Watco's Biggest Losers win big

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					 the             Dispatch
The newsletter for Watco Companies, Inc. and Watco Transportation Services, Inc.                                                       February 2010, Volume 11, Issue 2

Watco’s Biggest Losers win big
by Tracie VanBecelaere                                                                  “My lunch buddies were really great about talking me out of eating certain foods
Managing Editor                                                                       in my moments of weakness,” said Kissell. “They were a good support system to
  Typically no one wants to be called a loser. However, six months ago 242                       Kissell, the now size-four mom-of-four, said her path to weight loss was
members of the Watco Team set out to be not only A loser, but the biggest
loser of all. Motivated by the benefits of                                           1 st        following common sense. She ate low-fat foods and tried to restrict her
                                                                                                                               diet to 1,000 calories per day. Like every-
better health and some extra cash, Watco                                                                                       one else these days, eating out is a common
Team members from across the United                                                                                            habit, but Kissell relied on the tools avail-
States hopped on their scales and treadmills                                                                                   able that allow you to make better choices
and focused on their goal. In the end there                                                                                    when you do eat out.
were three who could claim to be winners                                                                                         Kissell said, “I would go online and look
of Watco’s Biggest Loser Contest.                                                                                              at the calorie count of the foods at the res-
  Participants weighed in on the first and                                                                                     taurants we went to and plan ahead. I also
last day of the contest and winners were de-                                                                                   always asked for a to-go box; restaurants
termined by the percentage of body weight                                                                                      always give you too much food.”
that they had lost. Watco’s mechanical ser-                                                                                      “Another thing I did was cut out most
vices team is apparently made up of some                                                                                       of the fast food. There’s a Subway close to
very motivated people, as all three winners                                                                                    work so I would go there for lunches. I
are on the mechanical team.                                                                                                    could be their new poster child,” said Kis-
  Sally Kissell, IT analyst from Hollidays-                                                                                    sell. “I ate the six-inch hoagie sandwich
burg, Pa. claimed the title of Biggest Loser                                                                                   with no cheese or sauces on it and everyone
by losing 29.62% of her weight. For her ef-                                                                                    would laugh at me because I’d take the top
forts she earned $1,500. Mike Berkheimer,                                                                                      bun off.”
a welder also from Hollidaysburg, was the             Sally Kissell, IT programming analyst, Hollidaysburg, Pa.                  In addition to her low-fat diet, Kissell
second place winner and won $1,000 for his                             Lost 29.62% of her body fat.                            also hit the roads and made walking a part
loss of 27.84% of his total weight. The third                                                                                  of her daily routine. “I tried to walk at least
place winner, William Norris, mechanical switchman from Neodesha, Kan. lost           two miles, six days a week. I also lifted weights to tone up and did one hour of
20.09% of his weight and was rewarded with $500.                                      cardio/aeorbic activity five days a week.”
  Many people call the Hollidaysburg, Pa., mechanical location and ask for Sally        One of the biggest benefits of winning the contest is that she doesn’t have to
Kissell when they need help with their computers. But to win first place in Watco’s take blood pressure medicine anymore. “That was really one of my main goals,”
Biggest Loser contest Sally was the one who received help.                            said Kissell. “I wanted to lose weight but I hoped the result (Continued on page 4)

                                       2nd                                                                                    3rd

                    Mike Berkheimer, welder, Hollidaysburg, Pa.                                        William Norris, switchman, Neodesha, Kan.
                            Lost 27.84% of his body fat.                                                      Lost 20.09% of his body fat.
  Dispatch page 2

