Our 2017 Indianapolis Conference Discussion Topics – THE COMPLETE AGENDA

Select a date tab below to observe our conference topics for each day!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM Registration for Conference and Trade Show

1:00 PM – 5:00 PM Exhibits Open

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM Exhibit Hall Reception


Monday, September 18, 2017


6:45 AM – 6:00 PM Conference & Trade Show Registration

9:30 AM- 6:00 PM Exhibits Open

7:30 AM – 8:50 AM General Session & Keynote Address

Ken Schmidt

Ken Schmidt

Speaker: Ken Schmidt, Former Harley Davidson executive, Norfolk Southern official

Schmidt played an active role in one of the most celebrated turnarounds in corporate history, and his vision helped   transform Harley Davidson into one of the world’s most dominant brands. He shares stories of how to compete with weapons stronger than price, build a fanatically vocal customer base, create a passionately loyal corporate culture, and develop leaders who inspire and motivate.

Remaining panel speakers to be announced

8:50- 9:20 AM Recess

All below presentations will be held in Room 133

9:30 AM – 11:45 AM Railcar Repair Committee Presentations

 Sponsor: Randall Thomure, Chairman of Committee

Guidelines to a Successful Audit

This panel session is an opportunity to learn from the auditors and auditees on best practices and methods that lead to successful audits.

Speaker, Steve Berkshire, Chief Inspector, AAR MID Group


Steve Berkshire

Steve Berkshire is a third generation railroader who started his railroad career in 1980 with the Southern Pacific in Oakland, CA. He started as an apprentice, soon working up to a lead-man.  In 1989 Steve moved to Waterville Maine, to become manager of the Springfield Terminal Railroad shops.  His duties included managing an AAR M-1003 heavy repair shop, an AAR M-214 shop, and the railroad’s re-railing operations.  In 2003 Steve started with TTCI/AAR as a Mechanical Inspection Department (MID) Field Inspector.  He soon worked his way up to a Senior Inspector and in 2014 to Chief Inspector, where Steve leads 15 Inspectors who are dedicated to helping the rail industry through inspections, audits, test observations and support of the AAR technical committees.

Speaker, Jon Kramer, Manager Quality Assurance, The Andersons

Jon Kramer is a Quality Assurance Manager for the Andersons Inc. in Maumee, Ohio. The company has 18 repair facilities throughout the United States, seven of which maintain AAR M-1003 certification. As a quality assurance manager he oversees corporate and mechanical compliance, welding program administration, and assists the network locations with internal and external audits. He has an Associate’s Degree in Business from the
Joh Kramer

Joh Kramer

University of Toledo, attended the Hobart Institute of Welding and Technology in Troy, Ohio, and is a Certified Welding Inspector by the American Welding Society. In his spare time he enjoys blacksmithing and copper metal art. Jon currently resides in Toledo, Ohio with his wife and two daughters

Speaker, Adrian “Ray” Morgan, Vice President Quality, GBW Repair Shops

Ray has 38 years of diverse and progressive experience in the railroad industry. During his career in the industry he has been an avid and accomplished leader in operational management, manufacturing, consulting, regulatory compliance, quality and safety within organizations ranging from class one railroads to rolling stock leasing and maintenance/qualification companies. In his current role Ray is the Vice President of Quality Assurance for GBW Railcar Services, one of the largest networks of railcar maintenance and qualification facilities in North America. He is an active member on several AAR Tank Car Subcommittees, a member of AAR Quality Assurance Committee (Vice Chairman), Technical
Adrian Ray Morgan

Adrian Ray Morgan

Committee member for NACE, and an active member of Railway Supply Institute Quality Committee. Ray is currently focused on initiatives and implementation of a network solution to manage quality assurance.

