2016 Annual Conference

The League of Railway Industry Women (LRIW) would like to thank all of those who attended the 2016 Annual Conference in Omaha, Nebraska, from October 2-4, held in conjunction with the RSI/CMA 2016 Rail Expo & Technical Conference.

The LRIW is one of the five groups that make up the Coordinated Mechanical Associations (CMA), which includes the Air Brake Association (ABA), the International Association of Railway Operating Officers (IAROO), the Locomotive Maintenance Officers Association (LMOA), and the Mechanical Association Railcar Technical Services (MARTS).

One of the many highlights this year’s conference was the General Session and Keynote Address where the LRIW Outstanding Woman of the Year award, co-sponsored by Progressive Railroading, was presented to Anamaria Bonilla, Assistant Chief Engineer Track and Structures, Metro-North Railroad. “The Outstanding Woman of the Year award exemplifies excellence in the rail industry by recognizing a woman who is considered a leader by her peers. This year’s recipient, Anamaria Bonilla, does that, and more,” said Jodi Heldt, LRIW President. View the entire awards presentation here.

The riveting Keynote address by Lance Friz, President and CEO, Union Pacific (UP) Railroad highlighted the state of the rail industry and the future plans for the UP, which is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska.

LRIW Technical Program Schedule

The LRIW technical program schedule was extremely varied and informative. We started off the conference with an early morning walking tour of downtown Omaha with our extremely well-informed guide from the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Lisa Stabler, President of the Transportation Technology Centre, Inc. (TTCI) started the morning’s presentations with her talk about the latest developments in transportation technology. TTCI is a world-class transportation research and testing organization, providing emerging technology solutions for the railway industry throughout North America and the world and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads.

Mischa Wanek-Libman, Editor of Railway Track and Structures and Engineering Editor of Railway Age, put on a very informative presentation about the engineering trends in the rail industry. Mischa’s complete presentation is available here.

The LRIW Board of Directors Meeting and Annual Membership meeting were held and the topics of discussion included: the enhancement of the LRIW.org site, upcoming events, and future plans. At the Annual Membership meeting, LRIW member Claire Tomlinson was named the LRIW Outstanding Member of the Year.

Bonnie Murphy, President and CEO of Operation Lifesaver, spoke about the dangers and trends of being on or near the railroad tracks and railroad industry experiences.

The highly anticipated Women in Rail Panel Discussion, moderated by Mary Proc, Vice President of Customer Service at GO Transit and 2015 LRIW Outstanding Woman of the Year, was well attended by many LRIW members and interested conference participants. This year’s panel was comprised of Wendy Lindskoog, Vice President of Business Management and Corporate Affairs at Alaska Railroad Corp. and 2014 LRIW Outstanding Woman of the Year, Sylvia Newell, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Railway Suppliers, and Carol Steckbeck, Independent Media Consultant and 2015 LRIW Outstanding Member of the Year. For the first part of the session, each panelist was posed a series of questions which captured their personal and professional successes and challenges. The second part of the session was an open forum for audience questions.

The conference wrapped up with a tour of Union Pacific’s Headquarters and Harriman Dispatch Centre. Called “the Bunker” by some, the Harriman Dispatch Centre is UP’s rail traffic control headquarters. Originally a freight depot, the building was redeveloped in the early 1990s as a way to unite the ten regional dispatch centres that once ran across the United States. The UP Headquarters is one of downtown Omaha’s newest high-rise buildings. It officially opened in June 2004 and rises 317 ft (97 m), making it the third largest building in Omaha.

View our full 2016 conference schedule [pdf]


2016 LRIW Annual Conference



The LRIW would like to thank our generous 2016 Annual Conference Sponsors.