“Maryland’s freight railroads contribute to the social vibrancy and economic stability of our region by transporting multitudes of goods to regional consumers and industry. Through their operations and capital investment, railroads support local economic development and thousands of Maryland jobs. Freight rail will be a core component of our nation’s long-term viability.”

Raised an “Army brat,” Jarrett Smith moved to the Washington DC area to attend Howard University. He has lived in Takoma Park since 2005 and currently works in commercial real estate and is serving his 4th term on Takoma Park’s City Council, and he serves on the Board of Directors Executive Committee for the Maryland Municipal League. Councilmember Smith sits on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee with the National League of Cities and is passionate about the history of rail transport for passengers and freight in our country and its significance all over the world.  An advocate for the railroad industry, Jarrett has read and studied their history and understands that railroads represent an entire comprehensive ecosystem employing 27+ unions including their administration and members as well as professionals highly skilled in the capital markets, banking, mining, engineering, mechanics, retailers, etc.  Moreover, aware that our country’s pension system started with the railroads and its unions, Jarrett can be considered a fan of an industry that often goes “unsung” despite the enormous role it plays in the US and even the World economy.

Jarrett can often be seen walking through Sligo Creek Park or on Flower Avenue on his way to and from council meetings or gatherings and/or meetings with his constituents.  Councilmember Smith and his wife live in Takoma Park’s Ward 5.

“Modern, efficient infrastructure—including rail—is vital to business growth in New York State. In fact, our freight rail network is thriving and outpacing many other modes of transportation when it comes to safety and productivity. As I work to grow our local economies, I am confident freight rail will continue to be a strong partner.”

State Senator James L. Seward’s more than three decades of service as a state senator cap a lifelong interest in politics, public affairs, and government. A native of Otsego County, Senator Seward attended Oneonta public schools and graduated from Hartwick College with a B.A. in political science.

First elected to the state senate in 1986, Senator Seward has helped enact key state policies to create and retain jobs, bolster insurance coverage, and aid volunteer fire and emergency squads.

Senator Seward has been a consistent advocate for education initiatives, tax relief, small business assistance, and agriculture programs. He has acted as a strong partner in local economic development, encouraging job creation and business growth.

“Oregon’s storied timber industry remains one of our state’s most important economic drivers. At the center of this success is freight rail, which is essential for delivering Oregon lumber and wood products to markets throughout the country and overseas.”

Tim Atkinson is vice president of sales for Stimson Lumber Company in Portland, Oregon and has more than 20 years of experience in the industry in both operations and sales. As president of Pacific Northwest Association of Rail Shippers (PNWARS), he brings experience in supply chain and logistics offering perspectives and solutions in the Pacific Northwest region by leveraging contacts to bring industry leaders together for two regional meetings per year. Atkinson has served on the PNWARS board since 2016.

Atkinson also brings expertise as a nonprofit leader as chair of Green Building Initiative, bringing experience in promotion, design, and adoption of sustainable materials that improve the building environment. Atkinson has served on GBI’s board since 2013 and also held the role of Treasurer of GBI from 2017 through 2018.

Stimson Lumber is an Oregon-based company with roots dating back to the 1850s. It is one of the oldest continuously operating integrated wood products companies in the United States stretching across Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Atkinson started his career as a management trainee on the sales team, after earning a bachelor’s degree in business from Southern Oregon University. Atkinson also holds an MBA degree from the University of Oregon Executive MBA program.

“We see firsthand the economic development spurred by freight rail here in Worcester at the CSX Intermodal Terminal, which connects us to shipping destinations as far as Florida and the Ohio River Valley, in addition to the larger, 140,000-mile freight rail network. Worcester businesses hinge on efficient and reliable rail connections.”

Timothy P. Murray became President and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce in June of 2013. He leads a team of professionals serving the region’s business community by focusing on economic development, public policy, member services, and other activities that contribute to a vibrant business climate.

Prior to the Chamber, Murray was elected Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2006, following a historic grassroots campaign alongside Governor Deval Patrick. As Lieutenant Governor, he worked to promote job growth, delivered landmark reforms in ethics, education, pensions, and the transportation system. Murray led the Patrick-Murray administration’s negotiation with CSX regarding the historic acquisition of tracks across the Commonwealth strengthening its relationship with the freight railroad company along with facilitating Massport’s acquisition of Worcester Regional Airport. Murray also chaired the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Veterans Services and helped implement nation leading policies serving military personnel, veterans and their families. As Lieutenant Governor, Murray chaired the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association.

A life-long Worcester resident, he was a former three-term Mayor of Worcester, New England’s second largest city. Under Tim’s leadership, Worcester experienced unprecedented progress, with $1 billion of new economic development projects, such as Gateway Park and City Square, that are helping to transform an older industrial city into one that is well positioned to lead and grow in the new economy. Tim and his wife continue to live there and are proudly raising their two daughters.

“Freight railroads are critically important to Willamette Valley’s farmers, growers and makers, many of which depend on reliable and efficient rail connections to take their products to markets across the nation and world.”

