July 2020

Industry Events

AREMA Virtual Conference & Expo
September 13th-17th

Railway Gazette Group Rail Broadcast Week
September 21st-25th

ASLRRA Virtual Connections Convention
October 5th-9th

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A message from REMSA regarding COVID-19:
The safety and well-being of the REMSA staff and our members is of the upmost importance to our association, and we want to urge all REMSA members, staff, and their families to take the proper precautions necessary to maintain their health, safety and well-being during this uncertain and unprecedented time. Railroads continue to operate and are critical in transporting essential supplies throughout the country to those in need.  Thank you to our railroad operators, the crews maintaining the rails, and all of our member company employees who are taking the measures they need to ensure the well-being of the country and world during this crisis.

REMSA Member-of the-Month Spotlight

Industry News

AAR poll: A majority of Americans support freight rail's role in U.S. economy

O'Malley Departing RSI

Primus Nominated to STB

Member News

WashingtonUpdateWashington Update

One More COVID Bill in Congress, Appropriations Process Underway
Negotiations will begin this week as the Senate begins to formulate a proposal for one more piece of major legislation to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Any bill that comes together would be the first since President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act into law on April 24th. Issues that will be part of the negotiations include liability protections for employers, funding for state and local governments, unemployment insurance, and the potential for another round of direct stimulus payments. 

The fiscal year 2021 appropriations process is underway on both sides of the Capitol. The House Appropriations Committee has passed its Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development bill to the full House, while conversations in the Senate remain in Committee for the time being. 

H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, which serves as both a five-year surface transportation reauthorization and a major infrastructure bill, passed the House on July 1st. The Senate has indicated that it won't take the bill up in its current form, and continues to work on their own bill that they'll counter the House proposal with. If the two chambers are unable to pass a bill by the end of September, an extension will be necessary as work finishes. 

The Trump Administration unveiled a plan to streamline environmental reviews on infrastructure projects under the national Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The new rule shortens windows for environmental reviews and impact statements with the goal of reducing obstacles and red tape. 


If you are interested in learning more about REMSA's government affairs efforts, please reach out to Cooper Ehrendreich  at  ehrendreich@remsa.org.

stahlwebinarREMSA Webinar Series

Our webinar series continued in July with two webinars: 

REMSA & Export-Import Bank of the US: Export Growth Opportunities for Railway Maintenance and Equipment Exporters

REMSA & Mott MacDonald: Navigating All Things Talent Acquisition In A Post-COVID World

Our full library of webinars is available to REMSA Members  here.

Keep an eye on our events calendar to view and register for upcoming webinars as they become available. 

Is there a topic you would like covered in future webinars? Contact stern@remsa.org to share your ideas. 

schREMSA Undergraduate Scholarship Recipients

REMSA congratulates the recipients of this year's undergraduate scholarship program!

For more information on the REMSA Undergraduate Scholarship Program, please visit: www.remsa.org/undergraduateschoarship20

Caitlin Guinee
President's Scholarship Recipient ($7,500)
Pennsylvania State University
Sponsoring Company: LB Foster

Grace Bastyr
Runner-Up Scholarship Recipient ($5,000)
University of Alabama
Sponsoring Company: Progressive Railroading

Albert Hotzel
Individual Scholarship Recipient ($2,500)
Kansas State University
Sponsoring Company: Stella-Jones Corporation

memberofthemonth REMSA Member of the Month 
Alanna Strohecker, Vice President - Freight Rail Market Sector Lead, Americas, AECOM

How did you get started in the rail industry?
I began my engineering career at Frederic R. Harris (a predecessor company of AECOM) in 2001 after graduating from Villanova University with a civil engineering degree. I was hired by the civil department but on my first day, was told that I would be working with the rail group "for a while." Well, I've never left the railroad industry and I couldn't be happier! Initially, I was a junior engineer working on the Norfolk Southern Pipe and Wire contract, reviewing utility installations on behalf of the railroad. I then moved onto the CSXT General Engineering contract, where I reviewed projects that had the potential to affect CSXT operations. I was also given the opportunity to participate in various marketing pursuits throughout the next few years which I loved.