There’s no place like dome
by Tracie VanBecelaere                                         required to display aircraft lights. It can hold three      to take pictures of what is one of a few roundhouses
Managing Editor                                                80-foot tri-level autoracks end-to-end with room to         still standing. There are fewer than 200 roundhouses
                                                               spare. The building sits on 40 acres and is able to         still remaining and of that, only a third are still in
  Unique is the best description for Watco’s mechani- accommodate more than 300 railcars on-site. The                      railroad use. At once time there were more than
cal shop in Wood River, Ill. What looks like a giant           dome itself houses 37 work tracks and a turn table          3,000 roundhouses throughout North America.
golf ball stuck halfway into the ground is actually            to place the cars on the tracks. Twenty-seven of the           “We even had a television station come in and film
one of two geodesic domes designed by R. Buckmin-              work spots are reserved
ster Fuller to serve as roundhouses for the Union              for repairs and the remain-
Tank Car Co. The dome was the first industrial use             ing tracks are used to keep
of Fuller’s design and the prefabricated, lightweight          painted cars out of the ele-
structure was chosen because of its versatility and the ments.
fact that it could be erected almost anywhere with                Steve Prokopich, plant
ordinary labor.                                                manager, said of the facil-
  The first and larger dome was built near Baton               ity, “The turn-table makes
Rouge, La., in 1958 and was 384 feet in diameter and           it possible to move cars in
125 feet high. It was demolished in November of                and out during the shift. If
2007 leaving the Wood River dome as a testimony                we have a light hour car we
to the futuristic design skills of Fuller. Fuller him-         can move the car out when
self helped supervise the erection of the Wood River           completed and put another
dome which became fully operational as a Union                 car in to be repaired. The
Tank Car Co. car shop in 1964. St. Louis Refrigera-            building itself is a challenge
tor Car Company, an Anheiser Busch Company,                    to heat and cool compared        The Wood River, Ill., geodesic dome is the lone remaining roundhouse-in-a-dome
purchased the dome in 1975 and in 1999 it came                 to a traditional car shop but left standing.
under the ownership of Millennium Rail, which was              the circular dome best suits
acquired by Watco in 2007.                                     the roundhouse design of our shop.”                         the dome for a documentary they were doing, “ said
  The Wood River dome, built in 1961, is 354 feet                 The historic aspect of both the dome and the             Prokopich.
in diameter and is 120 feet tall - tall enough to be           roundhouse has brought many visitors to the Wood               An interesting connection exists between the two
                                                                              River shop. Cornelius Crane who is           domes that served as roundhouses; Watco’s mechani-
Wood River carman, Wade Dallas, welds on the automobile rack that is the president of the Buckminster Fuller               cal services operates the Wood River location and
representative of one of the railcar types repaired inside the dome.          Society visited the location last summer Watco’s Baton Rouge Southern Railroad now occu-
                                                                              and made various comments about how pies the land where the first dome once stood.
                                                                              much better the environment inside the          The futuristic dome is probably the last place one
                                                                              dome was. According to Crane, Fuller         would look to find a throwback into railroad history
                                                                              had said that he designed the dome so        but roundhouses represented a innovative solution to
                                                                              that there ‘wouldn’t be any inside cor-      effectively providing railcar repairs. Both the dome
                                                                              ners to trap thoughts.’                      and the roundhouse reflect the forward thinking of
                                                                                 Many rail buffs also venture to the site their designers and have withstood the test of time.

                                                                                      Left: rows of cars wait to be repaired on the work tracks. Above: The car mover delivers a
                                                                                      car to the work tracks to be repaired.
 Dispatch page 3

