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NRC Names Ashley Wieland as President
 
NRC Names Ashley Wieland as President

JULY 09, 2019 – The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) has named Ashley Wieland as President of the association. 

Ashley previously worked for the NRC in a variety of capacities, including responsibilities that covered operations, conference planning, government affairs, and grassroots events.

Most recently, she served as Director of State Government Relations for the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) where she built the association’s state government relations program from the ground up.

“I’m thrilled to be back with the NRC and honored to have the privilege to run this great organization,” said Wieland. “I look forward to getting back to work serving the needs of the nation’s rail contractors and suppliers.”
 
“We are excited to have Ashley back on our team to lead the NRC,” NRC Chairman Mike Choat, of Wabtec, said in a statement. “On behalf of the entire NRC Board, we are confident she will guide our organization to many future successes.”
 
Matt Ginsberg, President of TGA Association Management Solutions, the NRC’s management and government affairs firm, said, “Ashley brings a depth of knowledge to the NRC and its mission as well as a wealth of experience in the association and government affairs realms; she will be an asset to the NRC for many years to come.” 

 
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NRC Hires TGA AMS for Government Affairs, Assn. Management Services
 
JUNE 04, 2019 – The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC), the rail industry’s premier construction and maintenance organization, is pleased to announce the hiring of TGA Association Management Solutions, LLC (TGA AMS) for government affairs and association management services. 
 
The NRC Executive Committee is thrilled to have TGA AMS President Matt Ginsberg return to the organization. Matt previously worked with the association in many roles, including operations, conference planning, and regulatory and government affairs.
 
“Matt Ginsberg knows our industry inside and out, and the NRC was fortunate to grow under his leadership when he served our association some years ago,” Chairman Mike Choat, of Wabtec, said in a statement following an announcement to the NRC membership. “Your Board of Directors is always thinking about what is best for our member companies, and we are confident that our recent decisions are in the best interest of the association.”
 
“I’m excited to work with the NRC again and look forward to a successful partnership for many years to come,” Matt Ginsberg said of the decision.  
 
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House Railroad Subcommittee Ranking Member Rick Crawford 
Visits the 2019 NRC Railroad Equipment Auction 
 
LONOKE, AR - Today, Congressman Rick Crawford (R-AR-01), ranking member of the U.S. House Railroad subcommittee, joined the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) at the 16th annual NRC Railroad Equipment Auction. The auction was hosted by our NRC member company Blackmon Auctions at their facility in Lonoke, Arkansas. Congressman Crawford toured the auction, addressed attendees and discussed the importance of the short line tax credit, freight rail transportation, ratifying USMCA and free trade policies. 
 
Thomas Blackmon of Blackmon Auctions, the NRC Board of Directors, & the NRC auction committee with Congressman Crawford.
 
 
Each spring, the NRC hosts an annual railroad construction and maintenance equipment auction. Today's auction included more than 300 pieces of equipment and brought in a record financial amount for the the NRC Safety & Education Training program. The NRC Safety & Education Training program allows NRC to continue to strengthen its efforts to ensure the safety of employees of railroad contractors and everyone in the rail industry, holds the annual NRC Contractor Safety Award contest, and continues to produce safety material like the safety manuals and the NRC safety video series (25 and counting!). Click here to view all results for today's auction.
 
 
Congressman Crawford talks about railroad and trade policy with members of the NRC board. 
 
NRC member Blackmon Auctions is a third-generation family owned small business located in Lonoke, Arkansas. The first Blackmon Auction was conducted in 1938 and three generations later Blackmon remains family owned and operated. The company went from a regional farm auction company to an internationally respected auction company. Blackmon Auctions has been the auction provider for every NRC auction over the last 16 years. 
 
Congressman Crawford addresses attendees at the 2019 NRC Railroad Equipment Auction. 
 
Congressman Crawford participated in a brief policy discussion which highlighted the importance of international trade and the need for the 116th Congress to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Attendees also thanked Congressman Crawford for co-sponsoring H.R. 510, the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act. If passed by Congress, the BRACE Act will allow the nation's small, local freight railroads to increase their reinvestment for upgrades and expanding the "first and last mile" of transportation infrastructure. 
 
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NRC Member Geismar North America Hosts Congressman Joe Cunningham 
 
BEAUFORT, SC - On Wednesday, April 17th, the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC), along with Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA), and our joint member company Geismar North America hosted Congressman Joe Cunningham (D-SC-1) for a tour of their facility in Beaufort, SC.  
 
