BNSF SPRINGFIELD DIVISION
“We Will Achieve The level Of Safety We Demonstrate We Want” July 2011
limit Page 3
From General Manager Bob McConaughey
Last year, we began a process to examine the efficiency line supervisors will participate in a
of communication from management. I have talked about the collaboration workshop.
SafeAlign process before, but I want to discuss the topic again. We are investing in this process
Communication is the cornerstone of safety. Each shift to reach our goal of world-class
begins with a safety briefing. It is a time designed to inform safety. Management is committed to
everyone about work that is being performed, and to alert em- this process and we believe you are
ployees to any safety issues. It is a time to mentally prepare for too. It will take a collective effort
a safe workday. to reach our goal. Make every day
For many months, front line supervisors have been attending a safe one by paying attention and
workshops to enhance their ability to deliver our safety mes- staying focused.
sage. In June, Site Safety Team chairmen attended a session Have a safe day, and thank you for all you do.
dedicated to communication. This month, Transportation front — Bob McConaughey
The Springfield MOW group has worked more than 3,500
days without a reportable injury.
F u E L S M O W S a F E t y
No matter the time, no matter the day, Springfield’s is so important. You can’t be shy. You need to call out something
Maintenance of Way employees put safety first. The team has if you see it.”
worked more than 3,500 days without a reportable injury. Buford Flageolle has worked 33 years on the railroad, the
“I don’t have to preach to them about safety, it’s something past three as a machine operator. His job takes him to differ-
they live by,” said Jeromy Houchin, roadmaster. ent locations and job assignments. Although the scenery and
Accountability to one another is the expectation. When responsibilities may change, the need to work safely does not.
someone notices a potential issue, or a task being performed in “You have to want to go home in the same condition as when
an unsafe manner, words are spoken. you left,” he said. “In life there are rules to follow and you do
“These people watch out and are accountable to one an- your best to do everything the right way and the safe way. The
other,” Houchin said. railroad is basically the same.”
“No one here is afraid to call an unsafe matter to attention,” Houchin said the safety culture in place for his work group
said Gale Jackson, patrol gang foreman. “Everyone looks out relies on empowerment. It involves a commitment from every-
for each other. That’s what you have to do to put safety first.” one to work safely and help co-workers do the same.
Each season brings its own unique concerns, including Employees share a strong camaraderie as each consider
weather-related issues, mental vacations or holiday stress. themselves members of an extended family. While safety is
Jackson said it helps to have co-workers who can see things as consistently a top priority, they also mix in camaraderie.
a group that an individual may not. “You have to have some fun,” said Ed Burk, foreman.
“A person can get wrapped up in what they are doing and not “There’s nothing like a good laugh or two to put you in a good
see the forest for the trees,” he said. “That’s why communication mood and make the day better.”
the sky’s the limit
left: Debra McGee looks down below to watch a load as she guides it to a waiting semi.
Right: McGee is proud to operate the widespan crane.
As a young girl in Tunica, Miss., Debra McGee planned to “I’m really competitive and I had to do it,” McGee said. “I
someday become a women’s basketball coach. Her love of sports couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by.”
and competitive nature were a natural fit for the job. While her She quickly learned the terminology and techniques to be
career plans may have changed, her determination has not. certified on production and stacking cranes. While honored to
McGee played softball and basketball in high school and be the first female widespan crane operator on the division, she
attended college on a basketball scholarship. To maintain her focused on learning the job and earning the respect that comes
competitive edge, she joined the cross country team to stay in with proficiency.
shape for basketball season. Her 5-foot-2-inch frame houses a “I am proud of what I have accomplished,” McGee said. “I
determination to work hard and succeed. like that BNSF is a company that provides opportunities to those
“I think that comes from growing up in a house with all who want to go after them. The sky’s the limit.”
boys,” she said.
McGee began her career with BNSF in November 2009 as
a hostler driver. She enjoyed the active nature of the job, but
often would look up to the cranes and wonder what it would be I couldn’t let this
like to work 80 feet in the air.
When the opportunity arose to operate one of the eight,
widespan, electric, rail-mounted gantry cranes, she went
opportunity pass me by.”
for it. — Debra McGee
Spreading awareness ... worldwide
On June 9, people united worldwide in gathered at the Heart of Dixie Railroad Alabama Safe Kids, who distributed free
a shared goal to educate the public on rail Museum to hear the safety message from bicycle helmets and sunglasses to children.
safety. International Rail Safety Day began Operation Lifesaver presenters. The venue Other educational material included proper
when Operation Lifesaver groups in Europe drew museum supporters such as Angie car seat installation, poison prevention and
contacted U.S. representatives to coordinate Little of Hueytown, Ala. Little brought marine safety.
a worldwide learning opportunity in con- her daughter, Amanda, and grandchildren, Following a presentation on rail safety
junction with their Level Grade Crossing AnaLyn and Aaron, to learn about rail safety. from Operation Lifesaver presenters, attend-
events. “We knew it was dangerous to walk on ees received a ticket for a train ride through
“We thought this was a great oppor- tracks, but we did not know it was illegal,” the woods of Shelby County.
tunity to emphasize all aspects of safety, Little said. Hundreds of children from the
with the main focus on rail safety,” said The Alabama event incorporated safety Birmingham YMCA attended the event.
