Board of Directors

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Michael Sussman

Chairman, OnTrackNorthAmerica and President, Strategic Rail Finance

Leo Penne

Program Director, Freight Transportation and Economic Development at AASHTO (retired)

Michael Koontz

Former Director, US Department of Transportation’s CMAQ Program

Ronald L. Batory

President & Chief Operating Officer, Consolidated Rail Corporation

Andrew Liberty

Senior Interior Designer and Principal Owner, Andrew Liberty Interiors

Robert VanderClute

Former SVP of Safety and Operations, Association of American Railroads

Jolene Molitoris

President, US Railcar, LLC & Principal, Molitoris Associates

Eugene N. Cipriani

Negotiator/Relocation Advisor, Keystone Acquisition Services Corp.

Jeff DeLone

Senior Partner, The Velocity Group

Olivia Parr Rud

Author & Talk Show Host, Quantum Business Insights

Advisory Board

OnTrackNorthAmerica benefits tremendously from the many people serving advisory, oversight, endorsement, and contributory roles in our organization. See who is participating, weigh in with your thoughts, and consider joining the team.

Collaborative Engagement

Jeffrey Conklin, President, CogNexus Group

Dr. Jeff Conklin is a senior independent software product development specialist and researcher. His experience in developing cutting-edge collaborative software systems spans over 30 years during which he has built unique commercially-oriented products. Dr. Conklin is the President and Founder of the CogNexus Group whose mission is to help gridlocked multi-stakeholder groups resolve the blocks and create robust results. Dr. Conklin  pioneered the “Dialogue Mapping” technique, which he uses to guide clients safely through the ‘adult conversations’ that are essential to collaboration, and which he teaches in tutorials and workshops. He has designed and facilitated hundreds of successful meetings and online collaborations.

In his role with the Group, Dr. Conklin works with strategy and policy teams on confronting and managing wicked problems – situations involving disputed knowledge, divergent stakeholders, and, often, a history of failed solution attempts. By bringing new skills, tools, and theory to clients, it engages the whole system in the pursuit of shared understanding of the situation and a growing confidence in the power of lightly structured dialogue.

An important real-world example of Dr. Conkliin’s work is the Delta Dialogues, a multi-stakeholder, interest-based policy discussion about the complex issues in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The goal of the program is to break the policy gridlock that has impacted the region for more than 30 years. Previous efforts to address the Delta’s “wicked problem” have been stalemated by a failure of the key stakeholders to communicate effectively about issues. The Delta Dialogues project arose out of the willingness of the key stakeholders to engage in a process focused almost entirely on coming to a shared understanding of the issues and the stakeholder interests in them. After eight monthly meetings over 18 months the Dialogues project achieved a significant increase in trust and respect among the stakeholders, laying the foundation for creating robust solutions that have a chance to avoid being deadlocked in litigation while the Delta’s challenges grow more acute.

Dr. Conklin also developed the Dialogue Mapping™ facilitation technique, a radically inclusive approach to knowledge management that allows groups to capture and make sense of unstructured knowledge that is discussed during project meetings. He is the author of the book,Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems.

Dr. Janet Fiero - former Director of Business Development, AmericaSpeaks

Dr. Janet Fiero, now retired, was Director of Business Development of AmericaSpeaks. She has performed key roles in major projects, including CaliforniaSpeaks, a state-wide conversation on health care reform bringing 3500 residents together via satellite for an all day deliberation. Dr. Fiero has over thirty years experience in management and consulting in the corporate world before transitioning in 2001 to applying her group and organizational skills to the public engagement sphere as an associate with AmericaSpeaks. Janet holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry, a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Organization Development and a Doctor of Philosophy in Human and Organizational Systems.

Dr. Barbara Gray - Professor Emeritus of Organizational Behavior

Dr. Barbara Gray is a Professor of Organizational Behavior and Director, Center for Research in Conflict and Negotiation, at The Pennsylvania State University. She holds the following degrees: B.S. in Chemistry (Magna Cum Laude), University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, 1968; Secondary Education Certificate, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1973; and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1979. Dr. Gray has held the following visiting positions: Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation during 1987-88, Visiting Faculty, the Katholicke Universiteit Leuven in 1997, TVA Fellow at The Darden School, University of Virginia in 1998, and Boer & Croon Chaired Professor at the TIAS Business School, Tilburg University in 2004. Dr. Gray is also a trained mediator and consults to organizations about conflict and collaboration.

Dr. Gray has published three books: Collaborating: Finding common ground for multiparty problems (Jossey-Bass, 1989); International Joint Ventures: Economic and organizational perspectives (with Kalyan Chatterjee, Kluwer, 1995), and Making Sense of Intractable Environmental Conflicts: Concepts and cases (with Roy Lewicki & Michael Elliott, Island Press, 2003). She has over 70 publications including work in Administrative Sciences Quarterly, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Human Relations, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Journal of Management and Journal of Management Inquiry.

