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Railroad Industry Awards 2011 Professional Environmental Excellence Award to David Powell of Genesee & Wyoming

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has awarded the 2011 Professional Environmental Excellence Award to Genesee & Wyoming (GWI) Vice President for Motive Power David Powell. Based in Jacksonville, Fla., Powell has 19 years of environmental experience all within the rail industry.  The award, the first ever awarded to an employee of a short line and regional railroad, was presented at the annual Railroad Environmental Conference at University of Illinois, Urbana.

“Environmental excellence is a trademark of the railroad industry thanks in large part to the hard work and dedication of exceptional employees like the ones we are honoring here today,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger.  “David Powell is a wonderful example for all rail employees in his dedication to Genesee & Wyoming and the industry’s overall progress in achieving environmental excellence.”

After joining GWI in 2003, Powell immediately focused his attention on making improvements in the locomotive area that would reap benefits on the environmental front. Powell created an Environmental Team consisting of someone from each of the Regions and brought in industry experts to heighten awareness and increase training.  He also set up field environmental assessments at operational locations where deficiencies were found and quickly rectified. Powell also set in motion the process by which GWI acquired its first GenSet locomotives and developed a program where Standard Environmental Procedures have been identified across areas that have the potential to impact the environment. He was also the force behind GWI’s entry into the EPA SmartWay Program in 2007 and the successful completion of the 4-year goals identified in the company’s SmartWay plan. Over the past several years, Powell has also established several critical company programs, such as:

• a Hazmat Spill reporting program for all spills of 5-gallons and over;

• an annual training program for all field employees on environmental awareness, hazmat and spill response, and emergency response plans, and

• a Fall Clean-Up day where field personnel go through an environmental self-check and general clean up.

In addition to the many ways he has helped GWI, Powell serves as an environmental advocate in his community where he advises his church’s parish council of available recycling programs aimed at recovering and recycling waste generated by the church at its many community functions each month.  

Powell was one of seven railroad industry professionals nominated for the award which recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding performance in environmental awareness and responsibility during the year.

The six other nominees are as follows (alphabetically):

Stan Bell, a Calgary, Alberta-based director of operating standards and rules with Canadian Pacific Railway (CP). A 32-year veteran of the railroad industry, Bell played a critical role in developing CP’s use of distributed power and longer train strategy, which optimizes locomotive use. This, in turn, reduces fuel consumption and atmospheric contaminants as well as greenhouse gas emissions. He has also been instrumental in developing programs that have reduced track wear, even with the operation of longer, heavier trains.  Earlier this year, Bell received the International Heavy Haul Association’s Best Paper Award for his paper: The Continued Evolution of Safer, More Productive and Less Destructive Trains on CPR.

Tony Curtis Bellamy, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based director of environmental engineering and field services for CSX Transportation. Bellamy, a 22 year veteran of the industry, manages daily environmental compliance requirements for almost 300 CSX facilities.  Under his leadership, environmental review scores have improved about 40 percent.  In particular, significant strides were made in improving waste minimization practices, general housekeeping, and preventing fuel spills.  Bellamy developed a used oil management program that recovered more than two million gallons annually.  His team also developed a program which identifies waste dump sites and mitigates the sites based on an assigned risk index.  Bellamy also created and implemented a new comprehensive environmental sentinel training course for front line operations managers and craft employees.

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