Nancy Hudson, executive director, Alabama beyond the rails with interactive and static After learning about rail safety and riding
Operation Lifesaver. demonstrations from the Alabama State the rails, they were treated to ice cream,
In Calera, Ala., more than 500 people Patrol, Alabama Traffic Safety Center and cotton candy, sodas and other snacks.
“This is by far the biggest event we have
ever taken on,” Hudson said. “Having the
Heart of Dixie Museum play host was just
perfect, and we look forward to an even
bigger event next year.”
From left, Bryan Schaffer, BNSF Police senior special
agent, and Steve Wells, BNSF Police deputy chief, man the
Heart of Dixie train crew volunteers include, from left, Glenn Walker, Walter Akridge, Tonie Schaffer, Bill Ringler, Raquel Operation lifesaver booth during International Rail Safety
Houston, Don Reed and Bill Houston. Day, June 9 in Calera, Ala.
AnaLyn Casper, 2, waits patiently on her grandmother’s lap for the
train to leave the station.
International Rail Safety Day in Springfield participants include, from left, Doug Hinkle,
Springfield police officer; Ken Stockwell, BNSF Police; Jeff Longman, BNSF Police; Jack
Wright, Missouri Department of Transportation; Cheryl Townlian, manager public
projects; Andy McPherson, Springfield Police; and RD Mayes, inspection officer.
BNSF Police spread the word
To recognize International Rail Safety Day, BNSF Police and other employees
participated in activities throughout the division.
Three crossings were targeted in Springfield, Mo., to provide crossing safety in-
Visitors board a train following an Operation Lifesaver presentation. formation to residents. BNSF and local authorities talked to motorists and pedestrians
about right of way crossing regulations and the importance of maintaining constant
vigilance around the rails. Bags with pens, key chains, rulers and informational pam-
phlets were distributed to hundreds of people at each crossing.
“Anything we can do to educate
people on the importance of railroad safety
Anything we can is worth the effort,” said Jeff Longman,
senior special agent.
Memphis participated by inviting lo-
do to educate cal law enforcement to learn more about
rail safety on board a locomotive.
people on the
railroad safety is
Smiles abound on the train ride courtesy of Heart of Dixie Museum.
worth the effort.”
— Jeff Longman
Participants listen to a safety briefing at Yale Yard.
Richard Katz, Operation Lifesaver presenter, educates students
Officers pull over a driver for a crossing violation.
on rail safety.
Every other month, Memphis Intermodal employees perform a
community project. Each project is designed to reach out to those
less fortunate, through donation of time or goods.
Recently, employees gathered food for the FedEx House.
The house opened in January 2011 as a home away from home
for families with children being treated at Le Bonheur Children’s
Staples such as peanut butter and jelly, cereal, water and crack-
ers were donated by IMF employees in an effort to give back to
“This project was a great success and it was inspiring to see
such a great group of people come together to help our com-
munity,” said Michael Kutcher, IMF supervisor and project IMF employees donate food to the FedEx House, which provides housing to families
coordinator. with children being treated at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
Hunt climbs down from the bridge
After a career lasting more than at Hunt’s knowl-
three decades, Mike Hunt, bridge in- edge of steel
spector, will pursue a life beyond the structures.
rails, spans and trusses. “Mike did
Hunt began his career in May 1974 not go to college
and became a go-to guy for projects on to be an engi-
the Memphis Bridge. neer, yet he had
“He ran the Memphis Bridge knowledge that
project, which was a huge responsi- surpassed many
bility that involved many stages and a people who did,”
lot of manpower,” said Jeff Johnson, Johnson said.
structures engineer. “He’s the type of Hunt al-
person who could see it, build it, do it. ways demanded
He’s someone you want on your team the job be per-
Bridge Inspector Mike Hunt takes 37 years experience with him into retirement.
and who you turn to for answers.” formed correctly
Johnson began working with and within budget, said Doug Salzman, a someone was sick or injured, he
Hunt in the late 1980s. He marveled timber handler who worked with him on would check in to see how they were
projects throughout the doing.
division. “He loved his job and it showed,”
“He didn’t mess Johnson said.
around when it came
to getting the job done
right,” Salzman said. He’s someone
“He was also one of the
most patient and kindest
you want on
men I have ever met.” your team and
While Hunt is held
in high regard, he too re- who you turn to
spected his co-workers
and the company for
— Jeff Johnson
Mike Hunt works atop the Memphis Bridge on his 61st birthday. which he worked. If
New hires focus on careers, safety
hires don their
PPE as they join
Maintenance of Way.
This is the second
class taught this year Derrick Adams Chad Bellows Joseph Brooks Kevin Bryant Tyler Clouse Josh Fellinger Alvin Fitzgerald
by Mark Essner and
Karen Turner, safety assistants.
New hire orientation focused
on safety. Areas of study include
fall protection, empowerment, fire
extinguisher use, right-of-way fires,
introduction to hand and power Terry Minor Bo Ringhausen Brandon Snyder Chuck Thomas Kevin Wesely Derek White
tools, hazard recognition and pinch
points. companies that talked about safety, but not as much as we did.
“They were surprised by how much we focus on safety,” We told them safety would be the main focus for the rest of
Essner said. “Many of them said they had worked for other their careers.”
