Speaker Information & Presentation Topics

Executive Forum 2023


Environmental Committee - ESG 102, Continuing the Journey


Sarah Elsokkary - Arcadis
As part of the Arcadis sustainability advisory team for 12 years, Sarah leads sustainability advisory programs for multiple industrial clients in the transportation and logistics sector. She sources carbon footprints, develops digital tools for collecting energy usage data, and calculating emissions associated with their operations and value chains. Sarah specializes in evaluating and establishing ambitious carbon goals to improve sustainability performance.  Sarah has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Georgia Southern University. 

Becky Hensley - CSX
Rebecca Hensley is a Manager Environmental Programs at CSX Transportation, Inc where she coordinates CAA permitting and compliance activities and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting. She has over 25 years of experience with EHS and regulatory compliance. At CSXT, Her previous role was with TRANSFLO Terminal Services, Inc – managing environmental and systems compliance: facility permitting; audits; training; and Quality Management. She specializes in data management solutions and collaborating with field operations. Before joining CSXT and TRANSFLO, she worked as a consultant for a variety of transportation, manufacturing, military and government clients. Her career has specialized in environmental permitting and developing customized compliance solutions for air, water and waste programs. She holds a BS in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida and currently lives in Louisville, KY where she became a Certified Bourbon Steward and backyard chicken farmer. 

Robert Beinstein - AECOM
Robert M. Beinstein (Bob), P.E., ENV SP, has held technical and managerial roles in the commercial nuclear industry, managed environmental and smart growth programs in the Federal marketplace, and lead a diverse array of client service-related work in the engineering consulting business.  He served on the Sustainable Infrastructure Advisory Board at the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure (in the Harvard Graduate School of Design) from its inception, helping develop the Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Rating system, and remains involved with ongoing research there.  Bob spent four months in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, managing a temporary power team in the wake of Hurricane Maria, has guest lectured at multiple universities and teaches the Envision Sustainability Professional credentialling course for both government and private sector organizations.  At AECOM, Bob leads the ESG market for the Americas. 

Mark Coleman - TRC
As Director of Advisory and Innovation within the Advanced Energy business segment of TRC, Mr. Coleman works with leaders across the organization and with partners and clients, to strategically advance best-in-class integrated solutions. Through intentional design and delivery of transdisciplinary teams, Mr. Coleman works at the nexus of energy innovation and the emergent sustainable economy, marked by solutions which are decarbonized, digital, decentralized, and which also embody social impact, environmental justice, and economic equity at their foundation.  Mr. Coleman also serves as an adjunct instructor at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate-level classes in Sustainable Enterprise and Managing Sustainability.  Mark is an award-winning author and business advisor on sustainable enterprise and the convergence of energy, technology, environmental stewardship, and innovation.

Bill Parry - CSX
Mr. Parry has been working with CSX since 2011 as Senior Manager Environmental Remediation.  Bill has been involved in 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 as an environmental consultant for 19 years, working for a variety of industries including electric utilities, land development, defense, petroleum distribution as well as state and local level public clientele.  Mr. Parry is a Licensed Professional Geologist and Certified Ground Water Professional. 

Roy Stancil - AECOM
Roy Stancil is a Client Account Manager with AECOM and has more than 23 years of experience in the environmental and industrial hygiene industry.   For the past fifteen years he has managed environmental projects for Class I Railroads.  Roy’s primary responsibilities include program coordination, client communication, staff management, and technical leadership.  


Economic Development Committee - A Light at the End of the Tunnel: Perspectives on Site Selection


Debra Taylor - Vulcan Rail Logistics
Debra joined Vulcan Materials Company in 2016 as Rail Transportation Manager to implement and support corporate-wide rail initiatives and has held positions of increasing responsibility over the past six years. She became Vice President of Vulcan Rail Logistics in December 2020, and is responsible for Vulcan Materials rail business across the U.S., covering 17 states, supporting 200K+ annual rail shipments, and approximately 25MM annual rail tons. Her team is focused on rail service partnerships, inventory and supply management, asset utilization, contractual negotiations, as well as sourcing materials needed by Shortline, Class 1 and rail contractors for railway maintenance and construction.   

 Prior to joining Vulcan, Debra worked with Norfolk Southern Corporation for 17 years. She held numerous positions with the railroad including operations support, manager customer service, network support and equipment management, and marketing and sales.

Bill Merritt - CSX
Bill Merritt is the Site Design Director at CSX Transportation for the Business Development group, where he is responsible for industrial development activities on the CSX network to recruit, retain, and expand customer facilities.  Bill has been with CSX for over 10 years and he and his team have aided hundreds of industries with their site selection decisions.  Any industry looking to connect to the CSX network for the first time or any existing CSX customer looking to expand their existing rail footprint will work with Bill’s team to progress their project from concept to reality.  With a background in engineering and construction, he provides valuable insight and experience to provide “Yes, if…” solutions for customers. 