Dr. Gray’s research interests include interorganizational relations, multiparty collaborative alliances, organizational and environmental conflict, team dynamics and sensemaking. She is currently studying the impacts of repair of relationship conflict on organizations and investigating leadership functions in multiparty alliances including a project with the National Institutes of Health to study transdisciplinary teams.



Conflict and Negotiation
Public/Private Partnerships
Cross-Sectoral Collaboration
Environmental and Diversity-Related Disputes
Interorganizational Relations
Team Conflict

Karen Risa Robbins, Principal, Washington Progress Group

Karen Risa Robbins is a lawyer, entrepreneur, and business consultant with deep experience in collaboration and change initiatives. Founder and CEO of the AmTech Center for Collaboration in Silicon Valley, she led a team that won accolades for orchestrating public-private partnerships and change initiatives for top-tier government, industry, and academic clients. Her personal credits include leading governance and partner relations for the $18 Billion dollar NextGen Air Traffic Control Modernization initiative, and brokering the $150 million dollar NASA project that spawned the Predator drone. A legal innovator, she was the policy and legal architect of an unprecedented federal contracting model that enables public-private ventures. She negotiated large dollar R&D deals and initiated numerous industry alliances and nonprofit organizations. She presently serves on the Board of Advisors for the Doug Engelbart Institute (celebrated computer/internet pioneer) and as advisor to the California Department of Water Resources on the use of drones for precision agriculture. Today she applies her extensive knowledge of collaboration, stakeholder engagement, and organizational structures, to further public policy enterprises.

Community Perspective

Dr. Joseph Schwieterman - Director, Depaul University Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development

Dr. Joseph Schwieterman is the director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development and professor of public services management at DePaul University. He has published extensively on air, rail, and urban-planning issues and is a long-standing contributor to the Transportation Research Board. He holds a doctorate in public policy from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in transportation from Northwestern University. His article, “Abandoned Corridors,” was a finalist for the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society’s 2003 David P. Morgan Award for excellence in railroad history.


Peter Schwartzman - Associate Professor & Chair, Knox College Environmental Studies Program

Peter Schwartzman is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Studies at Knox College. He is a trained climatologist with interests in a wide variety of environmental areas. He has written over 100 hundred articles for local media as well as peer-reviewed journals. He is also cofounder of The Center (, a community place for learning and connecting. Peter and his wife serve as coaches for the Silas Willard Geography Bowl team and also run the school Scrabble Club there. Peter is also: a tournament level Scrabble player; basketballasaurus (a creature constantly found dribbling and shooting); an activist for peace and justice; and, a fun-loving spirit. Peter’s academic degrees include a Bachelor of Science in physics at Harvey Mudd College, a Masters of Science in Science and Technology Studies at Virginia Tech, and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia.

Mingzhou Jin, Ph.D. - Associate Head Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Tennessee

Dr. Jin is the Director of the The Logistics, Transportation, and Supply Chain Engineering lab (LTS) at University of Tennessee. The LTS applies Operations Research, Simulation, Traffic Modeling, Statistical Analysis, Cost/Benefit Analysis, and other engineering techniques to address issues in logistics, transportation, and supply chain. Dr. Jin has done about forty projects in those areas with the total funding for more than $8M. The sponsors include USDOT, Department of Homeland Security, NASA, three State DOTs, American Trucking Associations, several University Transportation Centers, and various companies. Dr. Jin is currently the president of the Engineering Economy division of the Institute for Industrial Engineers and the board director of the Logistics and Supply Chain division. He is serving in the editorial boards of the journals of the Engineering Economists and the International Journal of Production Economics and is the guest editor of the Journal of Cleaner Production.

Freight Transportation Land Use

Dr. Beverly A. Cigler - Professor of Public Policy & Administration, Penn State Harrisburg

Dr. Beverly A. Cigler is a Professor of Public Policy and Administration at Penn State Harrisburg. She has written more than 150 articles/chapters, co-authored 9 books, and presented 190 speeches to municipal and state officials across the U.S. Bev has received numerous national, state and regional awards for her scholarship and service and is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. Her areas of expertise include multicommunity collaboration, intermunicipal and state-local relations, and emergency management. She serves on Boards of Directors and advisory committees for a number of research and municipal and county associations in Pennsylvania and nationally and is a research associate at the Pennsylvania legislature.

