Speaker Information & Presentations Annual Meeting 2023

Annual Meeting 2023
Washington, D.C. 


Keynote Presentation - Monday July 10th


Ian Jefferies - AAR
As the Association of American Railroads (AAR’s) president and CEO, Jefferies advocates for and works with member railroads to ensure the continued viability of America’s railroad industry. Prior to assuming the role on January 1, 2019, Jefferies was the senior vice president of AAR’s government affairs where he led the development, promotion and implementation of legislative priorities for the AAR.

Before joining the AAR, Jefferies cultivated more than a decade of experience working within government. From 2009 to 2013, Jefferies served as a senior policy advisor to the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. In this role, Jefferies provided policy guidance on a host of transportation issues, including railroad economic regulation, rail safety and passenger rail. Jefferies also led the successful development, negotiation and reauthorization of major infrastructure legislation and managed the successful conference of Committee legislation relating to the 2012 surface transportation reauthorization law, MAP 21.  
Jefferies began his career in government serving as a Senior Advisor to the Mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, before transitioning to the federal government. Prior to serving in the United States Senate, he worked for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Government Accountability Office. In these roles, Jefferies led program reviews on a variety of issues including infrastructure development, international trade, major weapon systems acquisition and federal contracting.  

Jefferies received his Master of Science in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA and his Bachelor of Science in economics from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY. Jefferies and his wife reside with their three children in Alexandria, VA.  

Keynote Presentation - Tuesday July 11th


Chuck Baker - ASLRRA
Chuck Baker joined ASLRRA in 2019 as President following a 15-year career in the railroad industry. Before joining ASLRRA he was a Partner at Chambers Conlon & Hartwell (CC&H), where, in addition to the ASLRRA, he represented clients such as the National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association (NRC), the OneRail Coalition, the American Railway Development Association, Norfolk Southern, and Canadian National. For the NRC, Mr. Baker also served as its President. In that capacity, he had responsibility for the association's core financial, operational, and legal programs, including the federal legislative and regulatory program in front of both Congress and the Administration. For the OneRail Coalition, a coalition of freight rail, intercity passenger rail, commuter rail, rail labor, and rail supply industry interests, Mr. Baker coordinated the group’s activities and messaging. Prior to joining CC&H, Mr. Baker worked with the Surface Transportation Policy Project in Washington, D.C. Mr. Baker has also worked for Deutsche Bank Securities as an investment banker specializing in Corporate Finance and Mergers & Acquisitions in San Francisco, CA. Mr. Baker is a native of Baltimore, MD, and a graduate of Rice University in Houston, TX.


Environmental Section - Mega Projects, NEPA / Section 106 Process – Implications and Considerations - Tuesday July 11th


Kari Harris - CN
Kari Harris is Manager, Environmental Impact for CN’s US operations. Kari has almost 30 years of experience specializing in wetland and stormwater regulations. With extensive project experience across the US, Kari has considerable understanding in navigating the regulatory framework of federal, state and local permitting and the associated intricacies of design solutions that can translate to practical field applications. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a BS in Geography (Natural Environmental Systems). Before joining CN, Kari worked as a consultant in the Chicago area where she developed her niche for Clean Water Act permitting and compliance.


Johnette Davies - AMTRAK
Ms. Davies is responsible for managing a growing team of historic preservation professionals and guiding Amtrak capital projects through compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and related federal cultural resources legislation. Her responsibilities are across the corporation and nationwide, requiring coordination across departments, disciplines, and geography. Duties include acting as liaison with federal agencies, partner organizations, and other stakeholders; implementation of process improvements for regulatory compliance; advising on data and systems improvements related to historic designation of Amtrak assets and regulatory compliance status, including NEPA; screening projects for regulation applicability and determining appropriate procedures for compliance, including use of streamlining tools; serving as a Secretary of the Interior-qualified professional and subject matter expert overseeing assessments of National Register eligibility, project effects, strategies to mitigate adverse effects to historic properties, and working with in-house and consultant designers to apply the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties to project designs.