Although I always loved trains as a young woman, predominately because I rode the Metro North train every day to high school while growing up in Yonkers, NY, I did not plan for the railroad industry to become my career. Early on when I became a member of the rail group, I was lucky enough to work with two gentlemen who were career railroaders, Roger Heebner and Robert Humbert. They truly fostered my love of the railroad and I am so appreciative. Not only did they show me how to be a railroader but they taught me so much that has made me successful in my career.  

What do you love most about your job/the rail industry?
Over the course of my career, I also spent time working for both Wabtec Railway Electronics and BNSF as well as got my MBA. In 2010, I returned to AECOM to as Program Manager of the CSXT General Engineering Contract. Over the last ten years, I have taken on progressive roles with increasing responsibility within the AECOM Freight Rail organization. I have served as the CSXT Client Account Manager, the US Lead for Freight Rail and, in November of 2017, I became the AECOM Freight Rail Market Sector Lead for the Americas. My responsibility is to set the strategy and lead business development efforts with our Class I, regional railroad and shortline clients across North America. I am also closely tied to the execution of our railroad work which feeds my engineer's soul. I am honored to lead AECOM's great business and I look forward to the continual growth of the railroad industry.  

With respect to what I love about the rail industry overall, the first is definitely the people. We have great people at AECOM, but our clients are fantastic, although demanding and so are many of our competitors. It is a relatively small industry, which fosters positive and rewarding long-term relationships and provides the opportunity to work with strong teams to execute projects and initiatives. The second thing I love about rail is the importance of the industry to the overall economy. My MBA degree and learning continues to support my love of this railroad aspect. I became an engineer to make a difference and contributing to the growth of the rail industry and by extension the larger economy is what has kept me engaged in this part of the transportation sector. In the past year, I was accepted onto the board of the American Railway Development Association (ARDA) and I am a member of the membership and policy committees of the NRC. I look forward to continuing to be an active leader in the various railroad associations to help support the industry I love.

What is it like being a woman in a primarily male dominated industry?
For women engineers, your journey as a minority in a male dominated industry begins in college. Today, I certainly see more women than there were 20 years ago, which is amazing, and I hope this trend continues. I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from rail professionals of both genders over my career. Now I feel the responsibility to share what a rewarding career the rail industry can offer to women. Mentoring and engaging younger women is critical during the early part of their careers. It is one of the best parts of my role at AECOM. Organizations dedicated to the advancement of women like WTS, League of Railway Women and Society of Women Engineers are also great places for women to connect, share experiences and mentor each other. I have made a point to seek out and network with some fantastic women in the rail industry which personally has been very rewarding. Overall, being a woman in a primarily male dominated industry is a great opportunity.

What do you find yourself doing most in your downtime? Hobbies outside of work?
I love spending time with my family: my husband, Mike and my children, Logan (8), Emma (5) and Abigail (3) and our extended family. When I am not raising future engineers, I enjoy learning about wine and cooking new dishes (I got married in Napa!), trying to increase my running distance and karaoke sessions with friends. I also volunteer my time on Villanova University's College of Engineering Advisory Council.

How do you define the "future" of rail? Where do you think the industry is headed?
The future of rail is promising. Obviously, in the short term with COVID 19, the rail industry has been affected as has every other industry. The railroads have weathered previous economic headwinds so they know what to do and I am confident the industry will be fine. In the short term, we're looking to support our rail clients respond the pandemic's challenges and opportunities. In the long term, the rail industry will only grow and innovate. I personally believe that technology will allow the rail industry to become more efficient and I'm excited to see how that plays out in the future. AECOM has strong digital transformation experience, working with all types of clients within the transportation sector and I'm looking forward to how AECOM can partner with our rail clients and other suppliers to drive efficiency in the industry.

Anything else you would like to add/share?
Inclusion and Diversity are embedded in our core values at AECOM and is a key driver of our success. We believe our innovation is enhanced by our ability to draw from a wealth of different backgrounds and experiences and allows us to better understand our clients and make lasting impacts in the communities where we live and work. Our AECOM rail group continues to focus on becoming more diverse and I know that we will accomplish that goal, not only for AECOM but for the industry as well.  