Eugene Wilson, Attorney-at-Law

Eugene Wilson is a licensed California attorney with over 25 years of experience in real estate, business, environmental, and land use issues. He has litigated a significant number precedent-setting published opinions in the areas of energy conservation and land use. He has been a strong advocate for increased use of freight and passenger rail as energy-efficient and cost-effective transportation modes. He has published various articles in California Litigation. His practice is devoted exclusively to environmental litigation with a particular focus on transportation, land use, energy and climate issues. He represents a range of specialized topics at the California Public Utilities Commission related to energy, transportation, and climate. Mr. Wilson participates in a variety of non-profit organizations.

Infrastructure Capitalization

Multimodal Logistics

David L. Ganovski - Principal, David Ganovski & Associates LLC

David L. Ganovski is currently working as an experienced freight transportation logistics consultant with extensive knowledge of related industries, shippers, consumers, modal operations, marketing and economics. He is currently consulting a number of government, private and public organizations. Previously he managed Sales, Marketing, Operations and Planning positions at CSX for 30 years, later working 12 complimentary years at the State of Maryland as Director of the Office of Freight Logistics; He thus offers 42 years of results-oriented management and leadership to potential clients. His diverse career path resulted in a broad, balanced and uniquely functional level of expertise transcending multiple modes of transportation, logistics, operations, freight, commuter and intercity passenger rail co-existence.

Leo Penne - Program Director, Freight Transportation and Economic Development at AASHTO (retired)

Leo Penne has had over three decades of experience with the development and implementation of public policies and programs in the areas of freight transportation, intergovernmental relations, economic development, public finance and livability. Penne served (2001-2013) as Program Director for Intermodal and Industry Activities at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). He established and directed AASHTO’s freight transportation program.

Penne managed and supported AASHTO’s freight committees for trucking, rail, maritime, and intermodal. He was the principal staff for the AASHTO Standing Committee Rail Transportation (SCORT). He developed and managed SCORT’s Annual Meetings and Washington Meetings. He supported the development of AASHTO policy and advocacy on freight and passenger rail and on freight transportation by all modes. He managed the development and publication of reports such as the AASHTO Freight Rail Bottom Line Report, the AASHTO Intercity Passenger Report, and the AASHTO report on Rail Planning Best Practices.

Penne was the AASHTO liaison to the Oversight Committee for the National Cooperative Freight Research Program (NCFRP) of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and has served on a number of TRB project panels. He was the AASHTO representative on the Freight Stakeholders Coalition and was a member of AASHTO-FHWA freight transportation scan teams to Europe, Latin America and China and a contributor to the scan reports.

Penne received the FHWA Administrator’s Public Service Award in July 2013, “in recognition of your outstanding contributions to the advancement of freight transportation, which is critical to our economic future, and for your efforts to enhance freight capacity within State Departments of Transportation.”

Prior to joining AASHTO Penne held positions with the State of Nevada, Public Technology Inc., the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National League of Cities/U.S Conference of Mayors and was President of R. Leo Penne Associates, Inc.

Philip Mortimer - Director, TruckTrain Industries

Philip Mortimer provides OnTrackAmerica with experienced international expertise. Philip is the lead partner and Director of Truck Train Brokerage, a project sponsored by the UK Technology Strategy Board, examining the business systems and IT involved in the modal split of intermodal traffic between UK ports and inland destinations. Since 1997, Philip has been project director for TruckTrain Industries, a family of innovative vehicle concepts designed to move seamlessly between road and rail systems. In his recent PhD program, Philip has been a research associate on various projects including an assessment of the design resilience of stations and passenger rolling stock to blast damage and survivability, European Commission-sponsored rail development projects for new services, urban freight logistics (Bestufs & Freightwise), and the development of new rail freight services between Rotterdam & Constanza involving a review of regulatory frameworks and compliance with EU rail reform packages. Philip has written extensively for a wide variety of industry and academic publications.

Theodore Prince - Principal, T. Prince & Associates LLC

Theodore Prince – Principal, T. Prince & Associates LLC

Passenger Rail

James Coston - Chairman, Corridor Capital LLC

James Coston is a Chicago attorney with extensive experience in equipment leasing and lease finance, and founder in 2004 of Corridor Capital LLC. In 1969, while still in high school, he testified before the Interstate Commerce Commission to protest the Penn Central Railroad’s petition to eliminate all passenger-train service between Chicago and the East. Following his ICC testimony, and again while still in high school, Mr. Coston and two friends founded the Twentieth Century Railroad Club in order to preserve the heritage of American passenger rail service and prepare the ground for a modern, federally financed passenger-rail industry. In 1980, Mr. Coston transformed the Twentieth Century Railroad Club from a membership organization into a retail travel business specializing in group travel in privately owned luxury railroad cars hauled behind Amtrak trains, as well as entire special trains chartered from Amtrak for weekend day trips from Chicago into the rural Midwest. In 2000, Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle appointed Mr. Coston to a newly formed panel, the Amtrak Reform Council, where Mr. Coston served until its statutory expiration in 2002.

