2020 Annual Conference Speakers

Ailsa von Dobeneck

Assistant Vice President of Government Relations, Watco Companies

Ailsa von Dobeneck joined Watco in June 2019 and is responsible for government outreach and legislative strategy on the federal level, as well as in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Georgia. She started her rail career at Norfolk Southern in Washington, DC and has also served as Director of External Affairs for the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad.

She is a University of Georgia and King’s College London grad and enjoys spending her free time researching historic recipes at the Smithsonian, where she does demos.

Amanda Trainor Patrick

Vice President of Trade Shows, Programs & Board Relations, Railway Supply Institute (RSI)

RSI is a trade association that advocates for rail supply industry servicing America’s freight railroads located in Washington, DC. Since joining in 2008, Amanda Trainor Patrick has contributed to RSI through managing membership, marketing, governance, and most notably, RSI’s annual trade show and conference.

She was selected as member of the 2015 ASAE NextGen Association Summit, a group of leading young association professionals and established association thought leaders that come together to discuss and problem solve in the association community. In 2014, Amanda received her IAEE Certificate in Exhibition Management, a conference management accreditation. She has also held the board positions of Public Relations and Outreach and Secretary. LRW is an all-volunteer association that promotes the professional development and advancement of women in the rail industry.

Amanda was raised in Caruthersville, Missouri located in Bootheel, the most southeast portion of the state. She attended undergraduate school at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri where she studied political science and economics. In her free time Amanda enjoys yoga, reading, and exploring Civil War battlefields. She currently resides in Falls Church, Virginia with her husband Sherman, their three daughters, and their cat Ramses.

Andrea Waldock Niethold

Director of US Government Affairs, Canadian National Railway

Andrea Waldock Niethold was appointed Director of U.S. Government Affairs at CN in August 2017, based in Washington, D.C. In her role, Waldock Niethold engages with federal lawmakers and regulators on issues important to CN and the freight railroad industry. She also manages CN’s relationships at various levels of government with a strong focus on community support and engagement.

Prior to joining CN, Waldock Niethold held various legislative positions on Capitol Hill for almost a decade. Most recently, from 2012-2017, she served as Chief of Staff to Pennsylvania Congressman Lou Barletta.

Waldock Niethold holds an A.B.D. and M.A. in Education Policy and Administration from the Catholic University of America and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Arielle Giordano

Director of Federal and State Government Affairs, Canadian Pacific Railway

Arielle Giordano is responsible for all of CP's U.S. territory at the Federal level and in eleven states. Prior to joining CP, she served as the Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials under Chairman Bill Shuster. As such, she shared responsibility for freight rail, passenger rail, commuter rail, high speed rail, hazmat safety, pipeline safety, and all related Federal agencies. She worked on the FAST Act, STB Reauthorization Act, PIPES Act of 2016, RESPONSE Act, STB IS Improvement Act, and the FRA Safety Data Improvement Act, among other pieces of legislation.

While attending law school, Giordano worked for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, under the former Chairman, Chuck Grassley. She holds a J.D. from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, and a B.A. from Monmouth University. Giordano sits on the Advisory Board of the Washington Urban Debate League and is the Secretary the CUA Law Alumni Council. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, James, and their dog, Eugene.

Cathrin Banks

President and General Counsel, The Maryland and Delaware Railroad Company and Vice President and General Counsel, Chesapeake and Delaware LLC?

Cathrin Banks has served as President and General Counsel of The Maryland and Delaware Railroad Company since January of 2019. Prior to being named President, Cathrin served as Vice President and General Counsel, and Assistant General Counsel. She also serves as Vice President and General Counsel for Chesapeake and Delaware, LLC, which operates a number of railroads in New Jersey.

Cathrin is a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park (B.S., Government and Politics) and the University of Maryland School of Law. After working for Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., Cathrin began her legal career working for the Honorable Albert J. Matricciani, Jr. of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. She was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 2010 and the District of Columbia Bar in 2014. After completing her clerkship with Judge Matricciani, she joined the Baltimore trial firm of Bekman, Marder & Adkins, LLC, where she spent several years litigating complex civil cases.

In 2015, Cathrin was offered an opportunity to join The Maryland and Delaware Railroad Company as Assistant General Counsel. Eager for a career change, Ms. Banks accepted the position and quickly fell in love with railroading. Although she is a more recent transplant to the industry, railroading is in her blood: her father has been on the Board of Directors of the MDDE since 1977, and her grandfather was a fireman for the Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1940s.

Cathrin is a member of the League of Railway Women and a member of the B&O Railroad Museum Board of Directors. She was recently named as one of Progressive Railroading’s 2019 Rising Stars.

Connie Nordhues-Bieber

Co-Founder, Railway Advantage Solutions and Vice President of Value Solutions, 4Atmos Technologies

Connie Nordhues-Bieber has spent over 30 years specializing in financial management and analysis, with expertise in business case development, market and sales, project management, continuous improvement, operations auditing, and problem solving. Connie has over 25 years within the rail industry, including Capital Planning & Analysis, Sales & Marketing, Locomotive Fleet Strategies (purchases, rebuilds, reliability), Field Service, Product Management, Technology and Emissions. She spent 10 years working for Union Pacific Railroad and a combined 15 years experience working for RJ Corman, Siemens, RELCO and Wi-Tronix.

Connie received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Administration from Creighton University. She a