The RSI Education & Technical Training Conference—LRW

Written by Andrew Corselli
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The RSI Education & Technical Training Conference at Railway Interchange 2019 “serves to educate attendees on new technologies and trends in the rail industry and provide an opportunity for industry networking and collaboration. There are more than 50 educational sessions on railcar maintenance, rail operations, air brake technologies and trends and a focus on leadership in the rail industry,” RSI notes. “Session content is provided by the Railway Supply Institute, the Air Brake Association, the International Association of Railway Operating Officers, the League of Railway Women, the Locomotive Maintenance Officers Association and the Railcar Technical Services Association."

The League of Railway Women (LRW) “is committed to improving the rail industry by connecting and cultivating women in rail. The mission is to advance the representation, recognition and opportunities for women, thereby promoting diversity and improving the business results of the railroad industry. LRW’s educational sessions cover topics about leadership, industry knowledge, collaboration and improving business results.”

Among the LRW sessions:

Sunday, September 22, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM; League of Railway Women Networking Event: #RailwayInterchange

Join us after show hours at one of Minny’s local joints, Brit’s Pub – located just down the street from the Minneapolis Convention Center. Come learn about LRW and our mission to connect and cultivate women in rail, network with other #railwaywomen, and hear from some of our distinguished speakers on this year’s conference line up.

Monday, September 23, 9 AM – 9:45 AM;Panel: Future of Technology in Rail

“Smart transit,” “smart rail” and “smart trains,” have become a common industry catch phases. The disruption technology in the railway industry is placing demands on technology strategies and infrastructures to support today’s business requirements. In this panel, you will hear how technology has evolved and is disrupting the railroad industry.  Our panel experts will share how technology has impacted their past and current roles and how they foresee technology for rail in the future. The discussion will provide unique thought-leading insights on technology’s role in ensuring enterprise-wide success in today’s challenging environment.

Our panelists includes three diverse industry experts, who have extensive experience in areas ranging from wi-fi, connectivity, data and operations. They will provide knowledge and insight on what they and their companies are doing to make the rail industry “smarter” and changing rail for the future. Learn from these industry experts on key technology topics.

  • Patti Lavoie, Operations Supervisor, Toronto Terminals Railway
  • Lisa Matta, VP, Product Management, Wi-Tronix, LLC
  • Maria Waddy, Director of Sales Enablement, Icomera
  • Moderator: Kari Gonzales, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, TTCI

10 AM – 10:45 AM; Panel: When Women Lead – Reflection & Strategy for Achieving a Highly Impactful Career

Four distinguished women at different career levels will discuss the ever-evolving role of leadership in the rail industry and the resources and opportunities they have leveraged along the way. In looking forward, the panelists will consider key leadership traits and strategies needed to achieve a highly impactful career in contemporary business. By attending this panel, you can: re-imagine and advance your leadership skills, learn from and identify with inspirational women, walk away with tangible and actionable advice, and enhance your professional influence.

  • Pam Arpin, AVP Customer and Corporate Services, CP
  • Maggie Vuono, National Sales Manager, Holland
  • Lisa Tuningley, President/Owner, T-RAIL Products Inc.
  • Kate Suprenuk, Vice President Portfolio & Services Strategy, Union Tank Car Company
  • Moderator: Shannon Emberly, Production Manager, CN Rail

11 AM – 11:35 AM; Getting on Track: Professional Development for Rail Industry Women; Keynote Address by Lorie Tekorius, Chief Operating Officer at The Greenbrier Companies

11:45 AM – 1 PM; Railway Interchange General Session; Keynote Speaker: Vernice Armour

Vernice Armour, a motivational speaker who served as America’s first African American female combat pilot, will inspire attendees. Leveraging her “Breakthrough Mentality” and “Get Gutsy” mindset, Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour propelled herself from beat cop to combat pilot in a record-breaking three years.

Presentation of Railway Woman of the Year Award

Each year, the League of Railway Women (LRW) recognizes excellence in the rail industry by awarding the LRW Railway Woman of the Year award to a woman who is considered a leader by her peers. This award is co-sponsored by Progressive Railroading.

1:45 PM – 2:30 PM; Panel: The Talent Challenge: Best Practices for Recruiting, Engaging and Retaining Top Talent

We hear it time and time again, “People don’t leave companies, they leave bosses,” so it’s easy to understand how leadership can influence a company’s talent force. Strong supportive leadership fosters innovative cultures within organizations. But how is this accomplished? Successful talent management requires sustained, effort to recruit, engage and retain the best talent available. This diverse panel (listed below) will be sharing their unique perspectives; discussing challenges and lessons from their experiences to offer valuable lessons effective best practices in talent management.

  • Nancy LaMons, Chief People and Diversity Officer, BNSF Logistics
  • Maeghan Albiston, AVP Investor Relations and Pensions, CP
  • Susan Marines, Director, Human Resources and Talent Management, GATX
  • Colleen Leonardo, Regional Sales Manager, Railway Equipment Company
  • Moderator: Sarah Yurasko, Assistant General Counsel, Association of American Railroads
2:45 PM – 3:30 PM; Panel: Raising the Bar – Millennial Presidents in Rail

Our intimate panel of young, female CEOs will discuss their personal career journeys. Cathrin Banks and Kate Luce are two young CEO’s raising the bar for women in the rail industry. We will engage in discussions on how they have navigated their respective career journeys, how they earned powerful positions. They will discuss their careers challenges, accomplishments and will share lessons learned for career advancement for women in the railroad industry. We hope the stories shared and insights gained from this panel will empower you in reaching your own career goals.

  • Cathrin Banks, President, The Maryland and Delaware Railroad Company
  • Kate Luce, President and CEO, Mississippi Export Railroad
  • Moderator: Tanis Peterson, Sr Director, Operations & Regulatory Affairs, Railway Association of Canada
 3:45 PM – 4:30 PM; Entering the C-suite:  Growing from Project Management into Executive Leadership; Keynote Address by Marsha Smith, Chief Financial Officer, Siemens Mobility in the U.S.

Marsha Smith is Chief Financial Officer of Siemens Mobility in the U.S.  While making a name for herself managing some of the company’s most complex transit projects she had to observe and learn from the various challenges she encountered, both personally and professionally.  In her remarks, Marsha will explain how she grew through these, navigating carefully through major organizational and professional changes along her path to executive leadership.

Tuesday, September 24

LRW Annual Membership Meeting

  • Part 1: 9:45 AM – 10:30 AM
  • Part 2: 10:45 AM – 11:30 AM

Join the League of Railway Women for our 2019 annual membership meeting. LRW President Tanis Peterson (Railway Assoc. of Canada) will preside. The LRW Board will present on the changes LRW has made in the past year and what we’re planning moving forward to help drive our mission to connect and cultivate women in rail. There will also be opportunities to get involved in LRW through our committees (awards, events, public relations, social media, scholarship, membership, and webinars). LRW will also present the 2019 LRW Member of Year Award.

12:00 PM – 3:00 PM; LRW Tour of BNSF Northtown Yard Track Exhibits

Join LRW to explore the outdoor track exhibits at Railway Interchange. We’ll depart together on a shuttle at the Minneapolis Convention Center for the yard, grab lunch in the food tent, and see the new rail equipment and technology first hand. We will also meet with someone from BNSF’s Northtown Yard to discuss the history and current operations of the yard. The outdoor exhibits are only held every four years so we are excited to add this to our agenda – you don’t want to miss it.

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