Bob Leilich - Railroad Advocate and Consultant

Mr. Leilich, has over 45 years of railroad transportation and consulting experience. Clients included railroads, shippers, financial institutions state and federal government agencies, and operators of passenger and commuter rail services. His principal skills are in operations strategic planning, railroad economics and finance, and transportation costing – all involving freight, commuter, passenger, and High Speed Rail (HSR). In 2011, he spent a month studying HSR operations in China and Taiwan, meeting with numerous HSR managers, government officials, academic leaders, and consultants.

As a part-time faculty member of the University of Illinois, he was responsible for the development of the operating plan and estimating revenues and operating and maintenance costs of proposed HSR operations between Chicago and St. Louis. He also lectured and helped educate graduate students on railroad operational and economic subjects. Earlier, he worked with the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority to review studies of building HSR along the I-26 and I-70 highway corridors

Mr. Leilich has served as a management advisor and consultant to the Board of Directors and senior management of the Alaska Railroad. He also worked with many commuter authorities, State DOT’s, Amtrak, and freight railroads on commuter and passenger rail issues. He helped a number of investors and operators start up 13 successful short line and regional railroads throughout the US. His company’s proprietary modeling software was used to study line capacity problems throughout North America and many other countries around the world.

Mr. Leilich has testified as an expert railroad witness in several federal and district courts, the former Interstate Commerce Commission (now Surface Transportation Board) and state public utility commissions. He has co-authored several books on railroading and was a frequent writer for industry trade magazines on railroad operations, economics, and line capacity management.

He was the founder and owner of two successful rail consulting and software development companies, Corporate Strategies, Inc. (CSI) and TrainMaster, Inc. CSI was sold to a subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway and the assets and proprietary software of TrainMaster, Inc were sold to a Michigan technology development company.

Mr. Leilich also spent ten years in rail consulting and management positions with the former Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. (now KPMG) and A. T. Kearney, Inc.

His railroad experience includes some engineering development work with the former Southern Railway (now Norfolk Southern) and service as a locomotive fireman and qualified engineer with the former Santa Fe (now BNSF Railroad). After completing college, he spent a number of years in staff and line management positions with the Santa Fe. He earlier served in the Navy as the Chief Engineer aboard a naval destroyer.

Mr. Leilich and his wife of over 50 years now live in The Woodlands, Texas to be close to their son, daughter, and grandchildren.

Public Sector Planning

Dr. Stephen Blank - Co-Chair, North American Transportation Competitiveness Research Council

Dr. Stephen Blank is Co-Chair of the North American Transportation Competitiveness Research Council and is the Director of the North American Center for Transborder Studies at Arizona State University. He recently retired as a professor of international business and management at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. Previously, he served as director of the Lubin Center for International Business Development and founded the Pan American Partnership for Business Education, an alliance of four North American business schools. Blank is currently the President of the Mid-Atlantic Committee of New York City and a member of the Executive of the North-American Committee and the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Higher Education in North America. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2002, Stephen Blank was awarded l’Ordre National du Quebec.

Dr. Gene Griffin - Principal, Global Innovative Solutions

Dr. Gene Griffin has over 30 years of experience in transportation and logistics, and has conducted research in economics, management, business logistics and public policy related to rail and motor transport, low-volume roads, economic development, rural transit, and agricultural transportation. He served as director of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute since 1980 until 2012 and was responsible for the Institute’s nine research and outreach programs as well as the graduate and undergraduate education programs. During his tenure as director, the UGPTI gained national stature in its focus area of small urban and rural transportation and logistics. Gene continues his involvement in research and has published numerous reports and journal articles.

Doug Plachcinski - Senior Transportation Planner, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Doug Plachcinski is a planner with 15+ years of experience in the areas of local zoning and planning administration, transportation planning and modeling, corridor studies, farmland and open space preservation, hazard mitigation planning, property investigation and entitlement, and capital improvement programming. His work is committed to practical outcomes, empowerment, and consensus-building.

Doug graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography concentrated in Urban Studies and History. He went on to earn a Master of Science in Civil Engineering concentrated in Transportation Systems from Wayne State University in 2004. He also took classes in Urban and Regional Planning at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Eastern Michigan University. He participated in several courses at the University of Michigan towards a postgraduate certificate in Real Estate Development.