Taking the message to the yards
Memphis safety committee mem- in the safety process. that I’m on the
bers brought their message to crews at “When you get the paperwork, dis- trains work-
Tennessee and Yale yards during June cuss the plan for the day, what you expect, ing with expe-
safety marathons. what you’re going to do, where you expect rienced people,
Greg Manley, locomotive engineer everyone to be and what tracks you’ll I’m learning so
and safety committee co-chair, instructed be on,” Manley said. “Communication much more.”
veteran employees to remain vigilant for is extremely important and you need to The mara-
themselves and newer employees. constantly talk throughout your day.” thon came dur-
“Set an example of keeping safety job Jacob Mackling completed classes in ing the first week
No. 1 for yourself, and that example you January and marked up in May. He said in the field for
live by will be a demonstration for new working in the field with experienced Devin Jones,
employees,” he said. railroaders is the best method to learn conductor. He
Committee members covered each his craft. was surprised by
shift at Yale and Tennessee yards during “It’s a lot different from book learn- how quietly cars
the marathon. Manley urged crews to re- ing,” he said. “Before this job, I thought can roll down the
member the importance of communication railroading was pounding spikes. Now rails.
“It has made
me see how im-
portant it is to From left, Devin Jones and Jacob
Mackling, conductors, ride the point.
The Memphis safety committee
meets monthly with representatives from
each craft. Manley said the goal is to cre-
ate an injury-free work environment by
recognizing each aspect of the railroad
as it relates to safety issues or concerns.
“We all want to work safely and if we
all work together, we can reach our goal,”
From left, Devin Jones, Jacob Mackling, Greg Manley, Dennis Elsken and Terry Blackwell participate in a safety
marathon at Yale Yard.
History was on display in southern Missouri as Union Pacific’s steam locomotive
No. 844 rolled along BNSF track in Cape Girardeau and Chaffee.
Gary Bentley, road foreman of engines, helped coordinate the historic train’s
movement. He said it took some effort to accommodate the steamer.
“We were glad to work
with Union Pacific to be a
part of this historic event,”
Bentley said. “It is very likely
that we will not see the train
come through here again.”
No. 844, also known as the
“Living Legend,” is the last
steam locomotive built for
UP. Delivered in 1944, the
454-ton, high-speed pas-
senger engine pulled such Standing more than 6 feet tall, Ryan Griggs is dwarfed by the 844’s
widely-known trains as the
Overland Limited, Los Angeles Limited, Portland Rose and Challenger.
Ryan Griggs’s lifelong dream of working for the railroad came to fruition when
he joined BNSF. For the locomotive engineer, boarding the historic steam engine From left, David Harper, conductor; Gary Bentley, RFE; and Ryan Griggs,
locomotive engineer, play an integral role in accommodating the 844’s
came as a highlight he won’t soon forget. movement.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “This is just unbelievable that I got to be a part
of this thing.”
Griggs and David Harper, conductor, rode from Cape Girardeau to Chaffee. The
two learned about operation of a steam locomotive. In the cab, temperatures can reach
up to 135 degrees.
“It was an awesome experience, but I think I’ll stick with our locomotives,”
Union Pacific’s steam locomotive
No. 844 arrives in Cape Girardeau.
The division welcomes Jeff Cooley
as its new St. Louis claims representative
t your job!
My name is Brandon Ogden and I am
trainee. Having worked several jobs in the director of administration for
the industry, he is accustomed to insur- the Springfield Division. Most of what
ance. What he was I do, day in and day out, involves
less familiar with working with Transportation officers and administrative
was life on the associates, but there is a bit more to what I do than
“It is fas- With my job, there isn’t simply one aspect that is
cinating to step more important than the other. It is sort of like a
inside the world mosaic of pieces that, when put together, creates the
of railroading,” entire cohesive picture.
Cooley said. “Prior I play a supporting role for the division. I am
to this job, I knew Jeff Cooley responsible for working with the sourcing department
what a train was and in Fort Worth and several contractors who perform work
that’s about it. I enjoy learning the termi- on the division, including van, janitorial and lawn
nology, what each job entails and meeting care services. I work with van drivers, review corpo-
employees.” rate lodging issues and book facilities for meetings,
It’s just the change Cooley was look- training sessions, etc.
ing for when he decided it was time to When invoices need to be paid, it is my job to review
pursue new opportunities within his field. them for accuracy and decide if they will be paid or
He and wife Jackie have sons George, require further research. I deal with between 25-50
8, and Henry, 4. Jackie, who previously invoices daily, which can amount to thousands of dol-
worked as a cardiac ICU nurse, is pursu- lars. That figure can move into hundreds of thousands
ing an advanced degree to become a nurse in the winter with heavy propane usage.
anesthetist. Any leave of absence requests from Transportation
Cooley is a native Missourian and employees are submitted to me. I work with each person
graduate of Central Missouri State in individually as well as their direct supervisor. I am
Warrensburg with a degree in psychology. responsible for overseeing much of the investigation
His primary territory will be the St. Louis letter writing and discipline assessment across the
area. division for the Transportation team.
There is not one thing in particular that occu-
pies the bulk of my day. It depends on many factors.
There are days I may spend several hours working on
corporate lodging and days I may not deal with it at
all. Another aspect of my job involves monitoring the
VIDEO tOPIC office budget.