Laura Schick - US Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration
Laura is a Supervisory Environmental Protection Specialist in the Environmental Review Division, Office of Environmental Program Management, Office of Railroad Development at FRA, and is also the agency’s Acting Federal Preservation Officer (FPO). As FPO, Laura is responsible for oversight of the agency’s compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Because of the age and historic significance of the nation’s rail network, Section 106 is frequently triggered for FRA-funded rail projects. She has lead the development of Section 106 streamlining measures, lead consultations with Section 106 consulting parties, negotiated mitigation measures to address rail projects’ adverse effects to historic properties, and provided training to grant applicants on the Section 106 review process. She’s also responsible for oversight of the entirety of the environmental review process (including NEPA) for projects funded by the Congressionally-directed annual grants to Amtrak. 


Environmental Section - Nature Based Solutions and Practical Applications - Tuesday July 11th


William Parry (Moderator) - CSX
Mr. Parry has been working with CSX since 2011 as Senior Manager Environmental Remediation.  Bill has managed a wide range of environmental risk management and compliance issues throughout his career and currently maintains a similar range of responsibilities including long-term environmental remediation and liability management, emergency spill response and planning as well as environmental permitting and NEPA work.  He manages CSX’s Transformer and Environmental Right of Entry programs, Preferred Provider Program for the PSH&E Group and the Asbestos, Lead and Mold program across his northeastern territory.  Prior to coming to CSX, Bill worked at an environmental engineering firm for over 19 years managing remediation, compliance and redevelopment issues across a wide variety of industries including electric utilities, land development, defense, petroleum bulk storage as well as state and local level government entities.  Mr. Parry is a Professional Geologist and Certified Ground Water Professional. 

Hollie Schmidt - Jacobs
Hollie Janson Schmidt is a Principal and the Global Senior Director of Sustainability & Climate Response for the Americas Region at Jacobs. She provides consulting and advisory services to a wide range of public, private, and federal clientele. She manages the Resilience & Sustainability Business Advisory as a trusted business partner for our internal project delivery and growth as well as external client services. The Advisory serves as a portal into Jacobs’ vast technical services for logical, defendable, and fundable solutions as well as project definitions that help clients adapt to climate impacts, deliver resilience, and achieve sustainability.

In her 28 years of practice, Hollie has honed an integrated planning and delivery approach, with a particular focus on large-scale, complex projects. She is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Strategic and Master Plans, Feasibility Studies, Business Case Analysis and Site Selection. Serving all market and client types at Jacobs, she is a consultant and advisor who leads large, diverse teams of planners, designers and the full spectrum of engineers and technical experts to collaborate with decision-making leaders, scenario evaluations, implementation plans and highly resilient and sustainable solutions. Hollie is known for utilizing an inter-disciplinary approach by assembling a diverse team of SME’s that are customized to specific client needs.

Hollie provides resilient solutions either as a preventative or recovery service for large-scale clients who are experiencing vulnerabilities to natural and man-made shocks and stressors. She addresses ESG and climate response while holistically considering the physical, human, and business aspects of the challenge.

Hollie knows how to bridge the gap between ambition and action. She has led inter-disciplinary teams that deliver sustainable and efficient solutions across the natural and man-made environments for multi-billion-dollar programs as well as the full scale of project types.

With a strong foundation in facilitation, coordination, communication, and problem solving, Hollie has a long history of successfully leading complex, mega-projects for clients with large real estate and facility holdings. She is a fierce advocate for her teams and prides herself in her ability to lead large groups of SME’s in demanding environments. She promotes solutions through extremely compelling business cases focused on life-cycle analysis, ROI and non-financial benefits such as wellness, equity, revitalization, environmental/community impacts and brand enhancement.

Craig Fisher - TRC
Craig Fisher has 20 years experience in railway engineering in Canada and the US. As a graduate from the University of Waterloo in Canada, Craig began his career practicing civil environmental engineering railways, municipalities, and private entities. Craig spent the first 10 years consulting for the railways designing and constructing yard infrastructure including storm water management and treatment facilities. He spent another 10 years at CP managing environmental compliance, wastewater and stormwater operations, programs, and the environmental capital renewal program across both Canada and the United States. Craig now serves as Program Director at TRC within the Infrastructure design group. He brings a client perspective to design projects and is responsible for ensuring design and operational programs meet clients’ expectations.


