Top Rail Execs to Provide Industry Insights at MARS Winter Meeting

January 13–14 Event Focused On ‘What’s Next For Shippers, Railroads, and the Supply Chain?’
CHICAGO, Illinois—December 16, 2015 (James Street Media Services)—Top executives from three Class 1 railroads will be speaking at the 246th meeting of the Midwest Association of Rail Shippers (MARS) on January 13–14, 2016 in Lombard, Illinois. 
Speakers from Union Pacific, Kansas City Southern, and the BNSF are just one facet of the timely and topical agenda MARS has put together for its annual Winter Meeting.
“Not only will we have all that railroad star power, but we will also hear from shipper, transportation, and regulatory leaders representing Cargill, Transplace, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Association of American Railroads, the American Trucking Associations, the National Industrial Transportation League, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, and the Surface Transportation Board,” said MARS President George Macko.
Macko said the program line-up features expert perspectives on the overall North American economy, transportation capacity horizon, rail market, rail equipment and shop capacity, and the 2016 legislative outlook from Washington, D.C.
“Shippers attending the conference will be looking for information on the regulatory, economic, and capacity issues that have potential to create significant market challenges for them in the coming year,” said Macko.
The railroad executives in order of appearance include: Lance Fritz, chairman, president, and CEO of Union Pacific Railroad; Patrick Ottensmeyer, president, Kansas City Southern; and Matt Rose, executive chairman, BNSF Railway. Other presentations and panel sessions are:
• “Where Are We in the Economic Cycle?” with William Strauss, senior economist and advisor, Chicago Federal Reserve
• “Just What We Need: More ‘Help’ from Washington” with Edward Hamberger, president and chief executive officer, Association of American Railroads (AAR), and Pat Thomas, chairman, American Trucking Associations (ATA)
• “Capacity: Staying Ahead of the Curve” with Tom Sanderson, CEO of Transplace, and George Schember, vice president Transportation and Logistics, Cargill
• “Railroad Renaissance: Dead or Alive?” with Tony Hatch, president, ABH Consulting
• “Trends and Challenges in Today’s Global Supply Chains” with Rick Blasgen, president and CEO, Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
• “Regulatory/Legislative Update: A Tale of Two Views” with Jeff Moreno, partner, Thompson Hine, and Tim Strafford, associate general counsel, AAR
• Surface Transportation Board update from Chairman Daniel Elliott, III
• “Shop Capacity: Is There Room for Everyone?” with Dick Kloster, senior vice president Business Development, AllTranstek
There will also be a range of educational breakout sessions such as Railroading 101 and 201, Intermodal 101, Railcar Fleet Management, Industrial Plant Safety, and—new for 2016—Transloading 101. There is no charge for the educational seminars and it is not necessary to attend the conference to attend a seminar. Anyone interested is welcome to attend.
The conference is scheduled for a full day on January 13, and a half day on January 14. The luncheon on January 13 will be co-sponsored by the Traffic Club of Chicago. There is also a get-acquainted reception on the evening of January 12. The Winter Meeting is relocating, and this January will be held at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center, 70 Yorktown Shopping Center, Lombard, Illinois.
Register online for the winter meeting.  
Hotel reservations for the winter meeting can also be made online.
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