In the most simplistic terms, I have a problem-
Check out the latest video on the solving job. I have processes in place to handle each
Springfield Division website! situation, but I get involved the moment there is an
The July DVD topic is titled “Back to exception to the process. When that happens, I have
the Basics: Beat the Heat.” In the to go back to the drawing board, determine corrective
video, we discuss the challenges action and the best solution.
of working during the hot summer Something train crews may find interesting is that
months, and provide some tips for the general orders and notices all come from my office.
doing so safely. The process normally begins with a request from a field
Look for the videos at your terminal officer, and I take it through the approval process and
or log on to get them issued from there.
The tornado that hit Joplin May 22 affected
employees in many ways. Some were directly
impacted by loss and others, indirectly. The fol-
lowing employees share their experiences on a
night few people in Joplin will forget.
learned the 86-year-old
“We found out he was OK and man, Geoffrey Hilton,
was a native of New
Zealand with no close
had left the hospital after the friends or family in
Joplin. He had been
working as a chiroprac-
tornado hit, so then we were tor, but his office and
home were destroyed by
just trying to get out of Joplin.” the tornado and he had
nowhere to go.
The Garcias provid-
ed Hilton with food and
Steven Garcia clothing and arranged for
Steven, Springfield lowboy driver, and his wife, Stephanie, him to use a camper be-
traveled six miles from their home to Joplin that evening to hind Stephanie’s parents’ Geoffrey Hilton returns to what is left of his Joplin
check on Stephanie’s father, Harold Boyd, who had checked into
the hospital. As they entered town, both were awestruck by the For the next two weeks, Stephanie and her sons, Brent and
devastation. Brandon, drove 16 miles round-trip — sometimes three times a
“We found out he was OK and had left the hospital after day — to help salvage what they could from the Hilton’s house.
the tornado hit, so then we were just trying to get out of Joplin,” Among his recovered belongings was a laptop computer found at
Steven said. a restaurant a block from his home.
The couple came upon a young girl in a graduation gown
walking along the road, crying. The girl said she was inside her
car when the tornado picked it up and put it back down, and she
was now looking for her family. The Garcias gave her a ride and
wished her well in her search. “The nurse was crying and
Later, they drove past a group of men walking down the
road. Stephanie’s intuition told her something was wrong and
she asked Steven to turn around. One man was draped in soaking couldn’t give any information.”
Sitting in his Neosho, Mo., home, Chris, lowboy driver, and
his wife, Kim, were glued to the television as news of the tornado
Chris’s mom, Judy, was in the Brady Building of St. John’s
Regional Medical Center recovering from surgery at the time of
the tornado. When Kim saw footage of the shelled-out hospital,
she immediately called the hospital to check on Judy’s welfare.
Joined through forces of nature were, from left, Brandon Garcia, “ T h e n u r s e w a s c r y i n g a n d c o u l d n ’t g i v e a n y
Geoffrey Hilton, Stephanie and Steven Garcia. Not pictured is Brent
Barb and Berle’s home was the only one on their block to have
a safe room.
“I believe that’s what saved them,” Bradley said.
He said after the initial shock wore off, residents are now
working through the day-to-day grind of getting the community
and their lives back to a new form of normalcy.
Support from BNSF and colleagues poured in almost
“I received calls from colleagues as far away as Fort Worth’s
Clockwise from left, Chris Ramsay with children Matthew and Amanda,
and parents Hugh and Judy
dispatching center and I’ve had many co-workers offer help if we
information,” Chris said. need anything,” Bradley said. “It means a lot to me and my family
His father, Dr. Hugh Ramsay, was at the hospital visiting his to know so many people care, and to have a company that actually
wife when the tornado hit. A retired physician from St. John’s, cares about its employees. It makes me feel proud to be a part
he immediately began triage to assist people and personnel. of it.”
After 2 a.m. the following morning, Chris and Kim were Joplin still needs support. To donate or offer other assistance,
able to get Chris’s parents out of Joplin and to their home. Both please visit www.rebuildjoplin.org.
survived the event without injury, but their car was destroyed.
“When I look around and see An image of devastation
at St. John’s Regional
all the devastation, I think how Medical Center, captured
by Kim, wife of Chris
lucky they are to still be here.”
Bob, surfacing gang foreman, grew up in Joplin. He had never
seen a storm like the one May 22. His home was spared, but his Joplin begins
in-laws, Barb and Berle, were not so fortunate. Their home was cleanup
the May 22
The displaced couple now live with Bradley and his wife, tornado.
Sheri, and son, Zachary, in their two-bedroom home in Joplin.
Sheri’s grandmother, Norma, is also staying with them.
“When I look around and see all the devastation, I think how
lucky they are to still be here,” Bradley said.
Employees and guests gather June 18 at Canale Farms
for the 2011 Memphis Engineering Family Day.
A day for the families
Canale Farms in Oakland, Tenn., served as backdrop for a day of fellowship June 18 as Memphis
Engineering employees and guests enjoyed a day of family fun.
Activities included fishing, boating, volleyball, horseshoes, wagon and pony rides, and competi- Guests recite the Pledge of Allegiance before
tive events such as a frisbee toss and bouncy-horse races. beginning festivities.
Ally Rickard, 3, grandaughter of Ricky Stewart, truck driver, prepares to exit Guests get festive with face painting by local
the bouncy house. artist, Miss Patches.