Currently, he manages the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission’s Long Range Transportation Planning process for a second five-year cycle, develops programs for highway safety improvements, and conducts pavement management studies. He has experience as principal planning/program administrator at local and regional government agencies as well as in private consulting. His experience also includes coordination with stormwater management protocol and sensitive environmental features protection. As the Planning Director for West Bloomfield, Michigan he lead an inclusive public process for the development of a flexible form-based zoning code for the Orchard Lake Road corridor, the principal regional retail corridor within the community.

Mr. Plachcinski was an Adjunct Professor within the Urban Planning program at Wayne State University (Transportation Planning and Policy), Eastern Michigan University (Transportation Geography), and participated in the development of education resources through the Michigan Chapter of the American Planning Association. He recently signed on as a contributor to and freelances relevant community planning projects when he is not spending time with his family or participating in recreational running events across the country.

Hon. Rod Diridon, Sr. - Emeritus Executive Director, Mineta Transportation Institute

Rod Diridon, the son of an immigrant Italian railroad brakeman, is the “father” of modern transit service in California’s Silicon Valley (Santa Clara County). His political career began in 1972 as the youngest person ever elected to the Saratoga City Council. He recently retired because of term limits, after completing 20 years and six terms as chairperson of both the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and Transit Board. Rod is Emeritus Executive Director of the Norman Y. Mineta International Institute for Surface Transportation Policy Studies created by Congress in 1991. Also Rod served as President of the Council of University Transportation Centers.

Dr. Maury Klein - Professor of History, University of Rhode Island

Dr. Maury Klein, professor of history at the University of Rhode Island, is one of America’s foremost railroad historians. He is author of thirteen books, including Union Pacific: Volume I, 1862-1893, published by the University of Minnesota Press, and Unfinished Business: the Railroad in American Life, published by the University Press of New England. His books The Life and Legend of E.H. Harriman, The Flowering of the Third America: The Making of an Organizational Society, and The Life and Legend of Jay Gould were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Anthony V. Mannino, Attorney-at-Law

Tony Mannino serves on the board of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA), and is also a member of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Goods Movement Task Force. He is currently Special Counsel to Pennsylvania state Senator Larry Farnese.

His background in government provides a unique view on the intersection of public policy and transportation needs from the perspective of elected officials, end users, and community stakeholders.

From 2008-2015 he served as Chief of Staff to Senator Farnese, where he worked closely on improving port infrastructure and promoting a variety of transit-oriented developments in Philadelphia. He also focused on advocacy for the expansion of fixed rail infrastructure and alternative fuel mass transit.

From 2006-2008 he was Chief of Staff to state Rep. Bryan Lentz in Delaware County, where he helped draft legislation to advance the regional coordination of airport infrastructure and promote greater use of short distance passenger rail.

Prior to his public service, he spent more than a decade in the private sector as an attorney in the commercial litigation field.

Rail Labor

Ken Kertesz - State Legislative Chairman, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

Ken Kertesz has been a full-time Locomotive Engineer in freight service and an active Union Officer in the BLET since 1974. He currently serves as State Legislative Chairman for Pennsylvania, BLET-Teamsters Rail Conference. He also serves as Vice President of the PA AFL-CIO Executive Council, now in his 3rd term.

Daniel Burgess - Local Chairman, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, Division 456

Rail Operations

Charles Banks - President, R. L. Banks & Associates Inc.

Charles Banks, President of R. L. Banks & Associates Inc., has focused on railroad negotiations strategic planning and evaluating the economics of financing the acquisition, expansion and rehabilitation of numerous short line and regional railroads. When evaluating intermodal and intramodal transport competition and other modal choices, Mr. Banks has interviewed hundreds of the largest existing and prospective rail customers on the I&M Rail Link, Wisconsin Central Ltd., Iowa Interstate Railroad, Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad and more than a dozen other enterprises as well as many large industrial customers served by Class I railroads. On behalf of seven public sector clients including the Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside County Transportation Commissions, and the Maryland MTA, Mr. Banks has completed or is presently undertaking or directing prospective line sale tasks including evaluating alternative access arrangements, valuations and title research. In the eleven years before joining RLBA, Mr. Banks was responsible for intercity, commuter rail and joint terminal operations at the United States Railway Association and worked in the Strategic Planning and Finance Departments at Conrail, the Executive Department at SP and two other rail carriers.

John Gohmann - President & Chairman, Minnesota Commercial Railway Company

John Gohmann began his full time transportation career in 1965 as a trainman/conductor in Iowa. He earned a BA in Business from Coe College in 1969, and an MBA from Governors State University (Illinois) in 1977. Gohmann has held several management positions with various rail carriers in operations, labor relations and cost analysis, served as Carrier Member of the National Railroad Adjustment Board representing rail management in national rail labor arbitration. In various consulting and oversight roles, he played a substantial role in the formation of many shortline and regional railroads and line feasibility studes in the 1980’s and 1990’s, was a founder of what is now known as Chicago Rail Link and Iowa Northern Railway, and Minnesota Commercial Railway. He has authored several books and papers on the history of the Railway Labor Act, rail-labor relations, and transportation economics.

