Alaska Railroad to promote Hopp to COO, Engebretson to retire

Written by Kyra Senese, managing editor
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Alaska Railroad

The Alaska Railroad (ARRC) has promoted Clark Hopp, vice president of engineering, to serve as chief operating officer (COO) beginning Jan. 1, 2018.  


Hopp will begin his new role following the retirement of current COO Doug Engebretson. ARRC said the COO manages operations including rail transportation, engineering, mechanical, safety and grant administration.

“Involved with railroading for more than two decades, Clark has exceptional insight into railroad infrastructure and operations,” said Bill O’Leary, ARRC president. “During the 17 years he has worked at the Alaska Railroad, Clark has proven to be a high-caliber leader. These qualities are essential to being an effective COO.”

Hopp has led the railroad’s Engineering Department since February 2013, initially joining ARRC in 2001 as a capital projects manager. He became manager of civil projects in 2003 and in 2011, he was promoted to act as director of special projects, a role that allowed him to oversee the Port MacKenzie Rail Extension and Northern Rail Extension Phase One mega rail extension projects.

Prior to joining ARRC, Hopp worked for Transystems Corporation, a Nebraska-based engineering consulting firm. From 1995 to 2001, Hopp worked on project management for BNSF and Union Pacific (UP) railroads. An alumnus of Iowa Western College, Hopp earned a degree in Construction Engineering Technology.

“I am humbled and appreciative for the opportunity to lead the Alaska Railroad operation. I look forward to working with world class railroaders in continuing our commitment to safe and efficient operations,” Hopp said. “Over the years, I have seen the safety and operational benefits from our investment in the railroad infrastructure and believe that focused investment in our railroad and our people will be key to our success in the future. The railroad is a remarkable organization with exceptional people and I know we are ready to face the challenges in front of us.”

Engebretson, a third-generation railroader, joined ARRC in 1984 as a carman. He spent about 30 years working in the mechanical field, working his way up to serve as chief mechanical officer in 2008.

Engebretson was named COO in late 2013, ARRC said.

“Having risen from the ranks, Doug has been a well-rounded leader. We have benefitted greatly from his extensive experience with regulatory compliance, safety and personnel management,” O’Leary said. “The railroad will miss him.”

Categories: Intercity, Shortline/Regional