Joey Mitchell, section foreman, and his wife, Candi, with daughters
Taylor, 15, and Peyton, 7
Tamecia Matthews, 4,
and Kendra Smith, 9,
grandchildren of Eddie
Smith, retired locomotive
engineer, enjoy a day in
Mike Schroeder, machine
From left, Tremera Berry, Tangela Hearns, Track Inspector Charles Pryor, Brandy Hunt and operator, right, and Terri From left, Memphis Signal Supervisor Larry Williams and his family,
Chrishun Carter pause after shooting hoops. Holland appreciate the grandson Calvyn, 2; daughter Natasha; son Larry II; and grandson
picnic. Camiryn, 7
From left, Michael Austin, hump yard inspector, celebrates a ringer
as Calvin Bray, roadmaster, disputes whether game rules were
New faces in Springfield
Springfield’s new hire conductor class includes, from left, James Carter, Christopher Dickens, Jason Dixon,
Jason Cunningham, Michael Tatum, Bradley Mullins, Philip Short, Zach Spradling, Lukas Roberts, Jeff Barnett,
Kelley Pendergraph and Bobby Parnell. The class was instructed by Scott Perryman.
Zemauria and Nygela Donnerson, grandchildren of James Pegues,
signal maintainer Erwine joins Birmingham team
Aaron Erwine is welcomed as the new Birmingham Subdivision
roadmaster. He arrives from Washington where he worked as
steel gang roadmaster for RP12.
He began his career with BNSF through the management
trainee program and served as assistant roadmaster in Pasco,
Wash. He later transitioned to roadmaster for RP12, a job he
held three years.
Erwine, an Osceola, Mo., native, graduated from the
University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg with a degree in
civil design and a minor in earth science. He worked as a designer Aaron Erwine
for a civil engineering firm in Arkansas before joining the railroad.
He also once owned a bicycle shop in
Kansas City, Mo., where he sold and
maintained high-end mountain and road
I took this job
In his free time, the avid out-
doorsman competes in bass fishing because I want
Ready for a wagon ride are, from left, Kathy Casey, Jimmy Casey,
Erwine said he is fortunate to my boots on the
replace longtime roadmaster Gerald
B&B foreman; Autumn Canale, McKenzie White, Cameron
Cigalina, trackman, Chris White, SEO; and Melissa White. Buzbee, who retired in the spring.
“He left things in good shape,”
Erwine said. “It’s a good group of
people with a great attitude of team-
is where the
work. I got lucky coming into this great
environment.” vast majority of
He plans to travel throughout the
subdivision to familiarize himself with knowledge can
the territory and employees.
“I took this job because I want my
boots on the ground,” he said. “That is
where the vast majority of knowledge — Aaron Erwine
James and Gwen Pegues spend time with their grandchildren. can be found.”
Wanted: Employee Club members
A club with a long history in Birmingham may soon become member dies.
history without increased participation. Previously, clubs were funded with matching donations and
May Miller, crew hauler and Birmingham Employee Club proceeds from vending machine purchases, but that is no longer
secretary, is working to increase membership to keep the club the case. Membership dues are the lone means of funding.
alive. Birmingham dues are $10 per year and membership is open
“Many people don’t know how the club operates,” she said. to all local employees.
“It’s not a group where you have to attend meetings.” To join the club and keep the tradition alive, contact Miller
The club offers assistance and support behind the scenes. or Curtis Steve.
For example, if an employee is marked off on medical leave for “The club belongs to BNSF employees and if they don’t
more than 30 days, the club delivers a check for $100. The club support it, it will cease to exist,” Miller said. “I hope that
also offers flowers as a token of remembrance when a family doesn’t happen.”
I saw where my parent works!
Memphis employees cel-
ebrated work and family May
14 during the annual Bring
Your Child to Work Day. The
event was sponsored by the
Memphis Diversity Council
and open to employees and
Successful children and a good job are two He graduated summa cum laude, earning a
things for which Keith Buterbaugh, locomotive degree in business administration in accounting
engineer, is grateful. In May, he and his wife, Jana, with a minor in global studies.
celebrated the college graduation of their youngest Older brother Joseph was a recipient of the
child, Thomas. BNSF Foundation Scholarship in 2004.
Recognized as an outstanding student by Drury Keith appreciates having a job that allows him
University’s Breech School of Business, Thomas to put his children through school.
earned the Senior Academic Excellence Award “We are very pleased to be part of BNSF and
and the Charles R. Mercer Outstanding Student in to have had this opportunity to provide very well
Accounting Award. for our children,” Keith said.
Springfield Division DIVISION SAFETY STANDINGS
Safety Hotline 1. Gulf .79
2. California .83
6. Springfield 1.40
7. Twin Cities 1.49
11. Montana 2.14
12. Colorado 2.19
Company line: 8-433-7315 3. Powder River .92 8. Chicago 1.61 13. Texas 2.68
or 800-447-7005 4. Southwest 1.17 9. Kansas 1.63 As of July 5
5. Nebraska 1.27 10. Northwest 2.02
the Southern rails
Riding the rails between Carbon Hill and
Birmingham, Ala., offers Keith Gober and
Sherwin Lee, Jasper track inspectors, a lot of ter-
ritory and rail with which to become familiar.
