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Freight Rail Industry Honors Employees for Environmental Awareness

BNSF's David Smith Awarded 2014 Professional Environmental Excellence Award


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oct. 28, 2014 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today awarded the 2014 Professional Environmental Excellence Award, which is the highest honor for environmental professionals in the railroad industry, to BNSF Railway Manager of Environmental Remediation David Smith.  

The award, which recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding performance in environmental awareness and responsibility during the year, was presented at the annual Railroad Environmental Conference at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, on Oct. 28, 2014.

"Environmental stewardship is a key foundation of the rail industry and the Professional Environmental Excellence Award showcases those dedicated professionals who advance technologies and practices in this important area," said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. "Employees like David, who are committed to greener and cleaner technologies and more efficient operating practices, will ensure our environment is preserved and protected in the years ahead."

After 38 years in the industry, Smith has continued to exhibit a high degree of environmental awareness through exemplary work performance.

Smith started his railroad career sweeping snow from switches in a BNSF rail yard during the winters in Nebraska.  He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science and Master's degree in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  During his railroad career, Smith has worn many hats and held a variety of positions; a Manager of Environmental Remediation at BNSF today, he manages environmental remediation projects at a variety of sites.  Smith led an effort to get a portion of BNSF land adjacent to the Whitefish River donated to Whitefish, Montana for use as a park, called "Whitefish Landing".  His use of earned-value analysis (EVA) in the Whitefish Landing project was critical to keeping the project on track to reducing overall site costs by $3 million. 

Smith was one of five railroad industry professionals nominated for the 2014 Professional Environmental Excellence Award.  The four other nominees are as follows (alphabetically):

Michael Gregory – CSX

Michael Gregory, rail Manager of Environmental Field Services with CSX Transportation (CSX), has 19 years of service in the rail industry.  In his position, Gregory manages three physical and chemical wastewater treatment facilities as well as seven oil and water separators throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.  He was instrumental in the design of a new wastewater treatment facility in Hamlet, N.C., incorporating state-of-the-art wastewater treatment technologies. Gregory has a track record of successfully managing teams in a response to crisis situations.  He oversaw coordinated efforts to minimize potential environmental impacts from oil in the river by developing an effective course of action in conjunction with local, state and federal agencies.  He has also developed a program to revitalize facility operations that led to an effort to move petroleum lines above ground to easily detect potential petroleum spillage. Gregory has shown a commitment to constant improvement including earning numerous environmental certifications and received recognition from CSX in 2012 for exemplary compliance task completions which reflected his dedication to achieving environmental compliance and preventing harmful impacts to the environment.

Michael Moore – UP

Michael Moore, a Manager of Hazardous Materials with Union Pacific (UP), has eight years of service in the rail industry and is responsible for providing oversight on the transportation and remediation of hazardous materials to prevent and reduce environmental risks.  He drafted the Transfer Truck & Equipment Operations & Maintenance Manual, and these processes have been implemented across UP as best practices.  UP has not experienced any spills during transfer activities since the implementation nor has any transferred lading been rejected because of contamination during a transfer.  Moore re-designed UP's transfer trucks, making them safer and more fuel efficient.  He also developed a process to segregate recyclable waste during remediation and sought out opportunities to plant trees and reseed the soil once a site has been remediated.  His commitment to constant improvement has received recognition from Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response (TRANSCAER) for preparing emergency responders in the handling of hazardous materials.  The Chlorine Institute looks to Moore as the railroad expert for transferring and managing chlorine incidents.

Nancy Terrault-Somogyi – CN

Nancy Terrault-Somogyi, an Environmental Officer for Canadian National Railway (CN), has 37 years of service in the rail industry.  In her position, Terrault-Somogyi is responsible for financial reporting of operating budgets, capital projects and environmental liability for proper invoicing and billing.  She has established financial systems to facilitate the field performance work and timely completion; and identified and corrected invoicing problems related to environmental activities to ensure timely billing, minimal invoice rejection and reduction in budget complication. Most recently Terrault-Somogyi was instrumental in the deployment of a cloud solution which allowed for more efficient review of plans, proposals, work authorizations and invoicing for contaminated sites projects which simplified the review and approval for individual invoices. Her most recent effort was to establish a SharePoint data system for all environmental capital projects that allows progress tracking of expenses against planned capital budgets.  Terrault-Somogyi has saved CN $2 million to $3 million on environmental work.

Joe Van Humbeck – CP

Joe Van Humbeck, a System Manager, Environmental Assessment for Canadian Pacific (CP), has led the development of ongoing maintenance activities throughout Canada's Columbia River Basin for the past three years.  This development creates and enhances fish habitats on an annual basis. More recently, Van Humbeck has taken the environmental lead for CP's Positive Train Control (PTC) initiative.  Van Humbeck has served as CP's representative and brought an environmental perspective during the industry's discussions with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the potential for streamlining of Environmental, Historical and Tribal reviews associated with PTC wayside towers.  This past year, he has led an environmental screening program across CP's Network for major capital projects as well as all capital maintenance projects in Canada, which led CP to reduce the number of formal approval applications required in Canada.

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For more information contact: AAR Media Relations at 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 Follow us on Twitter: AAR_FreightRail or Facebook: