Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - 22


FEATURE STORY

ASLRRA Interns
Engage with the Short
Line Rail Industry
This summer, ASLRRA introduced
four students to the complexities of
the short line rail industry and gave
them a peek inside the workings of a
trade association.
Our interns worked on a variety of
projects: a Short Line Primer, which
will be used during Capitol Hill visits
and introductory meetings with regulators new to the industry; training
materials for an Electronic Code
of Federal Regulations; Fact Book
outreach; and Safety Institute website
content. They also attended a variety
of committee meetings on Capitol
Hill and participated in transportation
meetings and conferences.
"Before starting my internship
at ASLRRA this summer I knew
how important railroads were in
transporting people and freight across
the country. With that said, I did
not truly understand the significance
they had in supporting billions of
dollars in economic activity each year,
as well as small rural communities
throughout the country," said Kieran
Hampl, an ASLRRA intern studying
at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign. "Working inside the
industry has also allowed me to see
the passion and pride that comes with
railroad employees that has been key
to the success of the industry."
Hampl and ASLRRA's three other
interns - Matthew Wade of the University of Oregon and Michael Vindell
and Tyler Epperson, both of the University of North Carolina Wilmington
- left ASLRRA at summer's end with
a different perspective on railroading
and an appreciation of the power of
our Association!

22

ASLRRA's summer 2016 interns, from left to right: Michael Vindell, Tyler Epperson, Matthew
Wade, intern coordinator Elizabeth Sands and Kieran Hampl.
Van Schwartz says there is nothing more
gratifying than hearing that a Summerail
alum was promoted or accepted to an
advanced degree program.
Last year, the Summerail program
received TRB's prestigious Blue Ribbon
award for Community Building and
Mentoring. Students are sponsored by
supporters of the program and represent a wide variety of rail programs at
universities such as the University of
Illinois, University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
University of Denver, Colorado State
University-Fort Collins and Colorado State
University-Pueblo.

Association Youth Engagement
ASLRRA is playing a role in introducing
the next generation of short line railroaders
to the industry in several ways. Like many
of its member railroads and suppliers,
ASLRRA hosted several summer interns,
and ASLRRA's Young Professionals Group
(YPG) and newly formed Small Railroad
Committee are also active in engaging
young railroaders.
The YPG is looking to expand its
offerings to include more formal educational offerings. At the 2016 Annual
CONNECTIONS Convention, the
group invited industry veteran and former
ASLRRA Chairman Mike Ogborn to
speak to the group and share his perspective on working up the career ladder in the
industry. His comments were well-received
and prompted the group to add similar

SHORT LINE CONNECTOR // FALL 2016

speakers at ASLRRA's fall regional meetings (see Keeping Track on page 10). The
group is also looking to create a formal
mentoring program, possibly in conjunction with the Small Railroad Committee,
and a series of webinars targeting the
younger demographic.
Jeff Van Schaick, assistant vice president
of government affairs for Watco Companies, heads up the YPG. He explained
that it began as a conversation about what
would happen to all of the institutional
knowledge that was leaving the industry as
baby boomers began to retire.
"Looking around at the ASLRRA
events, there were a substantial amount of
seasoned railroad professionals, most of
whom had been involved in some capacity
with the industry for decades. What was
missing was the presence of younger individuals," he noted.
The YPG encourages younger ASLRRA
members to become more involved in the
Association and to get them in positions
that will affect how the Association and
the industry will progress over the next 25
years, he added.
"Although our group is still determining
the best approach, a number of young
professionals have indicated a desire for a
mentoring program, networking events,
educational opportunities and community outreach," Van Schaick said. "Over
the next year, our leadership group will
pare down and focus on a couple of items
to move forward on. To begin, at each



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Short Line Connector - Fall 2016

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Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - Cover1
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - Cover2
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - No label
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - 2
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - 3
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Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - Cover3
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer19
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring19
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/winter19
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/fall18
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer18
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring18
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/winter18
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/fall17
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer17
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/FactsAndFigures
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring17
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/winter17
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/fall16
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer16
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring2016
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com