NRC Chairman’s Column: Don’t Overlook Opportunities to Celebrate Exceptional Accomplishments

Written by Steve Bolte
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National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association Chairman Steve Bolte.

RT&S JULY 2023 ISSUE - There are times in life that deserve recognition and celebration. Anyone who has competed in athletics knows what I’m talking about.

There are times in life that deserve recognition and celebration.  

Anyone who has competed in athletics knows what I’m talking about. I relished those moments when my teammates and I won our individual races, set personal best times, and took the University of North Carolina Tarheels swimming team to victory. The trophies and the cheers from our fans felt good and they propelled us to work even harder. Sometimes they even gave us the edge to achieve more than we could imagine.  

Once you’re out in the working world, there are no cheering squads. Opportunities to earn recognition for exceptional performance for yourself, your co-workers, and other jobsite partners come few and far between. 

But if you are a member of the NRC, you’re in luck. Every year we give our members the opportunity to honor rail industry professionals by applying for a full range of awards. It’s easy to apply for these substantive awards that provide well-deserved recognition for individuals, teams, and their companies. Award winners are honored at our annual conference in January. 

Safe Contractor of the Year – Last January the NRC honored more than 45 contractors with platinum, gold, or silver awards for exemplary safety performance during the prior year. Contractors who participate say it is a tremendous honor for employees but also provides the side benefit of evaluating and keeping their safety programs up to date with industry best practices. This award also serves as a valuable business development and marketing tool. 

Construction Projects of the Year – The NRC honors exemplary projects in two categories:  large projects (with budgets more than $10 million) and small projects (with budgets less than $10 million). Rail construction projects of all types are evaluated for successful execution in the areas of innovation, expertise, safety, and quality project management. These are fascinating awards that showcase the amazing work performed by our members. 

Field Employee of the Year – This award honors the unsung heroes of railroad construction. The presentation is always emotional because our members know the dedication and hard work required to be an exemplary field employee. Winners of this award are leaders who go above and beyond what is required, demonstrate innovation and perseverance, and possess a strong commitment to safety and customer satisfaction. 

Innovation in Technology – We know from our annual conference that railway engineering leaders continually request help with technology solutions that will generate returns on investment and bottom-line savings. This award debuted at our last conference to highlight ways our members are using technology to enhance safety and operations in our industry.  

Hall of Fame – Although not given every year, this award honors industry MVPs who have made significant contributions to the NRC and the rail construction and maintenance industry.  

Those awards are great, but awards with money may be even better. The following award is one of the ways the NRC shows its commitment to investing in educational endeavors that recognize potential and help students excel. 

Scholarship – I’m pleased to announce two exciting changes to this award. In addition to children and grandchildren of NRC member companies, employees themselves are now eligible to apply for this scholarship. The NRC also has added an additional $3,500 scholarship for trade-school students to the existing $21,000 for three undergraduate scholarships. 

These are tremendous opportunities to recognize and celebrate exceptional accomplishments. It’s time to take action while this is top of mind. The NRC is accepting scholarship applications now and all others award applications open up in the fall. Check our website for eligibility and application details: 

“Building a Safer and Stronger Railway Construction Industry Together!” 


This article is from our July 2023 issue which can be found here.

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