Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) has selected Ronald Ries as the recipient of the Champion Award for 2018.
Ries recently accepted the honor at a meeting of the national rail safety education organization’s National Advisory Council, where he has served as the federal agency representative for many years.
Ries is the staff director of the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Highway-Rail Crossing and Trespasser Programs Division.
The award was created in 2010 to recognize people inside or outside of the Operation Lifesaver program who advance the organization’s community safety goals.
The award is intended to recognize individuals who have contributed significantly to the mission of key components of rail safety: education, enforcement or engineering.
“I strongly believe that Operation Lifesaver makes a very big difference. Its message is important. Operation Lifesaver has been an organization that I put at the top of the list in my career,” Ries said.
Ries joined the FRA in October of 1994 as a crossing and trespasser regional manager. Four years later, he began to work on crossing safety and trespass prevention issues at FRA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. with the Crossing Safety and Trespass Prevention Programs team, officials said.
Ries was appointed as staff director of the crossing team in January 2001 and is set to retire at the end of the year.
His involvement with OLI began early in his career when Ries served as chair of Iowa’s Operation Lifesaver governing committee. He has since trained many of the educators who share OLI’s safety messages throughout the U.S.
Ries has also acted as a speaker about rail safety and trespass prevention. He helped create one of the first trespass prevention guides in the late 1990s – a joint project with OLI, and Transport Canada, as well.
The guide was adapted by the FRA and Transport Canada. Officials note that his career at FRA has also involved work with train horn regulations and quiet zones.
“Ron Ries exemplifies the word champion,” said Wende Corcoran, interim president of OLI. “He’s been an integral part of our National Advisory Council and a vital supporter for the Operation Lifesaver state programs across the country. Ron understands the need for state and local community support. His passion concerning Operation Lifesaver’s mission of saving lives around tracks and trains is unmistakable and ever present in his work. We will miss his expertise and dedication. We wish him happiness in the next chapter of his life.”