Speaker, Dean Matzo, Vice President Quality, TrinityRail

Dean Matzo utilizes over 20 years of aerospace, automotive, industrial and consumer manufacturing experience in the development and improvement of quality systems and programs to the benefit of the corporation; but most importantly to the users of its products. As the Vice President of Quality for TrinityRail, he is responsible for the overall quality management system. His team establishes quality policies and procedures, audits and executes all quality functions to ensure compliance with Industry and Federal regulatory requirements. During his tenure at TrinityRail, he has led the organization during the largest industry ramp in recent history, requiring extensive expansion of personnel, operating locations and industry compliance audits. Dean holds an MBA from the University of Texas, BS from Western Michigan University and participates in several industry tasks forces and is on the Quality Assurance Committee for the Railway Supply Institute.
Dean Matzo

Dean Matzo

   Larry Strouse, Federal Railroad Administration

Larry Strouse is a general engineer-Hazardous Materials Packaging in the Federal Railroad Administration Hazardous Materials Division, Office of Safety, specializing in design, manufacture, maintenance and quality assurance of railroad tank cars. Larry’s 40 year career in the rail industry begins as a co-op engineering student with Electro-Motive Division of General Motors, then Quality Assurance Manager and Quality System Administrator at GATX, Director of Engineering at GE Rail Services, and his current position at FRA. Larry has been active on the AAR Tank Car Committee, The original RSI Quality Assurance Committee, and various American Welding Society and American Society for Nondestructive Testing working groups. Larry holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in engineering and business, is an ASQ Certified Quality Auditor, Certified Quality Engineer, Certified Mechanical Inspector, Certified Reliability Engineer, Certified Manager of Quality and Operational Excellence, ASNT Certified Level III in six methods, ASNT Fellow, AWS Certified Welding Engineer and Senior Certified Welding Inspector. Larry, his wife Terry and two children currently reside in Naperville, Illinois.

Evolution of Tank Cars and Bureau of Explosives

A highly informative presentation on the early development of tank cars and handling of hazardous materials that lead to the establishment of Bureau of Explosives and Tariff #BOE-6000.

Speaker: James H. Rader, Vice President Greenbrier Management Services

James Rader

James Rader

James H. Rader (Jim) provides leadership and regulatory compliance-related services to Greenbrier Companies, industrial shippers, railroads, and the railroad supply industry.  Jim also serves as an expert witness in railroad-related litigation.  Jim has more than 4-decades of railroad experience, which includes more than 3-decades of railroad hazardous material transportation and tank car standards development. Jim holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Strayer University in Business Administration, he is a Board Member for the Mechanical Association Railcar Technical Services (“MARTS”), and he attends and participates in Department of Transportation and Transport Canada’s tank car standards development committees.  Jim was the former Staff Director, Federal Railroad Administration, and a Senior Inspector for the Association of American Railroads, both located in Washington, D.C, and he worked for two Class I railroads, and a short line holding company.

Rule 1 Gage Presentation and “Hands on” practice in Exhibit Hall

An overview of the sources of AAR information (on-line) with focus on the newly released series of AAR training videos on the proper use of Rule 1 gages.  This session is conjunction with “hands-on” demonstrations of AAR Rule 1 gages which will be held Tuesday morning at 8:30 AM  September 19th in the exhibit hall  at the Amsted exhibit booth (#2731).

Speakers, David Cackovic, Assistant Vice President and Chief Technical Standards, AAR TTCI

David Cackovic

David Cackovic

David Cackovic holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, and has 32 years of experience in engineering management, standards development and management, and railroad component research and testing.  He is currently Assistant Vice President and Chief, Technical Standards and Inspections, TTCI.  From 1996 through 2002 he held the position of Executive Director, Engineering Services and Programs, where he was responsible for Mechanical, Civil, Electrical and Metallurgical Engineering Operations, as well as Instrumentation Services at the Center.  David is currently president of the Mechanical Association of Railcar Technical Services, and has served as Chairman of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Rail Transportation Division.

