Kitchin, Erstad Join RSTACWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
The Surface Transportation Board (STB) on March 10 reported appointing James (Leggett) Kitchin of Norfolk Southern (NS) and Richard Erstad of Hawkins, Inc., to the Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council (RSTAC).
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; the Secretary of Transportation; the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; and the 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 Chair. The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the five STB members serve as ex officio members.
Kitchin, Vice President for Industrial Products and Coal for NS, joins RSTAC as a large railroad representative. He is responsible for the marketing of agricultural and forest products, metals and construction, chemicals, and coal at the Class I railroad, and also manages sales and customer support for these commodities. He served previously as Group Vice President of Domestic Intermodal Marketing and Sales. Kitchin, who has a background in investment banking, was selected as one of 10 Young Leaders in Rail for 2022 by Railway Age sister publication IRJ.
Erstad, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary at specialty chemical and ingredients company Hawkins, joins RSTAC as a small shipper representative. According to the STB, he has a background in “promoting corporate responsibility and the safe transportation of chemicals,” and serves as Chair of the Regulatory Affairs Committee of the National Association of Chemical Distributors.
Each RSTAC member is appointed for a term of three years. While no member will be eligible to serve in excess of two consecutive terms, a member may serve after the expiration of her term until a successor has taken office, according to the STB.
“I am pleased that Richard and Leggett have agreed to join RSTAC and advise the Board on matters of concern,” Chairman Martin Oberman said. “Both new members have extensive experience with operations in environments where commodities need to be delivered effectively and safely to meet the needs of the public. The other Board members and I look forward to working with them both and expect that they will make a positive contribution to RSTAC as we all work to help ensure the rail network remains efficient and viable.”
The STB began seeking nominations to RSTAC in November 2022.
Donald Itzkoff and Eric Jakubowski most recently joined RSTAC, representing Patriot Rail Company LLC and Anacostia Rail Holdings, respectively.