2021 Conference Speakers

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.

Cathrin Banks

President and General Counsel, The Maryland and Delaware Railroad Company (MDDE) 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.

Joan Smemoe

Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Information Technology, Railinc Corp.

As CIO, Smemoe is at the helm of software development and applications engineering and is instrumental in shaping the company’s vision for product development, data, and information systems platforms. Under her technical leadership, Railinc delivers a wide array of applications and technologies that are critical to freight rail industry operations in North America. With close to 20 years of experience in IT, Smemoe brings strong technology leadership and expertise critical to Railinc’s day-to-day operations, growth, and ability to serve its customers.

A 2020 Triangle Business Journal C-Suite Awards honoree, Smemoe is an influential executive officer who has also been recognized by Railway Age magazine’s Women in Rail awards and Progressive Railroading magazine’s Rising Star awards, in 2019 and 2018, respectively. Smemoe holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer science from the University of Missouri and completed Carnegie Mellon University’s CIO Certificate Program. She is also PMP-certified.

Kari Gonzales

President & Chief Financial Officer of Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI)

Prior to her role as President at TTCI, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads, Kari served as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for TTCI and was responsible for company-wide strategic planning and business functions associated with day-to-day operations. Kari has been a part of TTCI’s organization for nearly 20 years, starting as a student intern in 2000, and was hired full-time after completing her degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in December of 2002. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from Regis University, Denver (2015). During her time as a research engineer, Kari excelled in conducting research and managing a diverse set of projects in support of the industry’s Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) program and TTCI’s commercial customers. She contributed a body of work that resulted in authoring/coauthoring of over 25 technical publications, including articles in Railway Age, Railway Track and Structures (RT&S), and the Journal of Wear.

In early 2012, Kari was selected as the inaugural candidate for TTCI’s Railroad Exchange Program and spent a year as a visiting professional with BNSF Railway in Fort Worth, TX on the railroad’s Condition Based Maintenance team. This experience enhanced her understanding of railroad operations and extended her expertise in wayside inspection systems. Upon her return to TTCI, Kari managed the industry’s senior technical committee, the Equipment Engineering Committee, and revamped TTCI’s Internal Research and Development (IR&D) program. In 2014, Kari was selected as one of Progressive Railroading’s “Rising Stars.”

In addition to her commitment to TTCI, Kari volunteers her time in several industry and community organizations. She is currently the Education Chair for the League of Railway Women and serves on several community Boards.

Merritt Canfield

Chief Executive Officer, Meritus Executive Search Excellence

Merritt Canfield brings 20 years of global award-winning executive search experience, with a passion for leading the future of rail industry executive search, top in the rail industry, and globally certified in Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace as an Executive Recruiter and CEO of Meritus Executive Search Excellence LLC. In 2013, Merritt joined the Rail Industry an executive search leader. She partners with the industry placing c-suite, executives, and industry specialists providing search excellence with a commitment to best practices in diversity, inclusion, and innovation. She offers a history in the placement of talent in Fortune 25, finance, transportation, healthcare, telecommunications, and retail, and was top 5% in the globe out of a field of over 2,000 recruiters in the largest recruitment network in the world.

She earned a Bachelor of Science, Marketing from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, numerous coursework in Human Resources Management from Cornell University. Merritt has been a Speaker/Presenter in the rail industry for LHH/Lee Hecht Harrison, ASLRRA, Railway Age NextGen, a member of the ASLRRA Human Resources Committee, a contributor to Railway Age 2021 Outlook, Progressive Railroading RailPrime August 2021, and a member of SHRM.

Michele Malski

Director-At-Large, League of Railway Women (LRW) and Founder and President, Succession Planning for Railroads Investing in the Next Generation (SPRING)

Michele Malski is a proud second generation railroader from Scranton, Pennsylvania. She has grown up with the respect for the traditions, heritage, and versatility a railroad brings to the economy through the movement of freight. Michele is a true railroader at heart with a passion for enhancing, leading, and progressing the standard and culture of safety within the rail industry. Michele has worked as a trainmaster at BNSF in the terminal of Minot, North Dakota, as a territory manager for Canadian Pacific’s southern territory (formerly D & H Territory), and Bombardier Transportation, of Baltimore, MD. In her off time, Michele enjoys painting, skiing, kayaking, cycling, golfing, running with her Great Dane Marcella, and attending events for the women’s network for Cornell alumnae.

Patricia Basuel

Events Chair, League of Railway Women (LRW) and User Experience Manager, Wi-Tronix

For over 15 years, Patricia Basuel has honed her talents in the many disciplines of user experience (UX). She is a creative and product leader who has worked for both large (Motorola Google/Lenovo) and small companies in tech, transportation, and advertising. Her creative career started in graphic design, then she added front end web development to her skill set, and finally fully transitioned into UX. She leads the UX Team at Wi-Tronix, where she advocates for rail customers at every step of the product design and development process.

Patricia brings her passion for empowering women through her work as Events Chair at LRW, encouraging young women and girls to pursue STEM careers as an instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater CyberHigh tech camp, and helping bridge the educational opportunities gap for people of color and minorities by founding the YoUthXDesign.org free summer design camp and mentoring design students and aspiring UX professionals through UXCoffeeHours.com.

Regina Barringer

General Manager of Global Rail and Defense, Cummins

Regina Barringer is General Manager for Global Rail and Defense segments in Cummins’ Power Systems business unit. She is responsible for global product and marketing strategy for Rail and Defense. Engine applications in Rail include locomotive, switcher, rail car, and track maintenance while Defense engine applications include wheeled and tracked land-based vehicle applications.

Since joining Cummins in 2000, Regina has contributed to the company in multiple functions including supply chain, operations, quality, strategy, and account management. Regina has held responsibilities including leadership of global OEM partner relationships, collaboration with global distribution business, and engagement with critical suppliers.

Regina graduated from Hanover College in Indiana, where she received a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education. Additionally, she earned an MBA from Indiana University and is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt. Regina lives in Columbus, Indiana with her family. Regina is a member of the Cummins’ Women’s Empowerment network, a housing corporation board member for the Upsilon Lambda chapter of Chi Omega at Hanover College, and a volunteer for the Columbus Youth Hockey Program.