Winding Down

I kind of like this time of year.  I’m talking about the period from Thanksgiving to Christmas, roughly three weeks that really signal the end of the business year (truth be told, I’m also kind of partial to it because my birthday falls in it, but that’s beside the point).  Yes, it is a time for parties and celebrating, but it is also a time that careers come to a close, and three people that have had an effect on my career are in the process of calling time right now.  Two of them you have probably heard of.  One, probably not.Let’s start with the one you probably have heard of the most:  ASLRRA President Rich Timmons.  A lot has been written about Rich over the last two years, and I can conclusively report that he has actually retired from the position of ASLRRA President after a two year retirement tour.  I have had the fortune of working with Rich over the last twelve years, and am honored to call him a friend.  While railroading was always a backdrop to our discussions, my interest in military history will probably be a central part of our talks in the coming years.  I wish Rich the best, and I hope that his wife Margo will get to enjoy having her soldier home for a long time.Bob Bailey of the Port Jersey Railroad has been a mentor and friend of mine for almost as long as I have been in the industry.  Bob was very close with my father, working with him to form the NJ Short Line Railroad Association, and also served with him on the Board of Directors of the ASLRRA, where Bob eventually became the Eastern Region Vice President.  Following my father’s death, Bob was the one who got me involved in both associations, leading eventually to me being the Treasurer of the New Jersey association, and a director for the ASLRRA.  Bob was also the person who planted the idea with me of forming Short Line Data Systems, and even though his company never did sign up, he has been a staunch supporter of mine throughout the years.  Bob won’t be sitting still (if he did I think Bridget would kill him), as he is going to be consulting and spending a lot of time with his grandchildren.Now the last guy I am sure that most of you have never heard of.  His name is Paul Yanosik, and due to the fact that he has a large proboscis and a slight build, it should be no surprise that he has been called “Bird” for a very long time.  I started working with Paul when I was in college and worked at the M&E part time on the track gang.  I learned most of what I know about how to build and maintain track from him, and also learned a lot about the history of the railroads in the area.  Paul was someone who always wanted to work for the railroad when he was growing up, and while he did work for a number of companies, most of his time was spent with us at the M&E.  In addition to his rail knowledge, he is also a talented musician and railroad modeler, and some of his scratch built locomotives put professional modelers to shame.  The youngest of this group of three, I have a feeling that Paul will be doing what he likes best now, chasing trains on gloomy days, volunteering for one of the museums in the area, and playing and restoring classic guitars.Each of these three people has had a significant impact on me and my career, each in a different way.  In fact, without what I have learned from each of them, my personal library of railroad knowledge would be a lot more empty.  I wish each of them the best in their retirement.---By Steve Friedland
steven-fb.jpgSteve Friedland is a child of the railroad industry. Following summers and vacations working on the track gang for the family-owned Morristown & Erie Railway, a 42-mile New Jersey short line, he started full-time in 1994. He has worked in all areas of the railroad, including track, mechanical, signals, and operations, and currently is a member of the management team for the company as director of operations in Morristown, N.J. In 1999, he founded Short Line Data Systems, a provider of railroad EDI and dispatching software, AEI hardware, and management consulting to the short line industry. He currently serves as the ASLRRA representative to the AAR's Wireless Communications Committee and is chairman of the joint AAR-ASLRRA Short Line Information Improvement Committee. He also is a member of the ASLRRA's board of directors.