"It was a pleasure to tour Geismar North America's headquarters and manufacturing facility in Beaufort today," said Rep. Joe Cunningham. "Geismar North America plays an important role in Beaufort's economy and I look forward to continuing to work with all the stakeholders involved to maintain strong relationships with our business and transportation industries." 
 
It was a privilege to host Congressman Cunningham at our headquarters here in Beaufort," commented Geismar North America President Al Reynolds. "We thank him for meeting with our employees and seeing firsthand how their hard work contributes to to the economy in South Carolina."
 
Geismar North America is a manufacturer and distributor of high-quality railway maintenance equipment that has been serving the North American railroad industry, exclusively, for over 40 years.  They offer a full selection of maintenance of way equipment from gas, hydraulic and electric tools, measurement instruments, OHL equipment, tampers, tie-inserters as well as a range of road-rail and steel-wheeled personnel and material transport vehicles.  Geismar North America recently opened a 47,000-square foot headquarters and manufacturing facility in Beaufort, South Carolina.   
 
The Congressman participated in a brief policy discussion which highlighted the importance of international trade and the need for the 116th Congress to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The NRC highlighted the concern of no section 232 tariff protections and noted that the United States should not be imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada. 
 
Attendees also discussed with the Congressman the importance of BUILD American and the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act, which, if passed by Congress, will allow the nation's small, local freight railroads to increase their reinvestment for upgrades and expanding the "first and last mile" of transportation infrastructure. 
 
"The short line railroad tax credit, which would be made permanent by the BRACE Act, allows short lines to invest more of their own capital in rail improvements and maintenance to provide ever-safer and more robust service capabilities for their customers," said Chuck Baker, President of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA). "ASLRRA thanks Rep. Cunningham for his support of Geismar North America and other key businesses in the South Carolina 1st that support the rail industry and the entire national economy."
 
The NRC and the Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA) coordinated the event. 
 
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NRC Member Stella-Jones Hosts Congressman James Comer
 
FULTON, KY - On Thursday, April 18th, the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC), along with Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA), and our joint member company Stella-Jones, hosted Congressman James Comer (R-KY-01). Rep. Comer toured Stella-Jones' rail tie facility in Fulton, Kentucky, where 70 employees process more than one million rail ties every year.  
 
"I'm proud to support rail and its related industries and am encouraged by the work being done by Stella-Jones here in Fulton County and throughout western Kentucky," said Congressman James Comer. "Businesses in this industry provide stable, high-quality manufacturing jobs that support the regional economy. For these reasons I am proud to be a co-sponsor of the BRACE Act (H.R. 510), legislation that will aid the rail industry in reinvesting in maintenance of their railways and spur further economic development across the 1st District of Kentucky and the country."
 
"Congressman Comer serves in a crucial role in Washington D.C. and we appreciate his leadership advocating for increased infrastructure investments," said NRC Board member and Stella-Jones Vice President of Marketing George Caric. "Stella-Jones and our employees are extremely proud to create well-paying jobs in Kentucky and we continue to spend the capital needed to improve our facility to provide America's railroads with ties that help their infrastructure."
 
Stella-Jones is a leading manufacturer of pressure treated wood products and plays a key role in the development, upgrade and maintenance of North America's railroad infrastructure, supplying the continent's demand for railway ties and timbers with over 12 million pressure-treated wooden crossties per year. With more than 2,000 employees and 40 facilities strategically located across the United States and Canada, Stella-Jones has the treating capacity, sources of supply and purchasing power to meet the needs of Class 1, Short Line railroads and commercial operators from coast to coast. Their extensive supplier network of over 1,200 hardwood sawmills allows them to offer crossties and switch ties in a variety of sizes.
 
Attendees discussed with the Congressman the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act, which, if passed by Congress, will allow the nation's small, local freight railroads to increase their reinvestment for upgrades and expanding the "first and last mile" of transportation infrastructure. 
 
"The short line railroad tax credit allows short lines to invest more of their own capital in rail improvements and maintenance to provide ever-safer and more robust service capabilities for their customers," said Chuck Baker, President of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA). 
"ASLRRA thanks Representative Comer for his support of Stella-Jones and other key businesses in Kentucky that support the rail industry and the entire national economy."
 
Stella-Jones Plant Manager Andy Pane lead the tour. Attendees included Mike McGonagle from the NRC, Jacob Carter from REMSA, and Will Resch from ASLRRA.

