NRC and REMSA member company Willamette Valley Company hosted U.S. Representative Julia Letlow (R-LA, 5th District) for a tour of its facility in Pineville, LA, which manufactures and repairs track components for the railway industry.
U.S. Rep. Letlow serves on the House Committee on Appropriations and holds seats on the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and on the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. Letlow took office in April 2021 and is the first woman to represent the state in the House of Representatives in 30 years, and is Louisiana's first Republican woman elected to Congress.
Rob Loomis, vice president of performance products, of Willamette Valley and REMSA Board Member, led an employee meeting with Letlow and a tour through the manufacturing facility. “It was an honor hosting Representative Letlow and her staff at our facility today. Getting the opportunity to tour our facility, discuss the state of the rail and supply chain in Louisiana, and having our employees get the chance to interface with a Member of Congress was a terrific experience,” said Loomis. “Also, getting the chance to hear directly from the Congresswoman about the happenings in D.C. and her new exciting committee assignment was very interesting,” continued Loomis.
Rep. Letlow and those participating on the tour talked about the current supply chain issues, the importance of the critical infrastructure designation during the COVID-19 pandemic to the company’s employees, and how the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) rollout will continue to play out. “The supply chain crisis is one of the top concerns we have in Congress,” Rep. Letlow said. “I appreciate the opportunity to meet with some of the employees at Williamette Valley’s Pineville location who are working to address this problem and keep critical goods flowing throughout our region.”
Established in 1952, Willamette Valley Company has been in the wood products industry since their inception, and also manufactures and distributes a wide variety of custom products and services throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America. Their expertise and solutions now include innovative coatings, fillers, adhesives, robotics, parts, engineering, and much more across more than a dozen industries and specialties. Willamette Valley Company is a member of the Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA) and the NRC (National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC), two U.S. trade associations that advocate on behalf of railroad contractors and suppliers. Additionally, Rob Loomis of Willamette Valley Company serves on REMSA’s board of directors.
In addition to Loomis, other Willamette Valley Company employees attending the event included John Murray, CEO and president, Donny Arrington, director of sales & marketing, Barbra Ryder, director of supply chain, Derek Descant, director of safety & health, Theresa Waugh, president of Eclectic Products, Brian Jeansonne, Urethane production manager. Mike McGonagle, NRC vice president of operations and REMSA grassroots event manager, also participated in the event.
About REMSA - REMSA’s mission is to provide global business development opportunities, to transfer knowledge about markets, products and the industry to members and their customers, and to support the initiatives advancing the North American railroad industry. REMSA was created in 1965 by the merger of the Association of Track and Structure Suppliers and the National Railway Appliances Association, two long-standing organizations in the railroad maintenance-of-way industry. The association represents companies and individuals who manufacture or sell maintenance-of-way equipment, products, and services, or are engineers, contractors and consultants working in construction and/or maintenance of railroad transportation facilities. REMSA members constitute a large part of the maintenance-of-way industry. For more information visit: www.remsa.org.
About the NRC - The NRC is a U.S. trade association that advances the mutual interests of railway contractors and suppliers who construct, maintain and supply freight railroads and rail-transit and passenger lines. Founded in 1978, the NRC connects members with other railway industry professionals and government officials and policy makers. The NRC collaborates with its members, government, and industry leaders to create a positive business climate and to make railway construction and maintenance safer and more efficient. For more information visit: www.nrcma.org.
"The grassroots event we hosted was incredibly worthwhile. The Senate staffers who attended got a firsthand look at a manufacturing facility and now appreciate how important our operation is to the rail industry. Our employees participated in the information exchange and better understand the significance of the work they perform."
Vice President, Marketing