Stephen Berkshire, Chief Inspector, AAR MID Group

Steve Berkshire is a third generation railroader who started his railroad career in 1980 with the Southern Pacific in Oakland, CA. He started as an apprentice, soon working up to a lead-man.  In 1989 Steve moved to Waterville Maine, to become manager of the Springfield Terminal Railroad shops.  His duties included managing an AAR M-1003 heavy repair shop, an AAR M-214 shop, and the railroad’s re-railing operations.  In 2003 Steve started with TTCI/AAR as a Mechanical Inspection Department (MID) Field Inspector.  He soon worked his way up to a Senior Inspector and in 2014 to Chief Inspector, where Steve leads 15 Inspectors who are dedicated to helping the rail industry through inspections, audits, test observations and support of the AAR technical committees.

Randall Thomure, Member of MARTS Board of Directors

Randall Thomure

Randall Thomure

Randall Thomure is an advisor to the rail industry  specializing in all mechanical aspects of rail cars including engineering design, maintenance and  fleet management. fleet management. Mr. Thomure has a long history in the rail transportation industry starting with a Class 1 railroad, three major rail car leasing companies and two rail car builders. While at the railcar leasing companies, he led the engineering, maintenance and operations groups. At the car builders, lead international engineering teams and held marketing/business development roles.

11:45 AM – 12:00 PM MARTS Business Meeting

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Exhibit Hall Lunch

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Interchange Rules Panel

Sponsor: Nichole Fimple, Executive Director Rules & Standards, Association of American Railroads

Panelist, John Kieras, Union Tank Car Company

John presently serves as Director of Railroad & Industry Relations for Union Tank Car Company where he has been employed for over 40 years. He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University with a degree in accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant. John is currently a member and Vice Chairman of the AAR Arbitration and Rules Committee, current member and past chairman of the AAR Car Repair Billing Committee, past chairman of the AAR UMLER Committee and member of the AAR Associates Advisory Board. He is also a long term member of MARTS.

Panelist, Heidi Dyser, Inion Pacific Railroad

Heidi Dyser is the Director of Car Repair and Telemetry Management at UPRR.  She started with UPRR 16 years ago in their Information Technology Department as a developer and business analyst.  Heidi served as the IT representative on several industry level initiatives including, DDCT, EW, CEPM, AIR E-Train, and EQR.  In 2014 she moved into her current role and represents UP on CRB, DDCT (which she also chairs), the Time Standards TAG and the EOT TAG.

Jamie Williams

Panelist, Jamie Williams, Norfolk Southern

Jamie began his railroad career with Norfolk Southern in 1990, initially as a Locomotive Laborer and shortly thereafter accepting a position as aCarman in 1991. In 2003 he transitioned into a supervisory role which prompted many more advancement opportunities in field operations. In 2007 he landed in Atlanta, GA as the Superintendent Air Brakes before being promoted to Manager Car Administration in 2012. In June of this year, Jamie was elevated to Director Car Administration with responsibilities including NS program repair shops, wayside detection, AAR/FRA compliance, Car Repair Billing and several AAR technical committees including Arbitration and Rules.

Panelist, Jerry Bohacik, Chicago Freight Rail Services

Jerry is currently the Vice President of Repair Operations, Chicago Freight Rail Services in Schaumburg, IL.  He has been in railcar maintenance for 40 years performing numerous positions some of which are General Manager of Maintenance Services, Director of North American Rail Operations & Network Services, Manager of Contracted Maintenance, Manager of New Car Specifications & Acquisition, and Shop Superintendent just to name a few.  Additionally, he is current member of; AAR Arbitration & Rules Committee, Equipment Health Monitoring Committee, Board Member of MARTS, and has participated in various TAG efforts.
Gary Nelson

Gary Nelson

Panelist, Gary Nelson, Sidney and Lowe Railroad

Gary has over 40 years of experience with Freight Car Repair, AAR billing and recovery and has championed six sigma projects on ensuring proper repairs are made and that accurate recovery is achieved. Gary began his career with Norfolk & Western Railway as a Carman Helper. After achieving the position of Journeyman Carman, he began a career in Supervision throughout several locations on the Norfolk Southern system. Gary attained several levels of responsibility in management and retired from NS in 2012 as Division Manager Mechanical Operations assigned to the Illinois Division. Gary joined Progress Rail and Sidney & Lowe RR in August of 2012. In addition to his role on the MARTS Board of Directors, Gary serves on multiple committees, including the AAR Arbitration and Rules committee, the Equipment Assets Committee and the Short Line Coordinating Committee.