 
NRC Member Geismar North America Hosts Congressman Joe Cunningham 
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BEAUFORT, SC - On Wednesday, April 17th, the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC), along with Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA), and our joint member company Geismar North America hosted Congressman Joe Cunningham (D-SC-1) for a tour of their facility in Beaufort, SC.  
 
"It was a pleasure to tour Geismar North America's headquarters and manufacturing facility in Beaufort today," said Rep. Joe Cunningham. "Geismar North America plays an important role in Beaufort's economy and I look forward to continuing to work with all the stakeholders involved to maintain strong relationships with our business and transportation industries." 
 
It was a privilege to host Congressman Cunningham at our headquarters here in Beaufort," commented Geismar North America President Al Reynolds. "We thank him for meeting with our employees and seeing firsthand how their hard work contributes to to the economy in South Carolina."
 
Geismar North America is a manufacturer and distributor of high-quality railway maintenance equipment that has been serving the North American railroad industry, exclusively, for over 40 years.  They offer a full selection of maintenance of way equipment from gas, hydraulic and electric tools, measurement instruments, OHL equipment, tampers, tie-inserters as well as a range of road-rail and steel-wheeled personnel and material transport vehicles.  Geismar North America recently opened a 47,000-square foot headquarters and manufacturing facility in Beaufort, South Carolina.   
 
The Congressman participated in a brief policy discussion which highlighted the importance of international trade and the need for the 116th Congress to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The NRC highlighted the concern of no section 232 tariff protections and noted that the United States should not be imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada. 
 
Attendees also discussed with the Congressman the importance of BUILD American and the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act, which, if passed by Congress, will allow the nation's small, local freight railroads to increase their reinvestment for upgrades and expanding the "first and last mile" of transportation infrastructure. 
 
"The short line railroad tax credit, which would be made permanent by the BRACE Act, allows short lines to invest more of their own capital in rail improvements and maintenance to provide ever-safer and more robust service capabilities for their customers," said Chuck Baker, President of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA). "ASLRRA thanks Rep. Cunningham for his support of Geismar North America and other key businesses in the South Carolina 1st that support the rail industry and the entire national economy."
 
The NRC and the Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA) coordinated the event. 
 
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NRC Scholarship Committee Announces the 2018-2019 Awards Recipients 
Dedicating Over $20,000 to the
Legacies 
of Our Member Companies' Employees

North Shore Track Services, Loram, and Modern Railway Systems' Nominees Honored

 

The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) is proud to announce the winners of its annual scholarship competition supporting tuition assistance for children or grandchildren of our member companies' employees. After receiving a record number of submissions for the 2018-2019 school year, the selection committee awarded over $20,000 to three college students showing tremendous potential and understanding of the railroad construction and maintenance industry.

 

"These students, studying everything from sciences to rail engineering, all possess the capabilities to play an important part in our field and its inevitable progression," NRC Chairman Mike Choat said in a statement commending the winners. "Technology and changing regulations are constantly reshaping our long-term priorities, which is why the NRC will continue its commitment to future generations and investment in their education to sustain our rail community. Congratulations to these three outstanding young adults and their families, as well as all of the applicants.  We're honored to be a small part of these up-and-coming professionals' futures and looking forward to seeing your successes."

 

The 2018 first place winner of $12,000 is Mr. Gavin Heller of Marquette University.  Previously working as a track laborer and growing up in a contractor-engineering household, Mr. Heller is sponsored this year by his family-owned and NRC member business, North Shore Track Services.  Mr. Heller is in his final year of studying biomedical engineering and plans to pursue medical device technology development and improvement upon completing his degree. 

 

Ms. Sarah Isdahl of the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, received the second-place award of $6,000 after being sponsored by her father's employer and NRC member company, Loram.  Maintaining a 3.7 GPA, Ms. Isdahl is a third-year double major currently studying psychology and Spanish.  Her life ambition is to help others, both professionally and personally, through a career in the mental services field after graduating. 

 

Earning third place out of nearly 50 applicants, the scholarship committee awarded Mr. Charlie Hauser $3,000 toward his tuition at Western Washington University, where he is studying electrical engineering.  His experiences in the rail industry already include PTC documentation and automation scripting, including development of a program he created "for the less tech savvy people to help with testing," as he described. Following matriculation, Mr. Hauser will begin working with NRC member company and application sponsor Modern Railway Systems (MRS), where he first started interning last year.

