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Author: AREMA

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The American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) is the leading professional association for railway engineers working together to further the development and advancement of both technical and practical knowledge in the railway industry. Come “roll with AREMA” as we chat with Members from every aspect of the Association. Each episode will contain entertaining and informative stories from our members about their time in the Association and how it has advanced their careers. Hosted By: Walt Bleser, PE, President, ARE Corporation. Information on the railway industry is provided as a service to our members but does not represent an endorsement. Subscribe to your favorite listening service to get episode notifications.
34 Episodes
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In this episode, Walt talks with Keith Bailey, Co-Founder of Articulated Intelligence, who you may recognize as the AREMA Annual Conference emcee. He helps people who have great ideas become better communicators. Keith shares strategies for effective communication emphasizing the power of stories. They are the gift we give to the audience. He also provides tips on making your presentation the most impactful for your audience, you are more than your slides. It’s an episode with practical advic...
In this episode, Walt chats with Luv Sehgal (Senior Rail Engineer, ARUP). A native of India, Luv grew up surrounded by the world’s fourth-largest railway network, making it easy to fall in love with rail as a kid. He took that passion and propelled it into an accomplished engineering career. From winning the CEEAA Young Alumni Achievement Award presented by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to becoming a frequent presenter at the AREMA Annual Conference, he’s done a lot in his short...
This episode, Walt chats with League of Railway Women 2023 Railway Woman of the Year Kari Gonzales, President & CEO, MxV Rail. The pair discuss transitioning and rebranding MxV Rail (formerly TTCI) from an FRA-managed testing facility to the world’s premier advisory for the rail industry. They’ll also consider the value and importance of maintaining independent testing and research. Finally, we’ll discover what’s behind the name MxV Rail. Be sure to brush up on your Newtonian mechanics be...
2024 Hiring Trends

