Railway Track and Structures Award Programs

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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RT&S 2020 Engineer of the Year Ed Boyle.
Norfolk Southern

ATLANTA –– Long time readers of RT&S are likely familiar with the four award programs we have each year to recognize excellence in engineering.

In the September issue of the magazine, we report on our Engineer of the Year award, which usually focuses on a high-ranking individual within a rail organization that makes a significant contribution to the railroad’s engineering program. This program began in 2020, and we have presented the award to four Vice Presidents of Engineering, the most recent being Brent Laing, Vice-President of Engineering at Canadian National. These award winners have demonstrated excellence in leading their engineering teams through easy times and tough times. As railroaders know, major derailments, mud slides, washouts and other damage to the rail infrastructure can be gargantuan tasks, and it’s impressive how quickly some of the projects can be completed.

In each year’s April issue, we recognize 10 successful engineers who are under 40, or our 10 under 40 awards. The individuals considered for this program are nominated by their peers, and must demonstrate leadership and engineering excellence in their work. We receive a lot of nominations and it is a real challenge to choose the ten winners. To nominate someone for the 10 under 40 recognition, please follow this link to the nomination form.

Next, in the June issue, we choose approximately ten Top Projects based on information about the project submitted to us by engineering firms, contractors, and the railroads. This is one of the most fun, yet difficult, exercises for the RT&S staff because not only do we have a chance to showcase some excellent projects, it’s exciting to review the details of each project for a first-hand look at the level of quality and precision each project has, as well as to marvel how engineering teams seem to do the impossible every day.

In the July issue, we take the opportunity to recognize approximately 12 of the top Women in Railroad Engineering. While the situation is improving, female engineers have often had a tough time with school and their first jobs since railroading is a male dominated field. While it’s not fair for women to have to deal with these challenges, RT&S and Simmons-Boardman publishing recognize and celebrate the strong contributions of female railroad engineers. In addition to our recognition of women in railroad engineering, our sister magazine, Railway Age, hosts a successful Women In Rail conference, which addresses a variety of issues relating to women working in the rail industry in all disciplines. We are very proud of these two programs and look forward to continuing both of them.

So, we encourage readers to nominate people for each of these award programs. They help celebrate our industry and provide opportunities for high-school and college women to consider the railroad as a profession.

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