“You travel it enough, you get to know every
rock on the rails. If something is out of place, you
notice it,” Gober said.
Summertime inspections entail watching for
snaky rail, tight rail and churned ballast. Their pa-
trol times depend on the weather and temperature.
Inspections continue until the ambient temperature
drops below 90 degrees.
Lee has worked with Jasper MOW more than
17 years and has witnessed many changes. He has Jasper Track Inspectors Keith Gober, left, and Sherwin Lee inspect rails to keep crews and the
worked as an inspector for the past five years and public safe.
enjoys the daily challenge.
After April tornadoes moved through their area, Gober something,” Gober said.
and Lee discovered downed trees and branches across the Caring about people comes naturally to the two men.
rails. Six hours later, a second storm added to the debris Their job involves watching out for the public at grade
the men were removing. crossings. Their hy-rail does not set off lights or bring down
“Sherwin climbed up on a stump and saw a mile of trees cross bucks.
covering the track,” Gober said. “It was too dark to keep “People see us and try to beat us,” Lee said. “We worry
moving, so we waited until daylight.” about people trying to beat trains.”
Daytime hours revealed more than they expected. They are also mindful of why the motivation for in-
Tornadoes had spared Jasper, but damaged many commu- specting rail exists: TY&E crews. For that reason, both
nities along their territory. Jasper MOW donated cases of men appreciate time they spend riding in the locomotive.
water to Pratt City and Cordova, Ala. “It helps us get an actual, working perspective of what
“We all felt so bad for the people, we wanted to do it feels like when crews ride the rails,” Gober said.
Chaffee mentors rise to the occasion
When water rises along the River The challenges of coordinating BNSF Mahlandt, who has mentored for
Sub, mentors Mike Blyzes and Robert and foreign freight can make for inter- two years, enjoys the change of pace
Mahlandt swing into action to help co- esting days. Blyzes and Mahlandt are from his normal duties
ordinate train movement. responsible for ensuring crews are quali- as a locomotive
fied, know the engineer.
rules and have “It is in-
track warrants. teresting to
“They also look at things
have to coordi- from this per-
nate with the ter- spective,” he
minal railroad, said. “It’s like
our railroad and puzzle solving on Mike Blyzes,
the foreign rail- a really big scale.” mentor
road, which is Bentley ap-
usually Union preciates both men’s efforts and Blyzes’
Pacific,” said extensive knowledge.
Gary Bentley, “With more than 40 years experience,
road foreman of Mike has provided invaluable service to
From left, Gary Bentley, RFE; Robert Mahlandt, mentor; and John Neel, trainmaster engines. us when needed,” he said.
From barbecue to baking, Springfield Division employees have some of the best recipes
around. Why not share some of your favorites with co-workers and their families? Email
email@example.com to help get things cookin’.
From May Miller
Cu t up wh ole chicke n (or
buy 1 dic ed sweet yel low on
chicke n pie ces – you r cho ion
ice ) & 1 can mushroom
remove ski n. s (drained)
1 can cre am of mushroom
Preheat oven to 425 to 450 degrees. Bo il chicke n un til done. Pul
1 can cre am of chicke n
Mix all ingredients together and place on middle rack in oven. me at from bones. Re ser
1 can cre am of celery sou
Use seasonings according to taste. Ensure rice has enough liquid bro th. p (this
is opt ion al)
to absorb so it doesn’t dry out. You may not have enough broth Ch ick en pie ces
from cooking your chicken, so use a can of chicken broth if the In large cas serole dish put
in Sa lt
rice begins to dry out in the oven. Cook about 45 minutes to an the fol low ing ing redien ts:
hour until rice has absorbed liquids and the top has browned and Ga rlic powder
is pulling away from the sides. Bro wn ric e (a goo d coveri
ng C hic k e n br o t h (t h at
of the bo ttom of the dish) yo u
Note: You can use whole pieces of uncooked chicken on the coo ke d you r chicke n in)
2 pk gs Lip ton On ion So
top of the rice mixture if you do not want to cook the chicken up M ix *1 c a n o f ch ic
k e n br o t h (i f
(I lik e Mushroom On ion M
beforehand. You will need more than one can of chicken broth if ix) nee ded)
this is the case.
Loucks adjusts to life as a retiree
Working four decades without a join the railroad. He
reportable injury takes caution, communi- interview, was hired
cation and commitment. Danny Loucks, and began work all in
locomotive engineer, retired June 1 after the same day.
41 years of upholding these values. He became a
To ensure his safety each day, Loucks conductor in 1974
said he was extremely careful and double and a locomotive en-
checked everything. He gives that same gineer in 1992. The
advice to new hires. test to become a loco-
“Be careful and watch every step you motive engineer was
take,” he said.
Danny Loucks, center, is congratulated upon his retirement by John Neel, trainmaster,
one of Loucks’ big- left, and Gary Bentley, road foreman of engines.
Loucks began his railroad career gest challenges. Not
Jan. 30, 1970, as a brakeman in Chaffee. only did he need to pass a difficult test, but he is adjusting to it. He will miss his
After high school, he worked on a farm he also had to learn how to study again. co-workers, with whom he developed a
until his brother, Steve, suggested he The studying paid off and he thoroughly good working relationship.
enjoyed his new role.
