WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 25, 2018 –The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today announced that Charles Bailey, Director of Design and Construction Engineering for CSX Transportation has been awarded the 2017 John H. Chafee Environmental Excellence Award.

Named in honor of the late Rhode Island senator, a strong advocate for sustainability and the environmental benefits of rail transportation, the annual awards recognize a railroad employee who has demonstrated the highest level of environmental stewardship in the previous year.

“Now more than ever, private industries must step up and do all they can to preserve the environment for future generations. Railroads are at the forefront of sustainable freight transportation, protecting the environment and efficiently delivering nearly half of the goods this country relies on,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. “Charles Bailey’s hands-on leadership has helped build and extend a legacy of stewardship and responsibility at CSX.”

Charles Bailey has developed a culture at CSX Transportation where design and construction methodologies benefit both the environment and the railroad. Bailey leads the construction engineering team on the construction of capacity improvement, clearance improvement, industrial development and outside party projects with the United States Department of Transportation. His collaborative approach with environmental teams has had a significant impact on the environmental performance of CSX. Last year marked the thirteenth year that new siding projects were fully compliant and received no Notice of Violations (NOVs) from regulatory agencies. By modifying the design on just two projects, he was able to reduce the amount of excavated rock, soil and debris going to landfills by over 24,000 cubic yards, enough to cover a football field in 14.5 feet of soil.

Bailey’s efforts have helped protect several endangered plant and animal species including the Northern Long-Eared Bat in Indiana and the Gopher Tortoise in Florida. He has gone the extra mile to protect the environment which he believes is more than our job – it’s the legacy we will leave to those generations that will follow us.

In addition to Bailey, three other railroaders were nominated for the 2017 John H. Chafee Award.  Below are brief descriptions of the other Chafee Award nominees.

Stephen (Steve) Cheney – Union Pacific

Steve Cheney has demonstrated his commitment to the environment through his role at Union Pacific Railroad as the Director of the Engineering Environmental program. In his role, Cheney ensures environmental compliance and expedited project delivery for all engineering activities including incident response, maintenance of way and capital improvements. In the past three years, Cheney and his team have provided oversight and direction for more than a thousand projects worth almost $1 billion. He was instrumental in developing a permit tracking system that connects parties and monitors the performance of hundreds of projects simultaneously, with hundreds of millions of dollars in projects annually across 23 states and 32,000 miles of track. Whether it’s protecting the wetlands of eastern Idaho or sensitive species in Missouri, Cheney has set the bar high for Union Pacific’s roughly 12,000 engineers to protect the environment in which the railroad operates.

Kimia Khatami – Pacific Harbor Line

As Director of Customer Service at Pacific Harbor Line (PHL) in the Port of Los Angeles, Kimia Khatami has restructured and enhanced PHL’s environmental compliance program. With a deep understanding of federal, state and local environmental policies, Kimia has enhanced the railroads overall understanding of the regulations that apply to their operations, preventing potential violations and helping the railroad remain good stewards of the environment. Because of her efforts, Pacific Harbor Line is not only more aware of proposed environmental regulations but is actively involved in the rulemaking process. Kimia’s development of key procedures has mitigated the railroad’s environmental impact on the Leeward Bay Marina, which is key to the success of the Pacific Harbor Line. Kimia is dedicated to PHL’s future goal to be a 100 percent green and sustainable organization.

Todd Nicholson – BNSF Railway

For a quarter of a century, Todd Nicholson has been working with BNSF and brought a strong sense of stewardship to his current role as the General Director of the Strategic Sourcing and Supply team. Nicholson oversees 25 employees and is responsible for $3 billion in annual services and commodities. Most recently, Nicholson’s leadership on safety and environmental projects has led to waste reduction and more effective control of chemical purchase and use, reducing the disposal of unused chemicals used in railroad operations. His partnership with the environmental sustainability team has made way for a new cross-functional sustainability team that looks to expand the company’s sustainability efforts in the coming year.


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For more information contact: AAR Media Relations at [email protected]  or 202-639-2345.

About AAR: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is the world’s leading railroad policy, research and technology organization focusing on the safety and productivity of rail carriers. AAR members include the major freight railroads of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Amtrak. Learn more at www.aar.org.

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