Mechanical services team                                                                                           Rail, by Rail
exceeds safety goals                                                                                                 Late in 2009 WTIS’s largest Customer at the
                                                                                                                   Rockford, Ill., location, learned that the rail service
                                                                                                                   to their Houston yard would require significant
by Dr. Ron Withers, PhD, CSP, CMI, REM                  it grew. When it was first implemented, many took          repairs. At the same time they were bidding on a
Corporate Environmental Health & Safety Director        it as personal hit against them. It was only after we      project to supply 5,000 tons of rail for the Houston
Watco Mechanical Services                               reinforced the notion that it was a measuring tool         Metro expansion. Wanting to take advantage of
                                                        for strengths and weaknesses that it was actually well     the multiple needs in Houston, they wanted to find
  The Watco Mechanical Services Team has made           received. “                                                a storage solution for the rail until it was ready to
a significant impact to the overall safety success of       Periodically the safety team will implement a little
                                                                                                                   be used. Their logistics team knew about Watco’s
the Watco in 2009. As a result of the overall safety,   humor to start the gang meetings which seems to get
                                                                                                                   Greens Port Industrial Park (GPIP) and secured a
health and environmental contributions made by          more attention than just a supervisor reading from a
                                                                                                                   competitive rate to have the rail shipped to GPIP,
each shop, along with each individual employee, the document. In others words, they try to make it per-
Watco Team not only met the challenge but ex-                                                                      off-loaded and stored until such time as it will be
                                                        sonable. The Irish in McGuinn allows him to make
ceeded the company goal of finishing with 35 or less fun of himself, which in most cases, lacks rebuttal           required.
OSHA reportable injuries for the year. The Watco        from the team as well.                                       Now is where the problem lies. The quote
mechanical shops had only 32 total OSHA report-            McGuinn said, “I believe another contributing fac-      specified that no more than five railcars should be
able incidents for the year – 3 less than forecast. Ad- tor is sharing the incidents from other locations. We      received at a time to avoid demurrage charges from
ditionally, there were two plant locations that went a normally bring them to the attention of our employ-         the delivering railroad and GPIP storage charges.
full year without a single OSHA reportable incident     ees for discussion or simple awareness. With that,         Unfortunately, the steel mill shipped the railcars in
– in fact; they achieved Zero Injuries for 2009!        we always try to leave the gang meeting with the key       blocks of 20.
  Those shops that achieved Zero Injuries were: the     phrase, ‘Work Smart and Work Safe as there is no             Under the leadership of Dave Hambrick, the
Council Bluffs, Iowa plant and the Council Bluffs       room for complacency today.’”                              Houston area regional switching manager, and Paul
                                                                           “Finally, we remind our team that       Friedrichs, GPIP yardmaster, the GPIP switcher
                                                                         this shop has had runs of 979 days and    was able to provide additional track space for
                                                                         859 days without a lost time incident.    unloading and pulled the empty cars immediately,
                                                                         That’s an accomplishment they should      avoiding any additional demurrage charges to the
                                                                         be proud of especially in today’s         Customer.
                                                                         industry.”                                  Friedrichs said, “It was really a simple matter of
                                                                           The Hollidaysburg, Pa., shop is led     making sure that once the first cars were emptied
                                                                         by Jeff Maier, plant manager, and his     we were there with a switch crew to move them
                                                                         leader for the safety efforts is Ray      out and re-spot loads so the transloaders could
                                                                         Barroner, EHS coordinator. When           continue the unloading process. We also located
                                                                         Jeff was asked about the keys for the
                                                                                                                   an additional track they could unload from and
                                                                         success enjoyed by his plant having no
                                                                                                                   that helped to move the cars out faster.”
                                                                         OSHA reportable injuries for 2009 he
                                                                                                                      “Since the cars had been shipped together we
                                                                         said, “The reason for our successes is
                                                                         that the folks we have are "top-notch"    knew that they could incur demurrage so we
                                                                         and they do not want to have an           worked out a plan with the transload schedule.
A member of the mechanical services team works to repair the top of a injury.”                                     We made sure there was a full spot when they
railcar.                                                                   Barroner has played a vital role        came on duty and I kept an eye on their prog-
                                                        in creating a safer workplace by spearheading the          ress to know when they would be ready for a
shop in Iowa led by Mike McGinn. Mike wears “two employee EHS training, workplace safety inspections               switch on either track. I also helped the WTIS
hats” at Council Bluffs – he is both the Plant Manag- and daily safety talks along with the supervisory            rail coordinator read the trace report so they
er and EHS Manager. The second injury free shop         team. Another thing which has been instrumental            could actually “see” the cars moving from day to
was the Hollidaysburg, Pa., shop.                       in their successes has been the use of the company         day and therefore anticipate arrival here at GPIP.
  McGinn was asked, what do you attribute the           tool for testing individual effectiveness by using our     This helped them to schedule additional men and
successes to for Council Bluffs going accident free     personal safety and quality evaluations through the        equipment once the cars arrived.”
in 2009? He said, “We had only one choice in 2009       Watco Efficiency Testing Program.
and that was to improve our performance over 2008.         “We believe that safety is not only the “right thing
Several factors come to mind that impacted our          to do for our employees” but makes us both profit-
safety record.”                                         able and puts us ahead of our business competition.
  “I believe that the reduction in our workforce in     We here at Hollidaysburg are shooting for a second
February of 2009 played a role regarding our safety     year with the goal of having no OSHA reportable
statistics. Our core group has many years experience injuries,” said Maier.
and a good track record regarding personal injuries.”      All the employees at these shops are given a special
  McGuinn also indicated that “we took different ap- “Hats Off for a Job Well Done!” But more impor-
proaches when discussing past injuries, we informed tantly, together the Watco mechanical services team
the team not only of the financial ramifications of     both met and exceeded the safety goals for the year
an injury to Watco, but to their immediate family as    of 2009.
well.”                                                     Finally, all our team rallied in, working to remove
  Mike and his supervisors always emphasize the         and eradicate hazards and unsafe acts – all are to
importance of leaving work in the same shape you        be congratulated for their efforts of sending each
arrived and plan the same for tomorrow.                 worker home at the end of the day – just like they         Rail stored at the Greens Port Industrial Park is
   “Efficiency testing played an important role as      arrived…Injury Free!                                       ready and waiting to be used.
  Dispatch page 4

Watco’s Biggest Losers win big, continued
(Continued from page 1) would be getting off the medication.”                                ally didn’t get serious about this until October,” said Guiles.
  Her strategy lead to a total loss of 54 ½ pounds during the six-month contest                The duo now can be seen at the Pittsburg, Kan., YMCA during most lunch
but she claims the last three pounds were from the haircut that finished up her              hours. Guiles can be found on the elliptical or the cardio glide and Wood likes
new look. Kissell joked, “Anything to lose that extra pound or two.”                         running on the treadmill. Both women also have added weight lifting into their
  For the Biggest Loser’s second place winner, Mike Berkheimer, walking was also workouts. Another thing they’ve added to their workout is their spouses. Guiles’
a key factor in his weight loss success. The Hollidaysburg welder added a five-mile husband started working out in November and Wood’s husband decided to join in
walk to his daily routine and ended up losing a total of 74 ½ pounds between the             on the workouts in December.
July and January weigh-ins. “I’ve lost another five pounds since the weigh-in,” said           As far a meals go, both women said it’s just a matter of watching your portions
Berkheimer. “My goal is to get down to 180 and right now I’m at 190.”                        and making better choices. Both said it was hard to make good choices when
  Cutting out junk food was the biggest change to Berkheimer’s diet. Berkheimer eating out, but it’s something you have to do if you’re really wanting to keep your
credits his wife Linda for all she did to help in his weight loss efforts. Not only did weight down. Wood’s weakness is fried foods and she’s worked hard to stay away
she start cooking healthier meals but she joined in and lost 30 pounds herself. He from them. She also shares meals with her husband when they eat out.
said they got rid of pop, beer and pizza and started eating healthy foods.                     “We’ve gone out to eat and just shared an appetizer as a meal and it’s enough,”
  “You really need to learn to push yourself away from the table,” said Berkheimer. said Wood. “You don’t have to eat until you get to the point where you are just
“I may eat 4-5 meals a day now but the portions are a lot smaller. I take veggies,           stuffed. It’s all about portion control.”
jello and sandwiches for lunches.”                                                             Exercise and portion control has proved to be a good combination for the two.
  The biggest change that Berkheimer can see is the increase in his energy level.            Guiles lost 15.6 pounds and Wood has lost 13.6 pounds. Both say they feel so
“I’m full of energy now,” he said. “I don’t sit around and watch TV anymore. Right much better and never want to go back to their old weight. They’re even going
when I get home from work I put on my running shoes and walk the secondary                   to sell their outgrown clothes in a rummage sale since they don’t plan on wearing
roads. It’s all hills out here so it’s a good workout.”                                      them again.
  “I can’t ever see myself going                                                                                                                  Wood said, “It was inspiring
back to my old lifestyle. I feel so                                                                                                             to go shopping with Carlita and
much better now.”                                                                                                                               see her face when she was fitting
  Although the mechanical ser-                                                                                                                  into the smaller sizes, that really
vices division wins the prize for                                                                                                               encouraged me to work harder at
motivation in the Biggest Loser                                                                                                                 watching what I ate.”
contest, one of the top three win-                                                                                                                Wood probably had that same
ners came from a location other                                                                                                                 look on her face on weigh-in day.
than Hollidaysburg. Third place                                                                                                                 She pulled a pair of jeans from her
winner William Norris is a switch-                                                                                                              closest that she hadn’t been able to
man for mechanical services in                                                                                                                  wear for three years just to see how
Neodesha, Kan., and says once his                                                                                                               close she was to fitting into them -
wife LouAnn found out about the                                                                                                                 they fit.
contest he didn’t have any options                                                                                                                Brian Oleske, director of cus-
other than losing weight, a whole                                                                                                               tomer service and dispatching/
47 pounds.                                                                                                                                      West Region was the West Region
  “She really put a limit on the                                                                                                                stand out. He lost a total of 43
amounts and types of food that                                                                                                                  pounds, mainly by way of diet.
I ate,” Norris said about his wife.                                                                                                               “I basically changed my eating
“ No more mashed potatoes and                                                                                                                   habits. I cut out sugars, sodas
gravy, no breads. The good thing                                                                                                                and foods with high fat content,”
is I like about anything, so switch-                                                                                                            said Oleske. “I also tried to keep
ing to eating a lot of vegetables          Penny Wood, corporate accounting manager Brian Oleske, director of customer service and
                                                                                                                                                myself active in my free time by
wasn’t that hard for me. I can do          and Carlita Guiles, divisional controller for me- dispatching/West Region, after his 43 pound        exercising instead of being stag-
some major damage to a salad bar. chanical services, teamed up to find success in weight loss.                                                  nate at home watching TV or play-
Another thing I tried to do was            their weight-loss efforts.                                                                           ing video games. I just focused
drink a lot more water.”                                                                     on eating proteins, veggies and fruits. I plan to continue eating this way, my son
  “My doctor was also pushing for me to lose some weight and he was really glad              is into healthy eating so it helps to have someone that eats this way as a lifestyle to
to see the progress I had made. My blood pressure has gone down and the doctor encourage me.”
expects my cholesterol levels to go down as well.”                                             Heather Webb, senior benefits administrator, said the contest was held as an effort
  In addition to all the walking and climbing on and off of trains that Norris does          to put more focus on making healthy lifestyle choices and she was pleased with the
at work, he also took up riding the stationary bike at home.                                 results of the contest.
  “I know the weight loss will help me out this summer at work; I had lost a lot of            “Everyone did a great job and it’s encouraging that all of the winners were able to
weight right from the start at the end of summer last year and could already tell            lose their weight by diet modification and exercise,” said Webb. “They didn’t have to
the difference in how the heat had less of an effect on me,” Norris said.                    join any expensive programs or clubs.”
  “I haven’t been this little since I was in high school. My goal was to get down to           Those who weighed in lost a total of almost 700 pounds or a total loss of 6.73%.
180 and I get on the scale every day to check to see where I’m at. I’m just a pound There were several people who didn’t do the final weigh-in because they thought
or two from that. A lot of people can tell that I’ve lost weight and I can’t believe         that they hadn’t lost enough to win but just losing 10% of that extra weight can
how big the old clothes are that I’ve kept from before.”                                     reduce the risk for heart attack and stoke.
  Although there were only three official winners there were many other “winners”              Webb said, “Each winner said how much better they felt and how much more en-
on the Watco Team. Carlita Guiles, divisional controller for mechanical services,            ergy they had once they started eating a healthier diet. As busy as everyone seems
and Penny Wood, corporate accounting manager, teamed up to encourage each                    to be, that extra energy is something that I’m sure we all would welcome. The three
other to work out and eat healthier.                                                         winners were a great inspiration to all the Watco Team and hopefully their exam-
  “I decided to do the Biggest Loser contest just to make me accountable. We re-             ples will encourage others to follow the same path to better, healthier lifestyles.”
   Dispatch page 5