While it may be an adjustment,
I enjoyed feeling the “I enjoyed feeling the power of run- Loucks has plenty to keep him busy.
ning the train,” he said. “There’s a lot of He plans to spend time with wife Joyce,
power of running the responsibility to it and I always had to daughters Brandi and Courtney and two
train.” think ahead.” grandchildren. He also owns two antique
After a long career, Loucks’ retire- tractors he takes to parades, fairs and
— Danny Loucks ment hasn’t fully soaked in, but he said displays.
Meet the dispatcher
Meet John Thomas, the voice of authority and reason heard daily basis.
along Thayer North and South. Q: How does teamwork with employees in the field enhance
Q: Which desk(s) do you work? your experience on the job?
A: Thayer North and Thayer South. A: Being patient is the No. 1 thing field employees can do to
Q: Have you worked enhance teamwork. Also, understanding that we are all on the
on any other desks in same team and the railroad runs much more smoothly when we
the past? cooperate and work together.
A: Yes, I have worked Q: What do you like to do outside work (hobbies)?
Cuba, River, Memphis A: Outside of work I enjoy hunting, camping, fishing and time
Terminal and Red Rock. with my family. I am also a coach for my son’s Little League
Q: What makes the baseball team.
territory for which you Q: Brag a little. Tell us about your family.
dispatch unique? What A: I have been married to my wife, Sherri, for 14 years and
are some challenges we have three
to dispatching in this children. My
territory? oldest daughter, Safety is the most
A: The numerous chal- Brooke, is 16 and
lenges faced on a daily she enjoys mu-
important thing to
basis are what makes sic and art. She me. It is my goal
my job unique, such as will be a junior in
prioritizing trains, stag- high school this to get everyone
ing trains for other subs, John Thomas year. My young-
accounting for crew is- e s t d a u g h t e r, home safely to their
sues, Maintenance of Way windows, and environmental issues Allison, is 11 and
such as steep grades, winds, floods, snow and ice. The major does very well in families and loved
challenge is the sheer volume of trains on the Thayer Sub. school. She per-
Q: How long have you been a dispatcher and how long have forms in her school
ones on a daily
you worked for the railroad? choir and has a true basis.”
A: I have worked six years for the railroad, all as a dispatcher. passion for animals.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job? She plans to pursue — John Thomas
A: I enjoy a new challenge each day as a dispatcher. It’s never a career as a vet-
the same. Some days there are weather issues to contend with; erinarian. My son,
others it’s service interruptions such as stalls, crew shortages, John, is 10 and an accomplished baseball player. He led his
terminals not being able to process trains, and maintenance team with a .740 batting average and four home runs this season.
windows to plan for. I also enjoy meeting new people, both in He is currently playing for our local all-star team. My mother,
the NOC and employees in the field. Shirley, is a true life inspiration and is currently battling breast
Q: Why is your work important? cancer. She has responded extremely well to chemo treatments
A: Safety is the most important thing to me. It is my goal to so far and she is definitely a fighter. She is the most courageous
get everyone home safely to their families and loved ones on a person I know.
POCKEtS OF EXCELLENCE As of July 4
Centralia Clerical 13,489 Cuba MOW 2,547 Springfield Facilities (Electricians & 971
Beardstown Clerical 11,854 Springfield Rail Complex 2,370 Water service)
Tulsa Transportation (clerical/yardmasters) 6,437 Structures West Territory 2,160 Birmingham Terminal (Clerical/Yardmasters) 928
Memphis Resource Protection 5,761 Springfield Mechanical (car & locomotive) 2,104 River South TY&E 923
Jonesboro Signal 5,348 River North TY&E 1,939 Memphis MOW 852
Springfield Clerical 4,189 Enid MOW 1,748 Fort Scott Sub South TY&E 803
Memphis Clerical 4,099 Afton Sub TY&E 1,630 Birmingham Sub South MOW 746
Keokuk TY&E 3,950 Memphis Mechanical (locomotive) 1,575 Cuba Sub TY&E 735
Muskogee TY&E 3,649 Structures Northeast Territory 1,435 Thayer South MOW 728
Springfield MOW 3,520 Amory (Birmingham Sub north) MOW 1,329 Fort Scott Signal 718
Tulsa Signal 3,400 Springfield Signal Shops 1,133 Blytheville TY&E 693
St. Louis Mechanical (car and locomotive) 3,181 Springfield Division Telecommunications 1,124 Springfield East Mechanics 672
including West Quincy Neosho MOW 1,098 Amory Signal 654
St. Louis Signals 2,601 Fort Scott Sub North TY&E 1,071 Signal Construction 644
Friendship on the green
Chaffee golfers hit the links June 1 at Bent Creek Golf
Course. The event was hosted by Gary Bentley, road fore-
man of engines, and John Neel, trainmaster.
“We wanted to get the tournament going again because
it’s something employees enjoy and it provides a great op-
portunity to build relationships,” Bentley said.
Prizes were awarded for first through fourth place,
longest drive and closest to the pin on all par 3s.
