, 2021, Katie Farmer will become the first female chief executive of a Class I railroad, BNSF. Farmer knows BNSF inside and out. She’s held leadership positions in every major function of the company, starting as a 22-year-old management trainee at predecessor Burlington Northern in 1992. At BNSF, she will oversee a 32,500-route-mile network that spans 28 states and three Canadian provinces for parent company Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., and lead the Board of Directors. Among Farmer’s priorities: driving productivity and delivering the kind of service BNSF customers have come to expect; modeling the way for communication across the railroad and ensuring that connections continue to be made with all the constituencies it touches; and supporting employees—some 36,000—so they, too, can reach their full potential by taking advantage of the professional development opportunities she was afforded. In this wide-ranging interview with Railway Age Executive Editor Marybeth Luczak, Katie Farmer talks about leading the railroad and its workforce, “the hard-working men and women at BNSF.” Podcast sponsored by TrinityRail.