                                                 This section is dedicated to the Watco Team
                                                 members to give you a chance to share what’s
                                                 happening in your corner of the Watco World.
                                                                                                                  1 Year: Gerald Carter, Joseph Forchione, Jim Gees,
                                                                                                                  Gary Hackemack, Tim Holan, Edward Jones, Alvin
                 ORLD                                                                                             Parker, Shawn Pool, Thomas Roach, Gregory Seal,
                                                                                                                  Frank Webb, Ronald Whitewater, Fred Withers.
                                                                                                                  2 Years: Timothy Ainsworth, Audric Broussard, Perry
                                                                                                                                               Clark, Christopher Coles,
Births                                                                     May Graduations                                                     Gary Cooper, Ben Cow-
                                                                                                                                               ard, Brian Ezell, Jimmy
Blake Harrison Meyers                                                         April showers bring May flow-                                    Hann, David Hougardy,
Tristan Jacob Meyers                                                       ers but studying hard brings May                                    Preston Hummel, Howard
 Jake and Marcia Meyers are                                                diplomas. In a few short months                                     Johnson, Robert Manley,
proud to announce the birth of                                             members of the Watco Team and/                                      Federico Mendieta, Allen
their twin boys Blake Harri-                                               or their family members will be
                                                                                                                  Parrie, Joseph Patalano, Shannon Redman, Aaron
son and Tristan Jacob on Janu-                                             crossing stages across the country
                                                                                                                  Reedy, Gregory Robinson, Walter Robinson, Robert
ary 17. Blake weighed 5 lbs, 15                                            to receive their diplomas from
                                                                                                                  Smith, Jim Soulia, Timothy Visser.
oz. and was 18 ½ inches long.                                              various academic institutions.
                                                                                                 The Dispatch     3 Years: Robert Balzer, Rickey Carter, Wes Corneli-
His younger brother Tristan                                                                                       son, Jeffery Denton, Januario Enriquez, Albert Glenn,
also weighed 5 lbs, 15 oz. and                                                                      would like
                                                                                                    to ac-        Ismael Guevara, Eric Hazelwonder, AJ Mee, Francisco
was 19 ½ inches long. The                                                                                         Pedraza, Anthony Rogers, Andres Zacarias.
twins were welcomed home                                                                            knowledge
                                                                                                  the hard        4 Years: Michael Lewis, Benjamin Martinez, Richard
by their five year-old brother
                                Blake Harrison Meyers (l) and                               work of all gradu-    Polk, Daniel Reeves, Donald Ritchie, Darrell Thomp-
Calder. The twin’s dad is a
                                Tristan Jacob Meyers (r)                                    ates from Watco       son, Carla Wilson.
trainmaster on the Grand Elk
Railroad and works out of Kalamazoo, Mich.                                                  families by listing   5 Years: Michael Berkheimer, Richard Boehler, Doug-
                                                                                         them in May’s edition.   las Fleming, Michael Hempen, Matthew Hinojosa,
                                                                              If you would like to have your      Charles Houlton, Gregg Lovelace, Jeremy Smith,

