The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association invited back three Belt Railway Company of Chicago representatives to speak at the 2015 Connections Convention March 28 to April 1 in Orlando, Florida. Over 1500 industry representatives attended the convention.
Tim Coffey, general counsel, secretary and director human resources, made a presentation titled “Grand Slam of Potential Claims” at the event. He considers the convention a special opportunity for people from across the short line industry to gather in one place.
“These conventions do a great job of being educational while also serving as a networking event,” he said. “It is important for us to participate because we are a leader in the short line railroad industry. Our presence shows support for the industry, its suppliers and contractors.”
Coffey particularly appreciated the general session on Monday. Linda Darr, ASLRRA president, and Thomas Simpson, president of RSI, moderated a roundtable titled “Holding Company CEO Perspective.” Five CEOs of short line companies — John Hellmann, Genesee & Wyoming; Kevin Shuba, OmniTRAX; John Felton, Patriot Rail Company; Michael Wester, R.J. Corman Railroad Group; and Rick Webb, Watco Companies, answered questions and spoke about how the industry is being affected today. The future of the industry is bright.
Nick Chodorow, senior director of information systems, agreed that the convention went well. His breakout session, “Positive Train Control: Short line PTC Implementation Planning,” was well-attended and spurred conversations throughout the rest of the conference.
“The goal of this program was to make people aware of the process we at BRC have taken to implement PTC,” he said. “It is a longer and more involved process than most people think. The positive conversations helped lead us to have a joint committee meeting later this summer to discuss important topics for short lines like PTC.”
Mike Paras, general manager transportation, led a “Technology Roundtable.”
Yet again, the convention gave BRC the opportunity to share its wisdom with and learn from other industry leaders as it strives to continuously enhance and improve it’s practices.