Watco Executive Vice President and COO Rick Baden said, "We are excited to welcome the Ann Arbor Railroad into the Watco family and look forward to building a relationship with the customers of the Ann Arbor. We plan to continue the excellent service they've been receiving and to pursue opportunities to build economic value for the communities, states and customers we serve."
AA serves southeastern Michigan and the Toledo, Ohio, markets, focusing mostly on the automobile and manufacturing industries. The AA operates 50 miles of mainline track between Ann Arbor, Mich., and Toledo, as well as significant rail terminals in the Toledo area, focused on automobile loading for Chrysler, General Motors and Ford. The railroad interchanges with Class 1 railroads Canadian National, CSX and Norfolk Southern, as well as shortlines Great Lakes Central, Indiana & Ohio and Wheeling & Lake Erie.
"As Watco's second shortline in the state of Michigan, the AA looks forward to continue performing a vital role in creating value for both our Michigan and Ohio customers," said Bob Billings, AA general manager. "The resources that will be available to us as part of the Watco team will allow us to pursue additional opportunities that will further benefit our customers."
In other Watco news, Anwar Aiken was named general manager of the Alabama Southern Railroad (ABS). Aiken will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations on the ABS. His duties will be to meet performance goals with optimum safety, economy, efficiency and effectiveness, along with overseeing customer relationships in accordance with the company's Customer First Foundation Principles. He will be responsible for establishing operating budgets and controlling expenses in all areas of the operation. He will be accountable to ensure all company policies and procedures are being followed by his team members and all are administered fairly and equitably.
Aiken began his railroad career with Kansas City Southern as a conductor in 2006 and was promoted to assistant trainmaster in Gulfport, Miss., in 2007. He was named trainmaster in 2009 in Monroe, La., and then joined the ABS as trainmaster in 2012.