“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.”

Jesse James was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2018. representing District 68. He is a lifelong resident of the Eau Claire area and a 15-year-plus veteran of law enforcement.

After a career in the Army,  James worked for several years in the private sector before attending Chippewa Valley Technical College where he earned a degree in Police Science in 2001. He then worked as a police officer with the Spring Valley and Elmwood Police Departments, before earning a full-time opportunity with the Altoona Police Department in 2002. James was promoted to investigator in 2009 before becoming the acting chief of police in April 2011, and then finally being appointed police and fire chief in October 2013. He’s currently a part-time police officer for the Cadott Police Department.

James 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 served as First Selectman from 2013 to 2020. 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.

“At the Chamber, we know how vital it is for our local businesses to have efficient transportation options. Freight railroads stand out on this front because of their financial commitment to building and expanding the nationwide rail network, a stark contrast to our publicly funded roads and highways.”

Mike Miller has served as the President of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce since 2014. He has 40 years of media business experience, including having served as publisher of the Florence Morning News from 1999 through 2007.

In 2008, Miller left the Florence area to assume the position of president and publisher of the Winston-Salem Journal and the Piedmont Publishing Group in North Carolina. In 2012, he joined Jones Media Group in Tennessee where he was the publisher of the Athens Daily Post-Athenian and the Monroe County Advocate.

“Union Pacific and Oklahoma’s 17 other freight railroads are an economic powerhouse for our local and state economies. They not only connect local business and industry to the rest of the country and world, they are doing this with private dollars that continually improve efficiency, helping shippers’ bottom lines.”

Leslie Osborn was elected as Oklahoma’s twentieth Labor Commissioner in 2018 and is currently serving a four year term. Prior to being elected Labor Commissioner she served ten years in the Oklahoma House of Representatives representing District 47, which includes parts of Canadian and Grady counties. During her tenure she was appointed in 2013 by Speaker Shannon to chair the Judiciary committee, the first female in state history to do so.

She currently also serves as the chair of the Oklahoma Occupational Licensing Advisory Commission and the Department of Commerce’s Automotive Steering Committee, which is actively working on recruitment of diversified manufacturing businesses to the state of Oklahoma. In addition, she serves on the advisory board of Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers and the Oklahoma Academy. She also serves on the foundation board for the Canadian Valley Technology Center. She is a member of Oklahoma First Ladies and a lifetime member of the OSU Alumni association. She graduated from the Leadership Oklahoma Class 27 and served as the state director of the national group Women in Government.