Chuck Baker, president of the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC), is stepping down Feb. 4 to become president and CEO of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA.)
“It is with a heavy heart that I leave the NRC, as I truly love the rail construction and maintenance industry, NRC’s contractor, supplier, and associate members, the Board, and the NRC staff at Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell,” Baker said in a written statement. “However, I leave confident that the NRC is in better shape than ever and poised nicely to continue to improve.”
Baker joined the NRC in February 2004 as the association’s manager, and later advanced to vice president, executive director, and, eventually, president.
Both the NRC and ASLRRA are clients of Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell, the Washington, DC-based lobbying and government affairs organization. Other CC&H employees with roles at NRC, including Matt Bell, Mike McGonagle, and Chana Elgin, will remain with NRC.
In his role as NRC president, Baker has been responsible for all of the association’s core financial, operational, and legal programs, including the federal legislative and regulatory and program in front of both Congress and the Administration. Baker also led a team at CC&H for ASLRRA, handling a wide array of short line railroad government affairs responsibilities.
ASLRRA Chair, Judy Petry, president and general manager of Farmrail System, Inc., said Baker’s rail experience made him the ideal choice. “As the lead partner on government affairs efforts for the ASLRRA … including on our key priority, permanence of the Short Line 45G Tax Credit, he has showcased his keen understanding of the needs of our industry. In addition, he has led multiple industry associations and high performing teams,” she said. Baker replaces Linda Bauer Darr, who resigned as ASLRRA president in June to become president and CEO of the American Council of Engineering Cos.
The NRC has not yet chosen a replacement for Baker. “The executive committee is exploring options,” Mike Choat, the Wabtec executive who serves as NRC Chairman, told Railway Track & Structures. “We will work in concert with CC&H.”
Baker’s departure comes just weeks after the NRC Conference and REMSA Exhibition in Marco Island, Fla. In a touching moment at that conference, Baker was on stage when Ray Chambers, the man who hired Baker for his first job at NRC, was inducted in to the NRC Hall of Fame. Chambers is a former NRC president and principal of CC&H.
Baker is a native of Baltimore and a graduate of Rice University.