Tyler Cole - Arcadis
Tyler joined Arcadis in 2022 following sixteen years of commercial experience, with a focus on supply chains, low-carbon fuels, and renewable energy. As a senior manager for sustainability advisory at Arcadis, Tyler coordinates delivery of sustainability services across industry sectors and geographies.
He has worked cross functionally in a variety of industries and organizations to develop and deliver emission reduction activities to help corporates achieve their climate targets. Experience includes GHG inventory, ESG disclosures, product stewardship, development and delivery of advanced biofuels, compliance and voluntary carbon credits, freight network design, natural gas mobility and power generation, and digital emissions monitoring tools.
Tyler is an active collaborator with several climate-focused NGOs and startup accelerators, advises the secondary-level entrepreneurial leadership program at Battle Ground Academy, host of the FreightWaves podcast Net-Zero Carbon, and contributes to several ESG-focused publications.
Tyler holds a BS in business administration from the University of Tennessee, a Micro master’s in supply chain engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is currently pursuing an MLA in sustainability from Harvard Extension School.


Technology Section - Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) Standards Updates: Underground Investigations for the Railroad Industry

Wesley Kaisershot - SurvWest
Wes is an experienced professional civil engineer specializing in subsurface utility engineering (SUE), utility coordination, conflict analysis, utility engineering, utility adjustment design, oversight, and construction monitoring and verification. He has developed numerous utility investigations and roadway conflict analyses to avoid, minimize, and accommodate utility relocations. He is frequently called upon to provide clients and peers with a cost-effective approach that exceeds current standards. His deep and rounded experience working for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), TxDOT, and the private sector allows him to successfully manage complex projects that require high degree of attention to detail, expertise in federal and state regulations, knowledge of the various client levels in command, and appreciation for the work and review processes that occur. His proactive communication style is key to coordinating large teams of subconsultants, contractors, clients, and stakeholders to procure timely and successful utility engineering projects.


Technology Section Using Remote Sensing Insights to Increase Railway Safety, Reliability, Resiliency and Sustainability

Anthony Palizzi - LiveEO, Inc. 
Anthony D. Palizzi is a dynamic and results-focused leader with over 29+ years of progressive experience in leadership, business development, marketing, and sales.  He served in several executive management positions with leading geospatial, software, technology, and consulting firms. He has an extensive track record in delivering high-value solutions to Energy, Utilities, Railway, Public Sector and Governments.  Anthony enjoys traveling, many outdoor activites, and spending as much time with his family.    
Anthony has a Master of Science Management / Organization Development from Regis University and a Bachelor of Science in Geology / Land Use from Metropolitan State University.


Law Section - Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act


Jamie Auslander - Beveridge & Diamond
Jamie Auslander co-chairs B&D’s Natural Resources and Project Development practice, where he focuses on project development, natural resources, and administrative law and litigation.  Jamie helps project proponents more efficiently navigate and better solve environmental and historic preservation issues surrounding development of complex transportation, energy, minerals, water, and natural resources projects, on private lands and on public lands onshore and offshore. He devotes a significant part of his practice to counseling and litigation under the National Historic Preservation Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and similar state laws. In his litigation practice, Jamie defends project approvals, litigates takings claims, and represents industry stakeholders in federal rulemaking challenges in courts and administrative forums across the country. He has been closely involved in recent federal initiatives to streamline environmental and historic reviews and decision-making.

Barbara Marvin - Beveridge & Diamond
Barbara Marvin is an experienced litigator with particular experience in the National Historic Preservation Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Administrative Procedure Act, and environmental justice claims. Barbara previously worked in private practice as a member of the Indian Law and Environment and Energy Practice groups. During this time, she advised companies on NEPA compliance, leveraging her understanding of environmental regulations to help clients effectively navigate their obligations. Prior to that, Barbara was a staff attorney for the National Indian Gaming Commission and a Trial Attorney for over a decade at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). At DOJ, Barbara successfully defended the United States against breach of trust, environmental, and Fifth Amendment takings claims. Barbara's expertise extended to cases involving tribal recognition, land-into-trust decisions, and water rights.

