One week left to register for popular MARS Winter Meeting

‘A New Age of Rail Operations’ is theme for January 16–17 event

CHICAGO—January 7, 2019 (James Street Media Services)—More than 700 people are already registered to attend the Winter Meeting of the Midwest Association of Rail Shippers (MARS), which will be held January 16–17 in Lombard, Illinois.

The annual event brings rail industry experts together to share insights and ideas for improving freight rail productivity and efficiency.

“The new year allows us to look past the challenges of 2018 and into the possibilities for 2019,” said MARS President Harry Zander. “Our Winter Meeting program offers insights from some of the top industry experts. We already have more than 600 people registered to attend, and we expect some very lively discussions centered around our theme of a New Age of Rail Operations." 

The scheduled speakers include:

  • Matt Rose, the executive chairman of BNSF, in a Q&A session with leading rail analyst Tony Hatch of ABH Consulting;
  • John Hellmann, chairman, president, and CEO, Genessee & Wyoming;
  • Mark Wallace, executive vice president of sales and marketing, CSX;
  • Jeffrey Lytle, president, CIT Rail;
  • Tommy Spaulding, founder and president, Spaulding Companies;
  • Jeannie Frana, global process owner, data & technology lead Cargill, Inc;
  • Kevin Day, senior director data analytics and field technology, CN;
  • Chuck Baker, partner, Chambers, Conlon and Hartwell
  • Tony Hatch, president, ABH Consulting; and
  • William Strauss, senior economist, Federal Reserve of Chicago.

There will also be presentations on blockchain and railroad customer information technology, plus legislative and equipment updates. 

In addition to the programs and presentations, the Winter Meeting will offer a range of educational breakout seminars relevant to experienced transportation executives, as well as people new to the industry. Sessions will include: Railroading 101; Railroading 201; Intermodal 101; Railcar Fleet Management; and other rail freight-oriented topics. There is no charge for these seminars, and it is not necessary to attend the conference to attend a seminar. Anyone interested in these subjects is welcome to attend at no cost.

The conference starts with a welcome reception on the evening of Tuesday, January 15, a full day on Wednesday, January 16, and a half-day on Thursday, January 17. MARS is also hosting a daylong rail goods and services vendor exhibition on January 16, concurrent with the formal meeting.

Registration cost for the Winter Meeting is $300 for members and for guests. Registration can be completed online.

The Winter Meeting will be held at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center, 70 Yorktown Shopping Center, Lombard, Illinois.

About The Midwest Association of Rail Shippers

The Midwest Association of Rail Shippers (MARS) is one of five regional North American associations under the North American Rail Shippers (NARS) national organization. Headquartered in the Chicago area, MARS provides an open forum for discussion and resolution of rail transportation issues by bringing railroads, shippers, receivers, and rail supply companies together twice annually for formal meetings in the Chicago area. To review the most recent meeting presentations and to inquire about MARS membership, please visit the MARS website at

Bill Fahrenwald

James Street Associates