Ron Lindsey - Principal, Communication Architecture

Ron Lindsey has 34 years in the rail industry, of which 14 years were in rail management including Chief Engineer Communications at Conrail, and Director Advanced Train Control at CSX. He has worked for 19 years as an independent consultant with a focus on the strategic deployment of technologies, performing market studies and providing strategic planning for railroads and suppliers alike. He is in his 13th year of publishing a quarterly journal, Full Spectrum, which is subscribed to by the FRA, Class Is and major suppliers. In 2008 he performed a strategic wireless study across the industry, sponsored by the FRA. He has been published in Progressive Railroading, Vehicular Technology, the Journal of Transportation, as well as currently being a Contributing Editor for Railway Age.

Ed Burkhardt - President, RailWorld Inc.

Ed Burkhardt is President of Rail World, Inc. and Rail World Holdings LLC, which hold railway investments worldwide. Mr. Burkhardt is President of The San Luis Central Railroad and serves on the Board of Directors of the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway. He is also Chairman of Rail Polska (Poland) and Navirail (Estonia). Prior to his creation of Rail World in 1999, Mr. Burkhardt founded and for 12 years served as Chairman, President and CEO of Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation (WCTC) and also served as President of WCTC’s Canadian subsidiary, Algoma Central Railway, Inc. During his WCTC tenure, he served as Chairman & CEO of English, Welsh & Scottish Railway (UK); Chairman of Tranz Rail (New Zealand) and Australian Transport Network. Before WCTC, Mr. Burkhardt worked for the Chicago and North Western Transportation Co. for 20 years, where his roles included V.P.-Marketing and V.P.-Operations. In 1999 he was named Railroader of the Year by “Railway Age” magazine, and subsequently in December 1999 “Railway Age” named him one of 16 Railroaders of the Century. Mr. Burkhardt holds a B.S. degree with honors in Industrial Administration from Yale University and studied Rail Transportation at Yale’s Graduate School.

R. Powell Felix - President, Indiana Boxcar Corporation

R. Powell Felix, President of Indiana Boxcar Corporation, is a 30 year veteran of the short line railroad industry. He has founded over a dozen new short lines, including four railroads currently owned or managed by IBC. Mr. Felix has provided Congressional testimony on short line issues and served on the Board of Directors of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. He has real world hands-on experience in all facets of short line railroading, including administration, regulatory compliance, finance and operations, where he remains a Supervising Locomotive Engineer. As a former school teacher, he is involved with training employees for the challenging future of the rail industry and he is considered an authority on railroad history in his home state of Indiana.

Jerome M. Johnson - Executive Management (Retired), BNSF Railway

Jerome M. (Jerry) Johnson is retired from his long-held executive management position at BNSF Railway where he specialized in the planning and execution of rail line sales, leases, abandonments and acquisitions. Between 1996 and 2008, under Jerry’s leadership and direct supervision, BNSF Railway bought, leased or sold over 60 active railroad properties. He now performs consulting services related to rail transportation matters for public and private sector clients. In his most recent engagement, he structured the economic framework of Watco Companies’ successful 2010 bid to operate the 3000 kilometer Western Australia grain gathering network for CBH Group. Jerry is a fourth generation railroader. He holds a BS degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Minnesota, an MS in transportation engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and an MBA from Harvard University.

Shipper Perspective

Jeff Broadfoot - President, Natural Wood Solutions, LLC

Jeff Broadfoot is the President of Natural Wood Solutions, LLC. Previously Jeff was National Accounts Sales Manager for Thompson Industries, Inc. – Treated Wood Products. He was with Thompson since May, 2004 and operated a district Sales Office in Indianapolis, marketing to class one railroads throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as to regional, shortline, transit, industrial and railroad contractor customers in the northern U.S. and Canada. Prior to joining Thompson, he was a Senior Professional Sales Rep for the Forest Products Division of Kerr-McGee Chemical Corporation from 1983 until they closed that Division in 2003. He is the past president of the Railway Tie Association, an organization comprised of members including sawmills, railroads, contractors, tie-treaters, and preservative manufacturers. He currently serves on the executive committee as second-vice president and will be president again in 2011. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forest Management from the University of Missouri at Columbia and also holds a minor in Business.