Committee audits reinforce safety efforts
Forty miles of the Amory Sub were identified debris in the plant to
the recent focus of a safety audit con- be addressed by Tronox.
ducted by members of the Amory Safety “By performing industry
Committee. audits, we help ensure the
Committee members Alan Clay, car- environment is safe for our
man; Joyce Hannah, conductor; Mike employees as well as our cli-
Holloway, conductor and committee ents,” Hauber said. “It’s a
chair, were joined by Brian Hauber, win-win situation because it
Industry audits, such as the one performed at Tronox in June, help ensure
trainmaster, to examine approximately benefits BNSF employees, and a safe environment for employees and clients alike.
15 switches for safety issues. enhances our customer service
An audit also was performed at capabilities by performing a value-
Tronox. Hauber said the group picked up added task.” possibilities of biannual industry audits
trash, painted clearance marks on rails and T h e c o m m i t t e e i s e x p l o r i n g in conjunction with safety audits.
This newslett er appears under direction of the general manager. For news coverage, contact Kathy at the newsletter of fice by phone at BNSF 458-7342,
402-475-6397, fax 402-475-6398, mail information to 1845 S. 11th St, Lincoln, NE 68502-2211, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This material is intended to be an overview of the news of the division.
If there are any discrepancies between this newsletter and any collective bargaining process, insurance contracts or other official documents, those documents will govern. BNSF continues to maintain
and reserves the right, at any time, to alter, suspend, discontinue or terminate all plans and programs described in this newsletter. This newsletter is not an employment contract or any type of employment
guarantee. Any photo submitted may be used. Anyone who submits a photo retains all rights to the image. However, by submission you give the newsletter permission to use your photo(s) in all related media.
Thanks to everyone on the Springfield Division for taking the time to contribute to this newsletter, including, but not limited to, Gary Bentley, Denise Gauthier, Jeff Longman, Dustin Padilla, Kim Ramsay
and Ray Tucker.
Congratulations to the following Springfield Division locomotive engineers for being
Afton Subdivision Cherokee Subdivision Fort Scott South Subdivision
James Davidson Michael Bandy Chris McCollum
Bill Erdman Stephen Bradley Ryan Mellies
Leon McCall Frank Oropeza
Avard Subdivision Martin Petty Martin Thimesch
Rex Benell William Rhodes Clinton Windmeyer
Douglas Bentley Nicholas Thimesch Timothy Woicke
David Claypole Cuba Subdivision Thayer North Subdivision
Robert Dunlap Leslie Lewis Russ Alford
Johnnie Gaskill Jr. Clay Zbaren Michael Allen
Roy Hildebrand Eric Bailey
William McDonald Fort Scott North Subdivision Scott Garrison
Zacarias Rodriquez Donald Arnold Mark Henderson
Terry Schulenberg Kyle Baucum Roberta Hillenburg
Rick Snodgrass Shane Cordova James Hughes
Matthew Winbolt Steven Davis Michael Jefferis
Elbert Farr Dustin Johnson
Michael Hancock Scotty Lance
Allen Hovenga Thayer South Subdivision
Leron Hudson Tracy Lowther
Jeremy Lawrence Frank Price
Jacob Hyatt brings more than 10 years experience to the Beardstown
Hyatt rolls with the changes
Centralia and the Beardstown Subdivision wel-
come Jacob Hyatt, electronic technician.
Prior to the railroad, Hyatt worked as technical
director for GE at Bailey Yard in North Platte, Neb.
He switched to the railroad 10 years ago in Guernsey,
“I was ready for a change from managing 125
people, and wanted to return to Wyoming to be closer
to family,” he said.
His recent move to Springfield Division was also
prompted by family. His wife, Hannah, has relatives
Hyatt is responsible for a large territory and enjoys
challenges it brings.
“I am grateful for the independence of my job,”
he said. “I get to report to a job that I really enjoy. Crews are reminded to avoid the following items that contribute
No day is ever the same and I learn something new to fuel waste:
each day.” Power braking:
Despite working on his own, Hyatt does not feel • Throttle 5 and above with air brakes set.
isolated or alone. He has regular communication with • A rule violation subject to discipline.
other technicians and his supervisor in Galesburg, Ill. Stretch braking:
He said communication is necessary to work safely and • Throttle 1-4 with air brakes set.
maintain velocity. • May be a rule violation if more fuel efficient method will
“When you look at it, each department plays a key provide necessary control of train speed.
role in velocity,” he said. “We all do our part and come Revving:
together as a team to make things work and keep trains • Throttle position above 1 while train is stopped.
moving.” • May be a rule violation subject to discipline.
If you have a story you would like to share about hobbies or work-related items, we’d like to hear about it. Call Kathy
on the BNSF line by dialing
BNSF number for newsletter office: 402-458-7342.
You also can call 402-475-6397
on the bell line, or email Kathy@newslink.com
3253 E. Chestnut Expressway
Springfield, MO 65802
the beauty over there
Just beyond the north end of Birmingham Yard, a section of track kisses
the edge of a 400-foot drop into the bright blue water of Wade Sand and
Gravel, a BNSF customer.
It is a trip Monte Matthews, locomotive engineer, has made many times
during his 17 years with the railroad. When working a yard job, he may make
the trip several times in a day.
“It’s cool the first time you see it, but then, you get used to it,” he said.
When things become routine, Matthews evaluates the situation and per-
forms a mental adjustment to keep himself alert. Safety briefings help him
avoid becoming complacent.
From left, Brian Humphries and Monte Matthews pause to view the scenery at Wade Sand and Gravel.