Law Section - Changing Environmental Regulations Affecting the North American Rail Industry 

Theresa Romanosky - AAR
Theresa is an Assistant General Counsel at the Association of American Railroads. Her responsibilities include regulatory, legal, and policy issues related the environment, hazardous materials, and climate change/resilience, particularly as related to the railroad industry and transportation infrastructure. Theresa earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Economics from the University of Pittsburgh and attended the University of Michigan Law School.

Real Estate Section - Using GIS to Automate Right of Way Cost Estimation in Transportation 

JD Hutchinson - AECOM

Mr. Hutchinson is a GIS Analyst with 20 years of experience working with cartography, data management, and programming, and a Master’s of Urban and Regional Planning, with a specialization in GIS, from the University of Florida. He has presented his work with GIS automation through Python scripting at the Esri International User Conference and the NC GIS Conference. His work with GIS automation has spanned a variety of data management and analysis tasks, from schema analysis, to data migration, to right of way cost analysis.


Real Estate Section - Utility Panel - Questions & Answers 

Damon Gomez (Moderator) - Bartlett & West
Damon Gomez is a Bartlett & West rail solution consultant with 25 years of experience with railroad real estate and associated processes. He is committed to helping the rail industry leverage technology to improve the permitting process. Damon is the lead developer of RailPermitting.com, a web-based application process for railroad permits. This application reducing overall cycle times, improved communication and provided both applicant and railroad better visibility into the process. Damon also manages a team focused on real estate record management and research. His years of experience helps ensure that real estate customers, both internal and external, receive the most accurate information possible.

Alex Saar - CSX 
Alex R. Saar holds a Bachelors and Masters in Civil Engineering, a Masters of Business Administration, and is a Licensed Professional Engineer.  Alex joined CSX’s Real Estate department nine years ago, where he has served in various real estate and engineering positions, each of increasing responsibility.  Prior to joining CSX he worked as a civilian engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers throughout the southeastern U.S. as well as a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan. Today, Alex is responsible for managing a team of engineers at CSXT that oversee third party utility crossings, cell towers, longitudinal utility installations and utility relocations across CSX’s network of 26 states. 


Steve Flippin - CSX 
Stephen Flippin is the Head of Federal Affairs for CSX Transportation in its Washington, DC office. He has worked at CSX since 2004. Stephen is responsible for government relations activities and its business units at the federal level. His wealth of experience spans nearly three decades in a variety of government roles in both the US Senate and US House, as well as significant private sector knowledge with CSX. He has continued to strengthen government relationships, forged meaningful strategic partnerships, and is seen as an outstanding executer.

Mr. Flippin's proven record and trusted reputation has been instrumental in advancing and defending numerous legislative and administrative initiatives. He has also led several transformational rail projects through coalition building, acquiring federal funding, engaging the community and government, and navigating permitting processes - leading to their ultimate approval and construction. The CSX National Gateway project was a nearly $1 billion public private project through six states and the District of Columbia, involving 61 clearance projects and 6 new intermodal terminals.

He has served on CSX’s capital planning and strategic development teams, and is a Board member and current Treasurer of the CSX GGF PAC. He also sits on the Board of City Year in DC. A native of McLeansville, NC, he holds a bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University and a Master of Business Administration from Georgetown University. Mr. Flippin resides in Arlington, VA with his wife and four children.

Keyana Holloway, Norfolk Southern
Keyana Holloway, has worked in Railroad Real Estate for over 20 years. For the last 10 years she has negotiated and prepared contracts with utilities, public and private entities and individuals who cross or parallel railroad property. Keyana also leads a team that manages portfolios for Norfolk Southern’s fiber, signboard, oil/gas, cell tower, and private crossing programs. Keyana’s extensive knowledge in utility processes has her serving as a spokesperson in a number of legislation matters involving utility occupancies on the Norfolk Southern right of way.


Economic Development SectionHow Rail’s Economic Importance and Safety Story are Viewed by Policymakers 

Zach Radford - ASLRRA 
Zachary M. Radford is Vice President of Congressional Affairs for the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), where he helps ASLRRA advance the policy priorities of ASLRRA’s 600 members before the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.
Throughout his career, Mr. Radford has helped organizations, agencies and elected officials provide leadership and tackle critical legal, policy and communications issues, especially in the transportation sector.
In Congress, Mr. Radford served U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), then a senior member of the Senate Commerce Committee, as senior policy advisor & counsel, influencing rail safety bills, the 2015 FAST Act, the 2018 FAA Reauthorization, and numerous Coast Guard measures, among other pieces of legislation. Mr. Radford also served as legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), advancing the Senator’s Appropriations Committee work and helping the senator tackle other policy areas, like telecom and rural economic development.