John Ficker - Principal, JBF Logistics

John Ficker is Principal of JBF Logistics, an independent transportation consultancy based in Phoenix, AZ. He was formerly Senior Vice President for Marketing & Sales at ShipXpress. He began his transportation career as an office manager for Penn Central Railroad and later joined the Southern Pacific Railroad in various sales positions. He spent over 17 years with Weyerhaeuser Company as Southern Transportation Manager in Hot Springs, Arkansas and later as Logistics Development Manager in Federal Way, Washington. He was responsible for contract development and regulatory and legislative issues including lobbying at both the local and national level. John worked with such organizations as CURB, ASCT and The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) to facilitate and support various transportation policy initiatives and legislation. He was the Vice-chairman of the NITL, Vice-President of the Paper and Forest Industry Transportation Committee, and a member of the Puget Sound Freight Mobility Roundtable.

Steve Herr, Owner, Glacier State Distribution Services

Steve Herr has worked within and with the railroad industry his entire career, starting with a summer job in college as a track laborer with the Illinois Terminal. After completing a BA in Transportation Management from UC San Diego he joined Southern Pacific as a management trainee and went into operations planning. Subsequent to an MS Transportation at Northwestern, he worked briefly in Industrial Engineering at Santa Fe, and then went back to SP in their executive department research group, where he costed out “waaaay too many” unit trains and did situational studies. He also got his first taste of marketing at SP, setting rates on a wide variety of goods – everything from Kris Kringle dolls to space shuttle boosters to heavy machinery – and overhauling SP’s boxcar backhaul program in the West Coast I-5 corridor.

He then went to work for the regional Wisconsin & Calumet as the marketing manager handling all commodities, along with the occasional shortline-usual “We need a brakeman for the Waukesha job today.” Steve was eventually promoted to general manager of the WICT in 1992. When it was sold, he continued with the parent company, Chicago West Pullman, but left in 1994 to start his own business, Glacier State Distribution Services, with the overall goal of solving the problem he had seen many times while marketing – that the farthest distance in most potential new rail movements was from the side of the railcar to the side of the customer’s facility. The business began by bidding on state road salt contracts, bringing the salt in by rail and using portable transloading conveyors. As markets changed, the business evolved and now operates a transload terminal in Kenosha, WI, handling water treatment chemicals, metal products, landscaping stone and road salt.

Sustainable Rail Power

Facilitation Team

Online Facilitators

In-Person Facilitators

Industry Experts



Consulting Team

Michael Sussman - President, OnTrackNorthAmerica, and Strategic Rail Finance

Michael Sussman is the founder of OnTrackAmerica, serving as its President and Chairman. He has also been the president of Strategic Rail Finance since its inception in 1994. Mr. Sussman has created a comprehensive program for expanding private and public sector capitalization of rail and intermodal transportation projects. In the last twenty years, he has coordinated financing for projects in 35 states. During twelve years of work with the federal government, Michael has preserved the autonomy to speak and act in the best interests of the transportation industry and the country by self-funding all of Strategic Rail’s government relations activities in Washington and across the United States. Michael has convened two transportation industry briefings in the U.S. Capitol Building, most recently on December 11, 2008 with thirty industry and government leaders.

Ron Lindsey - Owner, Communication Architecture

Ron has 40+ years in the industry both as railroad management and as an independent consultant. He has held the positions of Chief Engineer Communications at Conrail (when Class I) and Director of Advanced Train Control at CSX. In this latter position he was the architect for the first overlay PTC system that has provided the basis for the PTC systems being pursued by the Class I’s to meet a Federal mandate. Additionally Ron just completed a major study of the Egyptian National Railways in which he designed a new traffic control, traffic management, and enforcement approach, referred to as Virtual CTC + Enforcement, that can greatly improve the efficiency and safety of the railroad. His team is now engaged by Kazakhstan’s railroad (KTZ) to advance the efficiency and safety of that railroad’s dependence on Soviet-era CTC. In addition to publishing his quarterly journal Full Spectrum for 15 years Ron has been published in the Journal of Transportation, Progressive Railroading, and IEEE’s Vehicular Technologies. He is currently a Contributing Editor for Railway Age and a frequently a speaker at railroad conferences.

George List - Professor of Civil Engineering, North Carolina State University

Dr. George F. List, PhD, PE, has 35 years of experience in both academia and consulting and is a nationally recognized scholar for his work in network operations modeling and control, freight network planning, and asset management.

Dr. List began his career working for Transportation and Distribution Associates and led simulation based assessments of the operation of the Northeast Corridor, the Powder River Basin coal line, rail lines in New York State, on the Long Island Rail Road, SEPTA, and New Jersey Transit. He also participated in the FRA sponsored analyses of freight car scheduling and valuation of ConRail.