2:00 PM – 2:15 Recess

2:15 – 4:00 PM Transportation Technology Center, Inc. Presentations

Sponsor: David Cackovic, Assistant Vice President and Chief Technical Standards, TTCI

Railroad Deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (aka Drones) for Inspection

Speaker, Catherine Bramlett, BNSF Railway Company

Catherine Bramlett is the UAS Operations Manager for Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway’s safety-focused use of unmanned aerial systems and advanced analytics. BNSF is a critical link that connects consumers with the global marketplace. For more than 160 years, BNSF has played a vital role in building and sustaining this nations economy, and BNSF believes that UAS combined with powerful analytics and predictive capabilities will help support safe and efficient railway operations. Via the FAA Pathfinder Program and based on a cooperative research and development agreement, BNSF has the distinct privilege of assisting the FAA in developing beyond line of sight (BOLS) capabilities and integration of BOLS automated aircraft into the NAS. Previous to her four years of employment at BNSF, she spent over 10 years of her career in the Aviation Industry working for NASA Armstrong, BAE Systems, and JPL.

Strategies to Improve Hot Bearing Detection

Scott Cummings

Scott Cummings

Speaker, Scott Cummings, Scientist, TTCI

Scott Cummings is a Scientist at the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. where he currently manages rolling stock and vehicle/track interaction research projects. His 20-year tenure at TTCI includes focus in the areas of vehicle dynamic behavior, wheels, air-brakes, longitudinal train dynamics, and rail grinding. He has written more than 100 technical papers and reports. Through TTCI’s employee exchange program, Scott had the privilege of spending a year with Norfolk Southern’s Research and Tests group investigating derailments and issues associated with maintenance-of-way. Scott holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering.

4:00 PM – 4:45 PM Class D Wheel Performance in Canadian Heavy Haul Service

Sponsor: David Cackovic, Assistant Vice President and Chief Technical Standards, TTCI

Cameron Lonsdale

Cameron Lonsdale

Speaker: Cameron Lonsdale, Senior Vice President Sales, Standard Steel, LLC

Cameron Lonsdale is Senior Vice President Sales for Standard Steel, LLC. Previous positions include Vice-President Research and DevelopmentforAmsted Rail/Griffin Wheel (7 years), Vice President – Technical for Standard Steel, LLC (4 years), and Technical Manager – Railway Products for Standard Steel, LLC (5 years). Mr. Lonsdale worked for Conrail for more than 10 years and held positions in the Engineering, Sales/Marketing, andTransportation Departments of that U. S. railroad. Mr. Lonsdale began his railroad career as the night Trainmaster at Conrail’s Ashtabula Harbor, Ohio, coal and iron ore docks on Lake Erie, and later served as the Metallurgical Engineer at the Conrail system locomotive shop at Altoona, PA. Mr. Lonsdale holds a BS in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso, a MS in Materials Science and Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, and a MBA from Saint Francis University, Loretto, PA. He has authored or co-authored more than 110 papers and presentations on various railroad industry subjects including wheel and axle manufacturing and performance, rail welding, and railroad tool performance. Mr. Lonsdale was the 2008-2009 Chairman of the ASME Rail Transportation Division, is a former member of the AAR Heavy Axle Load Engineering Research Committee (4 years), is a current member of the AAR TTCI Research Advisory Board, and the AAR Wheels, Axles, Bearings and Lubrication (WABL) Committee.





