The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has announced Laurie Knight will join the association as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, effective July 25, 2011. Knight will succeed Hubert “Obie” O’Bannon, who will retire after 23 years with the association.
“Laurie has a tremendous understanding of how to effectively represent a complex industry before key decision makers in Washington,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. “We wish Obie the best in his retirement, following an incredibly distinguished career representing railroads on Capitol Hill.”
Most recently, Knight was executive vice president of government affairs at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), where for five years she was responsible for effectively representing the broadcasting industry before Congress and federal agencies. Prior to NAB, Knight was director of government affairs for the National Beer Wholesalers Association. She also served as legislative director for U.S. Rep. Jim Turner (D-Texas). A graduate of the Pepperdine University School of Law, and undergraduate of Southern Methodist University, she is also a member of the State Bars of Texas and California.
O’Bannon will retire with over 35 years of experience advocating rail industry objectives on Capitol Hill. Prior to joining AAR in 1988, he was director of federal relations at the Consolidated Rail Corporation. He also served as Special Representative with the Penn Central Transportation Company and as a legislative assistant with the Democratic Study Group. During his distinguished career, he has worked on some of the most important legislation that has helped positively shape today’s world-class U.S. freight rail system.