                 Watco Calendar
                                                                           graduate listed, send in the infor-    Robert Switlik, Charles Thompson.
                                                                           mation in the following format:        6 Years: Brian Clark, Adam Delgado, Jeffrey Maier,
                                                                           Graduates name: how related            George Villa.
     Calling all shutterbugs. It has come to our attention that there
                                                                           to Watco Team member, Watco            7 Years: Scott Adams, Jason Cox, Michael Dumont,
   are some very talented photographers on the Watco Team and
                                                                           Team member’s title and location.
   we would like to give you an opportunity to show off your tal-                                                 James George, John Glover, Gary Goodwin, David
                                                                           The school graduate is attending
   ents in the upcoming 2011 Watco Calendar.                                                                      Moody, James Taylor.
                                                                           and location of that school. If
      Any picture of a Watco switching facility, short line, mechani-
                                                                           the graduate is receiving a degree     8 Years: Sara Polchlopek.
   cal shop or transload facility qualifies for consideration for the                                             9 Years: Gregory Andersen, Serafin Contreras, Robert
                                                                           from a college, university or trade
   new calendar.                                                                                                  Cunningham, John Novacek, Kevin Schoenhofer,
                                                                           school list the graduates degree
     E-mail your photos to: with your                                                     Robert Stewart.
                                                                           type. An example would be:
                       name, the location the photo was taken and                                                 10 Years: James Andrews, Bill Brown, Michael Catho-
                                                                              Billy Miskell: Son of Bill
                         any other descriptive details that would be                                              rall, John Clark, Russell Huber, Michael Rock.
                                                                           Miskell, car department super-
                                      needed to identify the photo.                                               11 Years: Kenny Burnett, Gerald Carlson, Melvin
                                                                           visor in Oklahoma City, OK;
                                          Put Watco Calendar in the
                                                                           graduating from Houston Baptist        Minnis.
                                            subject line of your e-mail.
                                                                           University, Houston, TX with a         13 Years: Debbie Ross, Jeff Adams, Jerry Klidies.
                                              If you are unable to send
                                                                           Bachelor of Science in Kinesiol-       14 Years: John Henderson, Chad Rose, Mike Todd,
                                            the photograph electroni-
                                                                           ogy and Sociology.                     Troy Tracy.
                                            cally, send the photograph
                                                                              You can send your gradua-           15 Years: Penny Linthicum.
                                           via snail-mail to:
                                                                           tion information electronically        16 Years: Michael Berley, Billy Davis.
                                                                           to:           17 Years: Filiberto Barrientos, Richard Berkheimer,
                                                                           Please put Dispatch-May Gradua-
              Tracie VanBecelaere,Communications Director                                                         Fredrick Breth, James Kilmer.
                                                                           tion in the subject line.
                           Watco Companies                                                                        20 Years: Horace Gilbert.
                                                                              If you are unable to send the
                            315 W. 3rd Street                                                                     21 Years: Dale McCord.
                                                                           information electronically, mail
                          Pittsburg, KS 66762                                                                     22 Years: John Zini.
                                                                           it to:
                                                                                 Tracie VanBecelaere              23 Years: John Everson, Theodis McClain.
     Any photos sent through the mail will not be returned so keep                                                24 Years: Stephen Chestnut, Kenneth Joyce, Jack
                                                                                 Communications Director
   a copy for yourself if you want one. Winners will be notified in                                               Lewis.
                                                                                 Watco Companies
   October.                                                                                                       29 Years: Nathan Cooper,
                                                                                 315 W. 3rd Street
                                                                                 Pittsburg, KS 66762              Rickey Eaton.
                                                                              If you would like to add any        30 Years: Richard Leopard.
                                                                           December graduations we will in-       33 Years: Bobbye Russell.
                                                                           clude those with the May gradua-       39 Years: John Behiter.
                                                                           tions and note the December date.
the  Dispatch                                                                                                                                              PRST STD
                                                                                                                                                          US POSTAGE
The newsletter for Watco Companies, Inc. and Watco Transportation Services, Inc.                                                                              PAID
February 2010, Volume 11, Issue 2                                                                                                                       PRADMAR CORP