More recently he has led major projects focused on logistics, especially the use of infrastructure investments to help encourage economic development and job growth. These include the North Carolina Statewide Logistics Plan and the Seven Portals Project. He is presently part of the team preparing the state rail plan for North Carolina.

Another significant part of Dr. List’s research work focuses on highway network operations. Dr. List led the team that developed the guidebook for creating travel time reliability monitoring systems. Such systems will become a basic element in multi-modal decision support systems that provide the performance-based system assessments mandated by MAP-21. Dr. List also focuses on optimal real-time control strategies for congested networks and hardware components and systems that can implement these control strategies.

Leo Penne - Program Director, Freight Transportation and Economic Development at AASHTO (retired)

Leo Penne has had over three decades of experience with the development and implementation of public policies and programs in the areas of freight transportation, intergovernmental relations, economic development, public finance and livability. Penne served (2001-2013) as Program Director for Intermodal and Industry Activities at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). He established and directed AASHTO’s freight transportation program.

Penne managed and supported AASHTO’s freight committees for trucking, rail, maritime, and intermodal. He was the principal staff for the AASHTO Standing Committee Rail Transportation (SCORT). He developed and managed SCORT’s Annual Meetings and Washington Meetings. He supported the development of AASHTO policy and advocacy on freight and passenger rail and on freight transportation by all modes. He managed the development and publication of reports such as the AASHTO Freight Rail Bottom Line Report, the AASHTO Intercity Passenger Report, and the AASHTO report on Rail Planning Best Practices.

Penne was the AASHTO liaison to the Oversight Committee for the National Cooperative Freight Research Program (NCFRP) of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and has served on a number of TRB project panels. He was the AASHTO representative on the Freight Stakeholders Coalition and was a member of AASHTO-FHWA freight transportation scan teams to Europe, Latin America and China and a contributor to the scan reports.

Penne received the FHWA Administrator’s Public Service Award in July 2013, “in recognition of your outstanding contributions to the advancement of freight transportation, which is critical to our economic future, and for your efforts to enhance freight capacity within State Departments of Transportation.”

Prior to joining AASHTO Penne held positions with the State of Nevada, Public Technology Inc., the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National League of Cities/U.S Conference of Mayors and was President of R. Leo Penne Associates, Inc.

Michael Koontz - Social & Environmental Benefits/Costs Consultant, Strategic Rail Finance, Federal Highway Administration CMAQ Program Manager (retired)

Michael Koontz leads Strategic Rail Finance’s Social and Environmental Costs-Benefits practice, specializing in producing socioeconomic impact analyses to accompany USDOT TIGER, CMAQ, and RRIF funding applications. Mike managed the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program with the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation from 2001 until 2014. As program manager, he implemented CMAQ, guiding an annual investment of more than $2 billion over three transportation authorizations. He also authored detailed program guidance and a number of legislative interpretations involving the $30-billion, 20-year program. Prior to his role as CMAQ manager, Mike was a transportation planner for the FHWA and served for six years as a transportation network capacity analyst.

David P. Simpson - Principal, David P. Simpson Consultants, LLC

Mr. Simpson leads a small, multi-functional rail generalist consulting practice, with a balanced and equal interest in freight and passenger rail issues. A twenty-three year veteran of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Simpson held a varied portfolio with that carrier overseeing capital budgets, cost-benefit assessments and railway costing issues. Simpson authored a comprehensive network rationalization plan for Canadian Pacific’s US operations, leading a series of line sale and lease transactions that focused capital resources on the core CP network. He also led CPR’s planning interface with public agencies as related to proposals for new shared-use passenger operations.

Simpson was a co-author of NCHRP 657, a Guidebook for Implementation of Passenger Services in Shared Use Corridors published in June of 2012. He also chairs the Intercity Passenger Rail Committee of the Transportation Research Board.

Libby Ogard - Transportation/Trucking/Railroad Consultant and Contractor

Libby Ogard is an expert Rail Industry consultant specializing in intermodal development and operations.

Ms. Ogard spent 18 years in the railroad industry working for Burlington Northern and Conrail in intermodal and carload marketing.

Prior to that at Schneider National Ms. Ogard automated revenue settlements between railroads and the trucking company. Ms. Ogard managed a team of 12 associates to launch the Optimodal, non-asset based, intermodal network.

Ms. Ogard is a past board member of the IANA and has served as President of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, Chicago Roundtable. Libby serves on the Freight Committee for Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), and is a member of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Freight working group. She also serves on the Illinois State Freight Advisory Committee on the data and technology task force. Ms. Ogard is actively involved in Transportation Research Board and she has co-authored a number of papers and research projects concerning intermodal terminal assessments, mode conversion, highway pavement damage and is an expert in trucking operations, size and weight policy issues.





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