A longtime Oregon business, community, and political leader, Kevin L. Mannix is now focused on bringing his experience and expertise to improving transportation and shipping in the state of Oregon. He founded the Oregon Shipping Group in 2015 with the goal of revitalizing and expanding Oregon’s shipping capabilities. Mannix is also the Executive Director of Oregon Port of Willamette, LLC, which is establishing an intermodal and transload facility in Brooks, Oregon. This facility is designed to serve as an inland port for import and export freight moving through the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. It will also serve as an inland port for the international port of Coos Bay as that port develops container shipping capability.

Mannix has extensive legal and business experience in negotiating complex private and public sector agreements. Mannix is using these skills to advocate for improvement and expansion of railroad services throughout Oregon.

Mannix received a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. He previously served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Oregon and for the Territory of Guam. Mannix also served in the Oregon State Legislature as a State Representative and State Senator. He has operated his Salem law firm, Kevin L. Mannix, P.C., since 1986.

“Rail has been and continues to be an economic driver nationally and locally. Altoona, Pennsylvania has a rich history of railroading. To date, our local railroad still has repair operations in town that help support the local economy in many ways including purchasing from other local businesses.”

Mayor Matt Pacifico was first elected as Altoona’s Mayor in 2013. He was re-elected as the city’s full-time Mayor, a newly-created position under the city’s Home Rule Charter, in November 2015. Pacifico has been instrumental in initiating a number of strategies to improve the city’s financial outlook, attract new business, and to become the fastest city ever to exit PA’s Act 47 distressed municipality program. He works with state and federal representatives and officials to bring about positive change to the community.

Prior to his election, Pacifico played an integral role at Pacifico Bakery, serving as the Operations Manager for 10 years, overseeing all functions of the business from mixing to shipping. He and his wife, Kristal, have 2 sons, Ethan and Angelo.

“For the Illinois International Port District, the role of rail is critical. We have rail running directly to the port, along with access to Interstate highways. This makes the Illinois International Port District attractive to companies looking to move goods in and out of Chicago. No Great Lakes port can match Chicago’s rail service and this is helping us thrive.”

Clayton Harris III is the Executive Director for the Illinois International Port District. Prior to his appointment, Harris was Midwest Director of Government Affairs for the environmental & engineering firm CH2M, and he also had stints as Chief of Staff for the State of Illinois and the Illinois DOT, and as Counsel at the Chicago DOT, among other government positions. He has a bachelor’s degree in aerospace technology from Middle Tennessee State University and a law degree from the Howard University School of Law.

“Freight railroads annually spend billions of dollars of their own funds, not taxpayer money, to build and maintain a rail network that is critically important to farmers and elevators in South Dakota. As our yields and output continue to increase, rail’s connection to the global marketplace is becoming ever more important.”

G. Mark Mickelson is the Speaker of the House of the South Dakota Legislature, where he has served since 2013. Mickelson founded Mickelson & Company, LLC, in 2005. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and a member of the South Dakota Bar Association. He has served as the chair of the South Dakota Community Foundation. Mickelson and his wife, Cynthia Mickelson, have three sons and live in Sioux Falls. He enjoys hunting, fishing, golfing and watching his sons’ activities.

“The railroad is part of the city of Altoona. This is how Altoona came to existence. I take pride in being a railroader and I take pride in protecting, educating and teaching our community about the rail.”

Chief Jesse James was born and raised in the Chippewa Valley.  He is a 15-year-plus veteran of law enforcement and, in 2018, was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing District 68. He started his career in April of 2001 with the Spring Valley Police Department as a part-time officer.  He also worked with the Elmwood Police Department and the Altoona Police Department.  In December of 2002 he was offered a full-time position with the Altoona Police Department.

He has been with the City of Altoona ever since and worked seven years as a night shift patrol officer.  He was the first officer in Eau Claire County to be offered a position on the the Eau Claire County SWAT team.  He became a Law Enforcement Standards and Board Firearms Instructor in November 2007.  In October of 2009 he was assigned to the position of Investigator.  Chief James led several high-profile investigations, some of which went to the federal level, where he has testified in front of a grand jury. Chief James was acting Police and Fire Chief from April 2011 until September 2011.  He maintained his position as an Investigator until October 2013 when he accepted the position of Police and Fire Chief.  He is a graduate of the Leadership in Police Organizations and First Line Supervisor programs.

He has also worked with staff to educate the community regarding the railroad traffic in the City of Altoona, including the creation of a city ordinance to address trespassing on the railroad.

“Freight trains take thousands of truckloads off of Connecticut’s congested roads and highways each year, benefiting drivers and our battered infrastructure. Plus, the nationwide rail network is not supported by taxpayers, but by the railroads themselves, through massive ongoing investments.”

Chris Bielik was elected to the Beacon Falls, CT Board of Selectmen in 2011 and he has served as First Selectman since 2013. In that time, he was elected by his peers to the Executive Board of the newly established Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments.

Bielik graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD with a B.S. in resource management. He served over 22 years on active duty in the Navy as a Naval Flight Officer, flying the P-3 Orion aircraft and attaining the rank of Commander (O-5). He earned an M.S. in management (public administration) from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA and retired from the Navy in 2004.