Prior to his tenure in Industrial Development, Bill spent 13 years working for his family’s railroad construction company and was responsible for project management, estimating, track design, surveying, and various customer accounts. 


Michael Flynn - Cushman & Wakefield
Michael started his career in commercial real estate in 2001 and has experience working on executive teams at large corporations and as an advisor to his clients as a real estate broker. Before Cushman & Wakefield, Michael previously held leadership roles in corporate real estate at Time Incorporated and Morgan Stanley. In his current role, Michael founded the Cushman & Wakefield Rail Advisory Group to address the needs of rail focused corporations, end users and asset owners and assist them with their specific rail needs. The C&W rail advisory group specializes in site selection, project management, specialty rail served facilities management, easement classification and mark-to-market monetization to help companies align portfolio and financial objectives. Michael has also compiled specialty software and a marketing platform that addresses the needs of rail served end users and investors.


Rachael Crandley - HDR
Rachael is a Senior Railway Development Project Manager at HDR specializing in freight rail industrial and economic development projects. Her experience includes railroad real estate transactions, utility management over railroad right-of-way, and railroad grants administration. Prior to HDR, Rachael spent over a decade at Conrail, most recently as their Director of Business Development and Planning, and she held various positions within the real estate department throughout the years that helped her develop many of her core competencies managing real estate assets, overseeing customer development, facilitating the design of rail-served facilities, and coordinating service initialization. While at Conrail, Rachael also oversaw the development of the company’s GIS system and managed its fiber optic cable inventory and billboard occupations.


Technology Committee - Using Mobile Applications To Better Collect And Understand Your Data

Chelsea Wenhardt - TRC
Chelsea Wenhardt has been working with TRC since 2014 and currently serves as an Account Manager in the Environmental Sector. Chelsea has spent the majority of her consulting career supporting the railroad industry and has managed a wide variety of remediation, risk management, and regulatory compliance programs. She has led the development and implementation of multiple digital solutions that have focused on improving the quality of data collection, increasing the efficiency of data processing, and streamlining decision-making.  Chelsea earned both a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Geoscience and master’s of Water Management & Hydrological Science from Texas A&M University.

Allison Yanites - Arcadis
Allison Yanites is a digital lead at Arcadis working with a team focused on standardization, automation, and digitalization. Allison collaborates with regional and global leaders to advance digital solutions and services that add value for owners across the life cycle of their infrastructure, building, water, and environmental assets. These solutions include end-to-end digital workflows for remedial site investigations and property inspections, on-site augmented reality design visualization, hands-free remote assistance, 360-degree virtual asset data models, and delivery of advanced 2D and 3D visualizations. Allison is focused on identifying and implementing digital technologies to create intuitive and interactive experiences for project teams, owners, and stakeholders to improve communication, collaboration, understanding, and safety. Allison has a Masters in Geosciences from the University of Arizona (2005) and a Bachelors in Geology from Hamilton College (2002).


Law Committee - Railroad Property Law for the Twenty-First Century


Dayana C. Wright - University of Florida Levin College of Law
Professor Wright joined the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 1998 and serves as the Sessums/Sohn Professor of Constitutional Law.  At UF Law she has taught a handful of courses, including constitutional law, property, trusts and estates, legal history, feminist theory, constitutional law of property, and theories of property. As a legal historian, Prof. Wright’s research has been just as diverse, delving into subjects like 19th century American property rights involving railroads and utilities and English family law. She also writes extensively.  She has penned numerous articles on topics relevant to ARDA, including on constitutional takings, on logistics and property rights issues of drone delivery systems over railroad corridors, and chapters on deeds and on rails-to-trails conversions for the preeminent property treatise, Powell on Real Property.

Prof. Wright’s work has been cited by numerous federal and state courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.
She has taught at the Arizona State University Law School, Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis, and Georgetown Law Center. She received a B.A. from Cornell University, an M.A. from the University of Arizona, an M.A. from St. John’s College, a J.D. from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. She also is serving as the co-director of the Center for Governmental Responsibility, the largest and oldest public policy law center in Florida.


Real Estate Committee - Railroads and Utilities - Challenges on the California High-Speed Rail Project

Daniel Van Groningen, Omni Utility Group
Daniel Van Groningen is President and CEO at OMNI Utility Group, Inc, a consulting and engineering company specializing in dry utility relocation, coordination, and design. Daniel and his team saw a need in the private sector several years ago for highly competent, experienced individuals to support private development and government projects to keep their projects on schedule, on budget, and within scope. Since 2019 OMNI Utility Group has supported various projects including the California High Speed Rail project, major ag processing plants, large residential subdivisions, local agency relocation projects, EV charging projects, and a variety of commercial and industrial projects. Daniel and much of his team are ex-utility company employees with a diverse background in utility operations having served in various departments such as Project Management, Construction, Service Planning & Design, Land Survey, Land Rights, and Environmental Management. Throughout their careers, OMNI team members have interfaced with various railroad stakeholders for the acquisition of property, encroachment permits, easements, utility design, construction work plans, and construction coordination.