In addition, Mr. Radford served as director of external relations at the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC), where he helped stand up a congressionally-chartered safety oversight organization; as federal relations officer at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), where he helped advocate for federal investments in major transit projects; and as a private consultant. Previously in his career, Mr. Radford was an attorney with a law firm in California, where he practiced complex commercial litigation and construction law. Mr. Radford earned a B.A. from Georgetown University and a J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, School of Law.


Economic Development Section - The Electric Slide: The Growth of the US Electric Vehicle Ecosystem - Tuesday July 11th

Jon Arita - Terracon
Jon Arita is a Vice President, National Director, Logistics with a proven track record of expertise in supply chain, logistics, transportation, and rail. In his current role, he is tasked with the growth of the Logistics Sector which comprises projects in warehousing, cold storage, intermodal rail, ports, and the trucking industry. He works with clients to provide solutions to complex challenges, drawing upon his expertise with projects ranging from small intermodal opportunities to large capital expenditure initiatives. Since joining Terracon in late 2020, he has overseen the rapid growth in the sector, growing it over $30M in a short period of time. 

Arita brings years of experience to Terracon, including most recently at BNSF Railway where he held multiple roles and responsibilities including the growth of the Agricultural Unit train program and later developing the colocation program. Prior to that, he was at JLL providing real estate services for BNSF.


Courtland Robinson - Duke Energy
Courtland Robinson resides on Duke Energy Corporation’s National Business Recruitment Team, providing power-intensive location advisory services to clients across Duke Energy’s six-state service territory. Duke Energy, a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities.
Over the years, Courtland has also worked at state, regional and local levels of economic development, most recently serving as Managing Director within the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s (VEDP) Business Investment Division and overseeing the strategy and implementation of VEDP’s business development efforts in the U.S. and Asia.
Courtland received his Bachelor of Science Degree at Virginia Commonwealth University where he studied Urban and Regional Planning, and received his Master of Public Administration degree at James Madison University with a specialization in economic development.

Peter LeComte - CSX

Peter le Comte holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Colorado Boulder and an MBA from University of Florida. Peter has worked on both sides of the rail industry; previously at large minerals based miners managing their mid-mile transportation strategies and today works at a Class I railroad, CSX managing the minerals market. In the past, as a shipper he has worked in emerging markets, such as sand for hydraulic fracturing. Where he helped incorporate reliable and sustainable supply chains into their distribution models by using rail, barge and/or truck based transportation modes. Today at CSX, Peter is the senior market manager of the mineral ore markets, that includes, lithium products, nickel, lime/limestone, soda ash, sand and various other mineral based commodities.

Mike Grim - Norfolk Southern
Mike is the Director of Industrial Development for Norfolk Southern.  He covers the Central Region for the department, with responsibilities for 11 states.  As Director, he has the primary goal of assisting locating new rail served industry, assisting with expansions of existing rail served industries, and promoting economic growth along Norfolk Southern lines throughout their network.

A native from West Virginia, Mike Grim holds three bachelor’s degrees in Civil Engineering Technology, Architectural Engineering Technology, and Mining Engineering Technology from Bluefield State College.  Immediately after graduation in 1994, he began work with a subsidiary of Norfolk Southern Corporation, Pocahontas Land Corporation, in Bluefield, West Virginia.  He joined the Industrial Development Department in 1998 as part of their Technical Services Group.  In 2006, he joined the Project Management side of the department and worked as the Industrial Development Manager in Birmingham, AL with responsibilities for 3 states.  In 2017, he became the Director of the Central Region based in Indianapolis, IN.  In April of 2023, he moved to Atlanta, GA and currently works out of the new headquarters with a re-aligned territory. He and his wife Amanda enjoy traveling and college football.  He enjoys cooking and is passionate about anything that can be grilled.