Tuesday, September 19, 2017

7:00 AM-2:00 PM Registration

8:00 AM-3:00 PM Exhibits Open

8:00 AM-10:00 AM Exhibit Hall Breakfast

8:30 – 9:30 AM Interchange Rule 1 gage “hands on” activity

Randall Thomure

Randall Thomure

Sponsor: Randall Thomure, Chairman of the Railcar Repair Committee

This activity will be held on the exhibit floor at the Amsted exhibit booth (#2731). Participants will have the opportunity to actually use various AAR gages under the guidance of trained personnel.

All below presentations will be held in Room 133

8:30 – 10:15 Protective Coatings Committee Presentations

Sponsor: James R. Molnar, Manager R&D, Union Tank Car Company

Polyaspartic Coatings Update

Ahren Olson

Ahren Olson

Speakers,  Ahren Olsen, Covestro

Ahren Olson is the Marketing Manager for Corrosion Protection with Covestro LLC in Pittsburgh, PA. He has been with Covestro for 13 years, holding both technical and marketing positions in the area of protective coatings. Ahren holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in chemistry from The College of Wooster and is a SSPC Protective Coating Specialist and NACE certified Coatings Inspector – Level 2. He is currently responsible for business development for the protective coatings market in North America.

Rubber Linings: Technical Update, Qualification & Examination

Tom Shewfelt

Tom Shewfelt

Speaker, Tom Shewfelt, Polycorp

Tom Shewfelt is Sales Manager for the Protective Linings Division at Polycorp Ltd and has been in the rubber sheet manufacturing industry for almost 7 years traveling throughout North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa.  He works extensively with lining applicators, end users and rail tank car professionals investigating concerns and helping them develop solutions for their corrosion protection issues.  Previous to Polycorp he had a 25 year career in the foundry industry in Quality Control and Product and Sales Management.

Rubber Car Polymer-Lined Fittings

David Clugg

David Clugg

Speaker, David Clugg, Salco Products

David Clugg is Vice President of Business Development, Customer Support and Marketing at Salco Products. He has a degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Behavioral Science and Law, and an MBA from DePaul University. He has been working in the transportation industry for over 20 years, for a major railcar leasing company, a valve manufacturer, and an electrical contracting firm, prior to joining Salco four years ago. Among his current responsibilities is the Hazarsolve product line, which encompasses lined fittings plates, dip tubes, hose fittings and many other components for corrosive service.

Waterbased Acrylic 2k Epoxies & 1k Zero-VOC Terpolymers: A 20 Year Durability Study

Wayne Kurcz

Wayne Kurcz

Speaker, Wayne Kurcz, Williams-Hayward

Wayne E. Kurcz is CEO and President of International Operations at Williams-Hayward Protective Coatings. He has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Science from DePaul University. He has been working in the development and marketing of rail and transportation coatings for over 45 years, specializing in waterborne and zero VOC technologies.

Update on NACE Activities

Daniel Emerson

Daniel Emerson

Speaker, Dan Emerson, Carboline

Daniel Emerson is a Technical Service Representative for the Midwest in the Rail Division of Carboline Coatings. Before joining Carboline 3 years ago, Daniel was a Chemical Engineer for GATX, specializing in coatings. He has a bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is current Chairman of NACE’s Specific Technology Group 43 for Land Transportation.

Regulatory Update

Presentation Sponsor, Jay Grove, GATX

Speaker, Larry Strouse, Federal Railroad Administration

10:15 AM – 10:30 AM Recess

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM Machine Vision and other Technologies

Sponsor, Kim Bowling, Director of Car Monitoring & Diagnostics, CSX Transportation

Deep Learning 101: A Primer on How Advanced Algorithms are Developed

Matt Berseth

Matt Berseth

Speaker, Matt Berseth, Lead Scientist, NLP Logix

Matt Berseth is Co-Founder and Lead Scientist for NLP Logix.  Over the past six years, Matt has lead the growth of NLP Logix from a start-up to one of the fastest growing machine learning/artificial intelligence companies in the country.  Matt has recently been recognized as one of the top deep learning experts and regularly makes presentations on his techniques across the world.  Prior to joining NLP Logix, Matt worked for Microsoft as well as numerous organizations leading their machine learning efforts.

