2023 Annual Conference Schedule

Tuesday, October 3 to Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Connecting & Cultivating Women in Rail


October 3

Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI): Today and Tomorrow
9:15AM - 10:30 AM ET

This session will discuss the path to the present from both the Safety Culture and Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety perspectives and will cover new initiatives and results of recent research publications.

Rail Structural Design: Unique Stories of Complex Structures
10:45 AM - 11:15 AM ET

Railroad structures have transitioned from stone arches and timber trestles to steel trusses and riveted girder spans to today with incredibly complex steel and concrete structures. These structures are designed to withstand significant loads not only vertically but also laterally and longitudinally. Every structure is customized for specific forces related to railroad moving loads such as live load impact, rocking effect and other loads from railroad equipment, track curvature and inconsistencies where the wheels and rail interact. The structures that were generated due to these design criteria were created to be unique structures with their own individual stories to tell, much like the engineers who designed them.

Melody Forry, PE, Project Manager, Rail Division, Benesch Engineering Company

The Railroad of the Future: Trends and Transformation
1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

The world is evolving at a rapid pace. Socio-political events, economic factors, climate change, and technological advancements impact human behavior and demands. In this session, we will look at emerging freight and passenger rail trends and shape an industry outlook for the next decade. We’ll discuss the soft and hard skills required to meet future demand including sustainability efforts, technological advancements, and the leadership styles necessary to steer the industry in the right direction. Collaboration across the supply chain and the rail network will be instrumental for future success.

Moderator: Maggie Vuono
Panelists: Nicole McKinstry, AVP Sale, Greenbrier; Kathy Gainey, CN; Trish Haver, NCRR.

Women Conductors: What is your Why?
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Why, in the 21st Century, do females only account for a small percentage of the railroad workforce? In this session, we’ll learn from female conductors about what attracted them to the rail industry, particularly the conductor role, and what factors impacted their decision to pursue the role as a career. We’ll discuss strategies to attract more women into the field and how to ensure retention, with a focus on young talent.

Moderator: Daniela Fietta, CN
Panelists: Vanessa Knapton, Cathcart Rail; Davida Flowers, Yardperson, Union Pacific Railroad; Claire Levesque, Conductor, CN.

October 4

How Amtrak Partners to Improve Incident Response
8:00 - 9:00 AM ET

Session will focus on the importance of partnerships and collaboration in the emergency management context and provide the audience with a framework to consider their future and existing partnerships.

Mary Carlson Bis, Senior Director of Emergency Management, Amtrak

LRW Informal Membership Meeting
9:00AM - 10:30AM ET