“Having worked in-depth on many infrastructure and economic development projects throughout Denton County, I know firsthand that a strong freight rail system strengthens our economy. The private investments into North Texas freight rail access and the network’s capacity are connecting employers in the region to destinations and markets across the nation, and through our seaports, to the world.”

Commissioner Andy Eads, a native Texan and fifth generation resident of Denton County, has served on the Denton County Commissioners Court since 2007. He also serves as Denton County’s representative to the Regional Transportation Council, president of Denton County Housing Finance Corporation, and chairman emeritus of the Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce.

Andy began his public service career at the Town of Addison, where he researched and authored the history book Addison, Texas: A Pictorial History. Andy lives in Flower Mound with his wife and their children.

“The Indiana Railroad partnered with CN to develop intermodal freight rail service in 2013 and has seen year-over-year growth ever since. This builds upon an already robust service provided by CSX. Rail investments have opened doors to new export opportunities with Asia, Canada, and South America. These opportunities have positively impacted Indianapolis’ ability to compete in a global marketplace and they are attracting new employers.”

Mark Fisher serves as the Vice President of Government Relations and Policy Development for the Indy Chamber. In this role, he is responsible for the overall public policy direction of the Chamber, while focusing his efforts on economic and community development, transportation, local government and fiscal policy matters. Prior to joining the Chamber as Vice President, Fisher served as Director of Engagement and Interim President of Develop Indy as well as various roles within the Chamber’s public policy team.

A native of Bloomington, Indiana, Fisher has a B.A. in sociology, a certificate in business and a minor in economics from Indiana University-Bloomington and an M.P.A. from Indiana University-Indianapolis. He currently lives in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood of Indianapolis with his wife and four children and stays active in a variety of community-based initiatives including Leadership Indianapolis as well as serving as a member of the board for IndyGo, Midtown Indy and the Indianapolis LISC office.

“Because Kentucky is strategically located in the center of the nation, the quality of our transportation network helps define both the ability of local communities to compete and their overall quality of life. The backbone of this infrastructure includes a freight rail network that provides affordable and efficient service that connects our cities to customers around the world.”

J.D. Chaney began his work with the Kentucky League of Cities as a law clerk before serving as the organization’s Counsel for Member Legal Services and, later, as Director of Governmental Affairs and Chief Governmental Affairs Officer. In his current capacity as Deputy Executive Director, Chaney is a member of the executive management team and is primarily responsible for advocating for city governments in Frankfort before the General Assembly. In addition, he oversees the organization’s corporate and municipal law services, research and training functions.

Chaney is a graduate of the University of Montana where he received a B.A. in political science and economics. He received a law degree from the University of Kentucky Collge of Law and an M.B.A. from Eastern Kentucky University.

“Mississippi’s businesses, including our large agriculture, chemical and paper sectors, have long enjoyed freight rail to move goods. Whether landlocked in Winona or near barges in Gulfport, railroads help companies bring goods to market.” 

Larry Byrd has been a member of the Mississippi legislature since 2008, representing District 104. He serves as the Chair of the County Affairs Committee. He is also a member of the Banking and Financial Services, Conservation and Water Resources, Management, Public Health and Human Services and Transportation committees.

Byrd is a member of the Petal Chamber of Commerce, Petal Masonic Lodge no. 516, Hattiesburg York Rite, K.Y.C.H. and a member of the Scottish Rite Knight Commander Court of Honor. He is a U.S. Army Veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division and a life member of V.F.W. Post 3036 in Hattiesburg, MS.

“At the Hampton Roads Chamber, we understand that our economy relies on a healthy, robust transportation network. Freight railroads, with their ongoing, massive infrastructure spending, are a critical connector for Virginia and the country, helping get goods to market, no matter where they may originate.”

Ira Agricola has been with the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce for more than 33 years. In that time, he has served as the Executive Vice President to the Chamber and as the Director of the Virginia Beach Division. He is also responsible for governmental affairs and local division operations, in addition to serving as the Chamber’s military liaison.

Agricola completed his undergraduate studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and attended the University of Delaware, completing the Institute for Organizations Management program conducted by the United States Chamber of Commerce.

