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Enhancing the environment and the industry through cleaner, more efficient engines


Marti Lenz

Product Leader, Engine Systems 
Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc  
La Grange, IL
30 years in the industry

Some people consider the diesel engine to be a bit of a dinosaur, but Marti Lenz, product leader of engine systems at Electro-Motive Diesels (EMD) headquarters in La Grange, IL, thinks they're wrong. “The efficiency of the engine and the amount of energy content in the diesel fuel make it the most effective way to move large, heavy objects like locomotives around,” she says. “Biodiesel fuel is a great thing but even that has less energy content, so my prediction is the diesel engine will still be here a quarter century from now.”

A mechanical engineer who signed on with EMD, an AAR Associate Member company, after graduating from Northwestern University nearly 30 years ago, Lenz should know. She's responsible for the design and manufacture of diesel engines for locomotives, leading a team of 400 engine group employees currently focusing their efforts on greening the industry by reducing the emission of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a bi-product of combustion. “A locomotive is essentially an electrical machine but the engine is the heart of it so our job is to reduce NOx emissions while improving fuel efficiency,” she says. “Greenhouse gases and particulate emissions are directly related to fuel efficiency and consumption.”

Lenz's work involves design and manufacturing, managing to include every facet of mechanical engineering in the process. “It's my dream job,” she says. When the duties of her job don't require that she travel to India and China, she and her husband enjoy being outside skiing, camping, hiking or playing with their two large dogs. “The locomotive is a pretty technical vehicle that has everything a car has but more, so there's always something interesting to work on,” Lenz says. “The more efficient we can make freight rail the better. Right now, there's no other mode of transportation that can match it.”



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