 

"We had an unprecedentedly qualified group of applicants who certainly made it difficult for us this year, but these three were truly outstanding" NRC Scholarship Committee Chairman and Board Member Joe Daloisio said of the selections. "Their demonstrated knowledge of our railroad and construction maintenance standards and priorities is inspiring for the legacy of the NRC, and we consider it a privilege to support these impressive individuals in this early phase of their careers. Congratulations to all who applied and your many achievements. We're looking forward to another great round of applicants again next year." 

 

NRC Scholarship applications are evaluated annually, with awards sent directly to the selected students at the beginning of the next term of study. Eligible students must be in attendance for a full year following receipt of the award. For more information, or if you would like to review our most recent application, you can download the application and rubric check list, and check our Scholarship Program page at NRCMA.org for the latest award information, including announcements on the 2019-2020 school year scholarship application.

Congratulations! 

 

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NRC Commends WMATA - Silver Line Extension RFP

This week, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced competitive contracting opportunities for the maintenance and operations of the Metrorail Silver Line extension. The National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association (NRC) believes contracting out and introducing competition will dramatically improve outcomes for riders, rail worker safety, and WMATA's ongoing financial situation.
 
"The NRC commends Paul Wiedefeld and the WMATA senior leadership for recognizing that competitive contractors can help WMATA provide quality service for customers, while being more cost efficient to the transit agency," former NRC Chairman and current NRC Transit Committee Co-Chair Larry Laurello remarked after the announcement. "Safety is first and foremost for railroad contractors."
 
The NRC's contractor member companies set the standard for rail maintenance work conducted safely, efficiently, on time, and on budget. The NRC supports WMATA's choice to move forward with a new approach and their statement from Tuesday's press release regarding the use of competitive contracting as a way to control operating and maintenance costs.
 
WMATA's request for proposals (RFP) is seeking potential vendors for the operation and maintenance of new Silver Line trains, stations, and facilities, including: Silver Line railcar servicing; track and infrastructure maintenance; coverage of the Dulles Rail Yard; and additional administrative functions necessary to support operations. The solicitation further includes options to operate Silver Line trains. Proposals for the RFP are due on January 15, 2019. Click
here to review the full RFP.
 
"Contractors thrive in a competitive environment. The opportunity to bid for rail operations and maintenance contracts on a major transit system is a win for our industry," NRC Board Member Marc Hackett said following WMATA's statement. "Under this new approach, NRC member companies will have an opportunity to deliver quality services at a fair price, on time, and on budget, all while maintaining the highest safety standards. As an association, we will continue to deliver the message that competitive contracting is the solution when it comes to building and maintaining rail infrastructure."
 
WMATA's decision follows a recent
study released by the non-partisan transportation think tank Eno Foundation, which suggested leveraging competition among contractors as a way to address maintenance backlogs across the nation's major rail systems. Public transit in the United States is in a major financial and maintenance crisis. According to a recent report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), failure to invest in public transportation infrastructure modernization will cause a loss of $340 billion in cumulative business sales from 2017-2023. This translates to a loss of $180 billion in cumulative gross national product (GNP) and a loss of $109 billion in household income. A 2015 Conditions and Performance report produced by the U.S. Department of Transportation estimated the overall State of Good Repair backlog to be at $89.9 billion and growing. This includes more than $50 billion in backlog just within the seven largest legacy transit systems, of which WMATA is one.
 
According to WMATA's own calculations, more than $2.5 billion of unfunded benefits and pension liabilities currently exist. One of the core benefits of utilizing private contracting companies, such as NRC's members, is that a transit agency can hire them, create financial incentives and penalties, and decline to award future work to them if the agency is unsatisfied with the service. When a contract ends, the contractor leaves, creating no long-term pension liabilities for the agency and the local taxpayers.
 
"The bottom line is the riders and taxpayers of our nation's heavy rail transit systems want a reliable, safe transit option that gets them to their destination safely and on time," NRC Executive Vice President Matt Bell, a daily Metrorail commuter, stated. "WMATA will be able to save taxpayers millions of dollars by controlling operating and maintenance costs by working with private contractors on the Silver Line Phase II extension."
 
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The NRC is the trade association that represents the rail construction and maintenance industry. NRC member companies are located in 40 states across the country and range in size from small family businesses to the largest companies in the industry. They perform track construction, maintenance-of-way, and signal and communications installation work for rail transit, commuter rail, intercity passenger rail, industrial rail, and freight rail customers throughout North America. Their work includes track work, grade crossings, bridges, rail yards, signals and communication, tunnels, rail grinding, track surfacing, welding, and many other specialties.