He has trained the last two track inspectors and almost all the new MOW employees. He wants each of his students to know they can ask him anything and understand the reasons behind what they are doing.
Villafuerte stresses the importance of paying attention to details because little details are often the biggest on the railroad.
“I am repetitive,” he said. “I ask the same questions over and over, but at some point I will trick them — it keeps it interesting.”
Villafuerte joined BRC two weeks after his father left with 33 years of service. In his own 18 years of employment, he considers working with several longtime employees to be his greatest experience.
“I worked with a lot of great people,” he said. “I was happy they were retiring, but sorry to see them go. I learned so much from them about the railroad and how it used to be way back.”
When not working, Villafuerte enjoys time with his wife, Teresa, and five children. His eldest, Janelle, serves in the U.S. Navy. Tommy is the first student from his high school to compete in the state wrestling tournament. Michael has recruiters watching him pitch. Briana plays softball and plans to attend culinary school. Victoria possesses musical talent, playing the piano, clarinet and the bells. All are straight-A honor students.
Villafuerte participates in three or four 5k runs a year. He focuses on fundraising runs for children’s hospitals, and diabetes and cancer research. Watching a man interact with his 12-year-old daughter who was undergoing cancer treatment inspired him to help.
“She was so tiny — maybe 90 pounds — and had lost her hair,” he said. “She was caressing his face asking if they could see the Sears Tower, and I wanted to help any way I could.”
Villafuerte’s other interests include bow hunting, paintballing and coaching his children in sports.
“What I love about this company it’s huge but compact,” he said. “We have some good people. I am happy and proud to work with them.”