BRC lost more than a general manager of transportation with the July 30 passing of Mike Paras. It lost a leader, defender, teacher and role model.
Paras began his 43-year railroading career when he was 18. He worked for Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad and Union Pacific before joining BRC. He served in various roles, including: trainman, yardmaster, trainmaster, service unit superintendent, general manager of safety initiatives and general manager of transportation. It was said that he had seen it all and could find a solution for any problem.
Paras willingly shared his knowledge with employees, university students, peers or superiors.
“Mike was the most passionate and dedicated railroader I have known,” said Pat O’Brien, president. “His knowledge of the rail industry was all-encompassing and his desire to share his expertise with all was truly inspirational. He was a wonderful guy.”
Paras cared for the development of the people with whom he interacted. Steve Hoye, director-Chicago transportation coordination office, explained that this went beyond work.
“Mike helped me professionally and personally,” he said. “He helped me see the entire picture from the ground level to a 20,000-foot-level view. I appreciated talking to him as a boss and a friend.”
Though they continue to miss Paras, BRC employees remain grateful for the years they shared with him.