2024 Hiring Trends

2024-02-1443:41

Soft skills, that little extra something.…what does it take to match the right person to the right job in the rail industry? Hiring qualified employees is critical in the railroad industry, these two guests are at the forefront. Kevin Forrest, Talent Advisor at CSX, and Andrew Stahl, Founder of Stahl Recruiting, understand the ins and outs of the rail industry, what companies are looking for, and how to set yourself apart from the crowd. Railroading is a lifestyle and the whole person matters...
The AREMA 2024 Sustainability & Resiliency Symposium is almost here. On this first episode of Season 4 and the New Year, Walt chats with two key members of the event's success: Ned Bagniewski, PE, ENV SP (HDR), and Leo Thorbecke (TRC). The trio talks about some of the exciting changes in rail around sustainability, resiliency, and the events planned for the first-of-its-kind Symposium. Changes are here. Hop on board the Symposium before you get left behind.
We end 2023 with a look ahead to 2024. This episode, Walt chats with Ashley Wieland, President of The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) about their upcoming Conference in January 2024 and what’s in store for NRC in the future. The duo discusses the safety resources NRC provides its members and the industry as well as its role in connecting industry professionals with policy makers. It’s important to be at the table so you don’t end up on the menu. The...
In this episode, Walt chats with the winners of the 2023 Dr. William W. Hay Award about their project “Merchants Bridge Main Span Trusses & East Approach Replacement.” Crossing the Mississippi River and originally built in 1890 by attorney turned engineer George Morisson, the Merchants Bridge is the second oldest bridge in St. Louis and has exceeded its design life. This innovative project was undertaken to bring it up to today’s design standards. Eric Fields (Terminal Railroad Associatio...
As seasons change, so do the terms of Association Officers. On this episode, Walt chats with outgoing AREMA President Trent Hudak, PE, Director Engineering Services, BNSF Railway, and incoming AREMA President, current Senior Vice President Ray Verrelle, PE, Vice President Engineering Services, Amtrak. The trio discusses the importance of goal setting when taking on a new role. How a one-year term as president is a three-year assignment, so having a plan is vital. The importance of leveraging ...
On this episode, Walt continues his exploration of other Associations with Nate Irby, Executive Director of the Railway Tie Association (RTA). They consider the impact Association membership can have on a career, especially for a young professional. Tip: Immerse yourself and say yes! They also discuss the value of member testimonials and the importance of having strong industry competitors and allies. In the rail industry, the things that tie us together are stronger than those that tear us a...
On this episode, Walt chats with rail industry icon Tony Hatch, Senior Transportation Analyst, ABH Consulting. With over 30 years of experience as an independent transportation analyst, he wants to change the dynamics of railroads and the current public perception of the industry through the power of accurate information. Hatch pulls no punches as the duo discuss the latest news and events on everyone’s mind. From derailments and safety to changes in the C-Suite at Class 1s to the bright futu...
We are back after a brief hiatus with a question. What do you know about short lines and other regional railroads? There’s more to rail than the cross-country trek; short lines represent a crucial, somewhat unknown, part of North American infrastructure. This episode host Walt Bleser chats with American Short Line and Railroad Association (ASLRRA) President, Chuck Baker. Together they lift the veil on the regional railroads that represent nearly 30% of the American railroad network. They’ll a...
What exactly are the AREMA Functional Groups? What role do they play in shaping the content we see at the Annual Conference and in our Manuals? In this episode, Walt sets out to answer those questions and others with two of the newest Functional Group leaders. Mike Atzert (Burns & McDonnell) is a Director of the Engineering Services Functional Group and has over 20 years of experience as a consultant in the rail industry. David C. Clark (CSX Transportation) is the Track Functional Group V...
In this first episode of the new year, host Walt Bleser chats with Dava Kaitala and Mark Coleman, two active Committee 13 – Environmental committee members about sustainability in the railroad industry. Dava Kaitala is the National Class 1 Rail Vice President for Jacobs and holds a JD from Texas Tech University. Mark Coleman is the Director of Advanced Energy at TRC and holds an MS in Environmental Management and Policy from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Together the trio discusses the di...
On this episode, Walt chats with AREMA members James Michel (Railway Safety and Risk Management Consultant) and Thomas Cornille (Independent Consultant and former Watford Fellow), two members of the US Watford Committee as they share their experiences with the Watford Conference, an international conference for railroad professionals and on other international educational opportunities in the rail industry. In rail, your career is only bounded by your curiosity, so hope on board as we t...
Are you a student looking to find your career path? While you may not have even considered railroading, let us put it on your radar. Many of the engineering (yes, even civil), technical, and communications fields apply to the railroading industry and there are resources available to students to help them find their way. In this episode, Walt Bleser chats with Bryan Schlake an Assistant Teaching Professor at Penn State-Altoona, and recent Penn State-Altoona graduate Gary Babcoke now a Pr...
The AREMA 2022 Annual Conference & Expo has come and gone, but not without talking to the two major players in making sure the event goes off without a hitch. On this episode, we talk to AREMA staff, Beth Caruso, IOM, CAE, Executive Director and CEO, and Desiree Knight, CAE, CMP, DES, Senior Director, Education and Meetings to hear the ins and outs of the Annual Conference. How long does it take to plan these things? Did they love the music as much as everyone else? What was it like...
The AREMA 2022 Annual Conference & Expo is almost here! On this episode, Walt chats with two members who play key roles in the success of the event. Mike Freeman, PE (Union Pacific) is President of the AREMA Board of Governors and Joe Bamert, PE (Norfolk Southern Corporation) serves as chair of the Conference Operating Committee which provides valuable volunteers for the Conference. The trio talk about some of the exciting changes planned for the first in-person Conference in two years an...
On this episode, Walt chats with Frank Miller, PE (AECOM), and Kevin Hicks, PE (TranSystems) two outgoing members of the Functional Group Board of Directors, the group that manages the technical committee operations for AREMA. Between them, they have over 60 years of experience in committee work and committee leadership. They’ll discuss the ability to drive the industry through committee membership and the importance of having a voice. They’ll also discuss the role of a Functional Group Vice ...
It’s a family affair on this episode as host Walt Bleser chats with two generations of AREMA members about the different paths they took to a career in civil engineering. William “Bill” Riehl, III, Chief Engineer Structures, Genesee & Wyoming has over 35 years of experience in the rail industry, and his son William “Will” Riehl, IV, Territory Sales Engineer, Atlantic Track Turnout is days away from completing his first year. Father and son share more than a love of model trains, they both...
Does the railroad industry have an identity issue? How do employers rebrand post “The Great Resignation”? How can railroads of all types draw the best talent when faced with fierce competition from tech and other areas of transportation? In this episode, Walt tackles these questions with Michele Malski, founder of Succession Planning for Railroads Investing in the Next Generation (SPRING LLC). As a recruiter for railroads and a second-generation railroader herself, Michele has firsthand insig...
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