Interested in being highlighted in the REMSA spotlight? Apply to become Member-of-Month. 

Contact Madeleine Stern, Membership & Marketing Manager to apply today at:  stern@remsa.org or (202) 715-2919.

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GrassrootsREMSA Grassroots Program
 Bring a Member of Congress to Your Company

The 116th Congress has more than 100 new members in the House of Representatives and 10 new Senators, making 2020 a terrific opportunity to host a REMSA grassroots event at your company.

REMSA hosted 12 grassroots events with member companies in 9 states in 2019 and has several scheduled for the first few months of 2020. Press releases detailing past events can be found here.

REMSA's Grassroots Program connects our association's membership with members of Congress to host tours and site visits of company facilities and ongoing projects.  It's a terrific way to showcase the positive impact that your company has in the local community, while also building strong personal relationships with your elected representatives.  We will also take the initiative to engage with local and regional media outlets to highlight your company and maximize the visibility of the great work that you are doing.  

Are you interested in growing your network and highlighting your products and services to the rail industry? 

Please contact Cooper Ehrendreich at  ehrendreich@remsa.org or (202) 715-2917 to get started.

IndustryNEWS Industry News

IN1 AAR poll: A majority of Americans support freight rail's role in U.S. economy
A majority of U.S. adults agree that the freight-rail industry is critically important to the nation's economy, according to a new poll conducted on behalf of the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Conducted by Morning Consult, the poll also found that 75 percent of respondents view the freight-rail industry as safe, AAR officials said in a press release.The poll results demonstrate bipartisan support for the freight-rail industry, they said. (Progressive Railroading) 

IN2 12% of New INFRA Grants Rail-Related
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced plans to invest $906 million in America's infrastructure through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program. The proposed funding will be awarded to 20 projects in 20 states, and of those 20 projects, four are direct rail or rail-served projects totaling $112.05 million, or 12.3% of total funds. The remaining 16 projects are all highway-related. (Railway Age) 

in4O'Malley Departing RSI
After just over two years at the helm, Railway Supply Institute (RSI) President Mike O'Malley is leaving the organization at the end of July. O'Malley, who has served as RSI's leader since early 2018, is "pursuing an opportunity with a corporation outside the Washington, D.C. area," RSI said in an announcement. O'Malley joined the organization after serving in a government relations capacity with CSX. (Railway Age)

MemberNEws Member News

MN3 Holland Earns TTX SECO Award
Holland is proud to announce its naming as a TTX Company SECO (Supplier Evaluation Committee) Program "Excellent Supplier" for 2019. Each year, TTX evaluates each of its suppliers in five categories: quality, cost, delivery, service and financial/administration. Holland has achieved "Excellent Supplier" status over 15 times. (Holland)

mn4 Torrent Trackside invests in a new fleet of Pandrol CD400SP clipping machines
Torrent Trackside in the UK is investing heavily in the latest equipment designed to get projects completed safer, quicker and to budget. As part of this investment Torrent Trackside has recently acquired a fleet of Pandrol CD400SP clipping machines which are now available for hire. The CD400SP is an efficient and powerful machine designed to clip and declip Pandrol Fastclips. The machine is controlled by a single walk behind operator, via an easy to use handheld remote control attached to the clipper. (Pandrol)

Bourbon Trail Connection to Rail: R. J. Corman Serves One of Kentucky's Finest Distilleries
As the first short line acquired by the company, R. J. Corman's Bardstown Line has long served Kentucky's second oldest city that is trademarked as the Bourbon Capital of the World®. Bourbons named after Elijah Craig, Henry McKenna, and Evan Williams are some of the distilled spirits that make this small town famous for American whiskey. R. J. Corman is excited that the renowned Heaven Hill Brands, which is part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and produces these namesake spirits along with many others, has now partnered with the Railroad Company. (RJ Corman)

mn6L.B. Foster, Loram, and RBL/Robolube featured in "Roll Safe, Roll Silent"