First Steps into Inspection Automation


Kim Bowling

Speaker, Kim Bowling,  Director of Car Monitoring & Diagnostics, CSX Transportation

Kim Bowling has a long history in Mechanical Operations at CSX.  For the last six years, she was responsible for installation and implementation of various wayside detection systems, from WILD to acoustics to machine vision systems.

Fundamentals of Machine Vision for Railway Applications

Speaker, Daniel Magnus, Vice President KLD Labs, Incorporated

Daniel Magnus

Daniel Magnus

Mr. Magnus is co-founder and Vice President of KLD Labs, Inc. KLD Labs is an internationally recognized research and development firm specializing in on-board and wayside machine vision systems for the global railway industry. He received his Masters of Science degree from Polytechnic Institute of New York. Mr. Magnus has over 30 years of research and development experience within the railway sector. He is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association, the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance Association and the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board. He has presented and published numerous papers for AREMA, APTA, ASME, CM, CORE, IHHA, TRB and WTMS. During his career his noted achievements is the development and introduction of machine vision systems to the railway industry. Mr. Magnus was involved in the design and deployment of the world’s first automated machine vision systems for rail inspection. Following the success of these systems, he served numerous technical roles in the development of machine vision systems for the automated inspection of additional vehicle and track components. KLD has now deployed over 450 rail and wheel profile measurement systems in operation in 32 countries on high speed, inter-city, freight, commuter, transit and light rail systems

12:00 PM-1:00 PM Exhibit Hall Lunch

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Asset Health

Sponsor, Jamie Williams, Manager Car Administration-Mechanical, Norfolk Southern Corporation

Speakers, Margaret Koprek, BNSF Railway

Margaret Koprek

Margaret Koprek

Margaret Koprek is a manager, Condition-Based Maintenance, BNSF Mechanical. In this role, Margaret is responsible for reducing mechanical failures—including broken railcar wheels –by developing wayside detection technology, including statistical models and advanced analytics. The technology Margaret develops is used across BNSF’s system to help ensure the safety of BNSF’s employees and members of the community where BNSF operates, which is comprised of more than 32,500 route miles of track in 28 states and three Canadian provinces. Margaret joined BNSF in 2007 through the Summer Intern and Management Trainee programs. She has held positions in Kansas City, KS and Fort Worth, TX. Margaret received her Bachelor of Science and her Master of Science at Texas A&M University. She also received a Master of Science, Industrial Engineering at St. Mary’s University. Margaret lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her husband, two daughters and two dachshunds.

   Bill Sheesley, Union Pacific Railroad

Bill Sheesley has worked for the Union Pacific Mechanical Department for 12 years, and has been UP’s representative on the AAR Brake Systems Committee for 6 years.  He graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and from the University of Nebraska-Omaha with a M.S. in Computer Science.  He is a Des Moines, IA native, but has lived in Omaha, NE for 13 years with his wife Mary, and daughter Willa.

Chip Summey

   Chip Summey,  Director Asset Services, Railinc

Chip has over 14 years experience in the transportation industry managing and implementing small and large scale projects, including rail PTC and wayside communication projects. Chip has been with Railinc since 2008 and been involved with several industry initiatives included the Asset Health Strategic Initiative, EHMS, Car Repair Billing, UMLER, and the Damage and Defective Car Tracking System. He has been a frequent member of the MARTS faculty presenting progress of these endeavors to conference attendees.

   Ron Tsolis – Railinc


The above topics and speakers have been confirmed as of August 10, 2017.