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Railroad industry awards 2012 Professional Environmental Excellence Award to Union Pacific’s Lanny Schmid

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today awarded the 2012 Professional Environmental Excellence Award, the highest honor for environmental professionals in the railroad industry, to Union Pacific (UP) Director of Environmental Affairs Lanny Schmid. Based in Omaha, Neb., Schmid, a 27-year veteran of the railroad industry, works tirelessly to identify environmental trends and initiatives to bring about optimal solutions for both his company and the communities through which it operates. The award was presented at the annual Railroad Environmental Conference at the University of Illinois, Urbana. “Railroads have a great environmental story to tell from a fuel efficiency and emissions reduction standpoint,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger.  “But it is employees like Lanny who are dedicated to both their company and to the preservation of our natural environment that are the rail industry's ultimate environmental advantage.”  During his 27-year career with UP, Schmid has held responsibilities in almost all geographic regions and all environmental programs. A great facilitator, his conflict resolution skills have enabled him to bring together federal and state agencies, communities and key personnel from various railroad departments to find workable solutions to environmental issues. For example, in California, he has worked closely with the California Air Resources Board since the mid-1990s to bring the most advanced and environmentally friendly technology to California’s South Coast Air Basin before it was commercially available, leading to a 65 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. In Texas, Schmid brought disparate parties together to introduce the Genset locomotive which reduces particulate matter (PM) and NOx by up to 90 percent. He also recently led a program to explore experimental testing of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) to reduce NOx emissions. Working with the locomotive manufacturer and the Sacramento Metro Air District to test both the new technology and other emissions reducing after-treatment technology, the locomotive more than meets the Tier 3 NOx standard and Tier 4 PM standards. He has also being instrumental in obtaining grants to replace 166 older locomotives with newer ones that reduce emissions. In addition to the many ways he has helped UP, off the job, Schmid, a committed environmentalist, spends countless hours involved in personal environmental causes. Using sustainable practices such as variable rate fertilizing on his family farm, Schmid has successfully reduced the amount of surface runoff and fertilizer released to groundwater. He has also enrolled more than 100 acres of his land in conservation programs to provide and improve habitat for indigenous wildlife and migratory birds. Schmid serves on the Board of Directors for the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District which is dedicated to the “conservation, preservation, and wise use of natural resources.”  Schmid was one of six 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 five other nominees are as follows (alphabetically): 

Michael Avans, manager of environmental controls with Canadian National (CN) in Chicago, Ill. Avans had a strong environmental background even before joining the railroad in 2002, having previously worked in municipal wastewater treatment in Alabama. Initially responsible for storm water, waste water and locomotive fuel system operation, maintenance and repair, Avans has worked continuously to improve his knowledge on groundwater remediation, environmental site assessment and compliance regulations. Recently promoted to assume responsibilities in CN’s busy Chicago Division, his strategic approach to addressing hazmat and environmental issues and spills have protected natural resources and minimized CN’s impact on the environment.

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