“Manufacturers like our very own Vertex Rail Technologies are supported by the billions freight rail spends on its network annually. Economic development goes hand in hand with freight railroads.”

Jonathan Barfield was first elected to the New Hanover County Commission Board in 2008 and currently serves as the Board’s Vice Chairman. Barfield’s professional organizations include the National Association of Counties (NACo) Transportation Steering Committee, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) General Government Steering Committee, NCACC Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee, and NCACC Tax and Finance Steering Committee.

Barfield is the owner of Barfield & Associates Realty, LLC and has been a licensed Realtor since 1997, having served as president of the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors in 2007. His civic involvement also includes the Cape Fear Community College Board of Trustees, the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority/Wave Transit, and the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority.

“The benefits of private rail investments are very real for the average Minnesotan, who, according to a recent study, gains about $2,000 extra in their salary because of freight rail. Freight railroads support a quarter million jobs in our state, nearly 7 percent of Minnesota’s employment.”

Bentley Graves is the Director of Health Care and Transportation Policy at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. He joined the Chamber in October 2013. A native Iowan, Graves made his way to Minnesota and the Chamber by way of Washington, DC, working on Capitol Hill for Iowa Congressman Steve King. He began his time with Rep. King as an intern and throughout his tenure moved on to hold a number of positions in the Congressman’s office, including Legislative Assistant, Legislative Director, and Chief of Staff. Graves’ policy experience includes work on small business concerns, health care, transportation, taxes, education, foreign affairs, defense, and federal appropriations.

Graves graduated cum laude in 2005 from Hillsdale College in Michigan with a degree in political economy. He lives in Excelsior with his wife, who is a native Minnesotan, and their three young children.

“Private railroads are investing in the transportation network that helps move South Carolina’s economy. Our ports, for instance, depend on the reliable, efficient service railroads are able to provide because of their commitment to building and enhancing their own infrastructure.”

Ted Pitts took over as President and CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce in January of 2015. He came to the Chamber after serving as Chief of Staff for South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, working for the Governor during her first term in office from 2011-14. Prior to that Pitts served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 2003-10 representing Lexington County.

Pitts comes from the business community where he was a successful commercial real estate broker and partner with the South Carolina firm Wilson Kibler. He also serves as a Major in the South Carolina Army National Guard and is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan. Pitts is a graduate of Presbyterian College. He and his wife have three children and call Lexington home.

“Lafayette rail-served companies like Subaru, Alcoa, and Tate & Lyle have brought thousands of jobs to our community in the last year. Demand has required a significant expansion of rail capacity and these upgraded freight rail lines will continue to drive economic development as our population expands to meet hiring demands.”

Tony Roswarski began his commitment to Lafayette when he joined the Lafayette Police Department, serving over 20 years and retiring at the rank of Captain. In 1999, he was elected to the Lafayette City Council, and then in 2003 was elected to the Office of Mayor where he is currently serving his 4th term.

Roswarski serves as Chief Elected Official for the 12-county Workforce Development Board. In addition, he serves on the Advisory Committee for the Indiana University School of Medicine at Purdue University, as President of the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation, as Co-President on the Greater Lafayette Honor Flight Executive Committee, and as President for the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns Medical Trust.

“The Port of Long Beach is the second busiest container port in the country, accounting for 28,000 jobs. The port and the city depend upon the investments by freight railroads to connect us to the country.”

Randy Gordon has led the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, which represents over 1,000 area businesses, since 1994. Prior to his position at Long Beach, Gordon was the CEO of the Covina, California Chamber for 12 years. He is the Past President of Southern California Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (SCACCE), Past Chairman of the Western Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (WACE), a former board member of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) and served as Chairman of the Metro Cities Council for two years.

Gordon is very involved in his community, serving on numerous boards including the Board President of the Long Beach Ronald McDonald House, YMCA, the California Conference for Equality and Justice, Board of Trustees for St. Mary Medical Center, the Long Beach City College Foundation Board of Governors, California State University of Long Beach Advisory Board for the School of Engineering, the Long Beach Grand Prix Board and Past-Chairman of the Miller Children’s Hospital Advisory Board.