315 W. Third Street
Pittsburg, KS 66762

Lamar student studies railroad futures
by Tracie VanBecelaere                                      plans for the student to visit the Watco Service Sup-      a way back if the train isn’t returning to the original
Managing Editor                                             port Center, the South Kansas and Oklahoma Rail-           destination.
                                                            road (SKOL) and the Cornell car shop. The day started        After shadowing Mitchell, Chambers took Lawrence
   Most boys go through a stage where they suffer           out with orientation and a tour of the Pittsburg, Kan.,    to the mechanical shop in Cornell, Kan., where Jim
from train fever and Ethan Lawrence of Lamar, Mo.,          office. The two then headed to the SKOL headquar-          Herman, general manager, showed him around the
is no different, but most don’t have the BNSF passing       ters in Cherryvale, Kan., where Lawrence met John          shop and explained the various types of repairs per-
through their farm. He took his liking of trains from       Spahn, SKOL assistant trainmaster, who arranged a          formed at the shop.
having a small set under his bed to creating an HO          cab ride with engineer Dee Mitchell in the WAMX              The two then headed back to the Pittsburg offices
scale-sized model railroad layout featuring the Frisco      3831 locomotive. He boarded the train just north of        and Lawrence had the opportunity to meet with
Railroad. When he received an assignment at school          Cherryvale and rode along approximately 25 miles of        customer service representatives and members of the
to shadow a job he was interested in learning about         track to Chanute.                                          revenue accounting team to examine what part they
he knew the perfect person to contact, John Cham-             “The cab ride was the best part of the job shadow-       play in the rail industry.
bers. He and Chambers met this fall while attending         ing,” said Lawrence. “I was surprised at the size of         “The car shop was really cool. I learned a lot about
a Frisco Railroad Convention in Pittsburg, Kan., spon-      the crew. I thought there would be more people in the      short lines and Class I railroads. Things were really
sored by the Heart of the Heartlands and Watco.             cab.”                                                      different than I thought they would be,” said Law-
   “I knew John worked for a railroad that was close to       Chambers explained that the crew was small be-           rence. “The job shadowing helped me think about
Lamar so I sent him an e-mail asking if he could help       cause a switchman was following in a truck to save         what I want to do in the future.”
arrange something for me,” said Lawrence.                   time. He can drive to various switches instead of hav-       Who knows, maybe someday that future will in-
   Chambers, Central Region revenue analyst, made           ing to waste time walking back and forth and also has      volve a Watco railroad.

Below left: Lamar, Mo., middle school student Ethan Lawrence and John Chambers, Central Region revenue analyst, at the Pittsburg, Kan., office. Right: A close look through the
window of the locomotive cab reveals student Ethan Lawrence in the passenger seat.

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