Some Random Reilly Thoughts

Kathy Keeney wrote a wonderful remembrance of Reilly McCarren in her blog, and I thought I would toss in a couple of personal notes of my own. The AM has been a long-time railroad customer of SDS, and in fact was the first GCOR user of our ROCSDispatch system.  As we went through the setup and installation of the system, I would get emails from Reilly asking about features, and at times he would make suggestions about what the system should do.  Mind you, he was not using the system, and I’m not even sure if he ever saw the computer that it was running on in Arkansas, but he always wanted to talk about what could be done to make it a little better. I didn’t know this until about ten years ago, but Reilly and I grew up in the same area.  He was ten or so years older than I am, but his family was from Short Hills, which is the next town over from Maplewood, where I grew up.  How I found out about this was typical Reilly. One day I was sitting at home and my cell phone rings and it is Reilly, telling me that he is in town, and asking would I like to get together for lunch.  Considering that I knew that Reilly’s home base was in Illinois, my first question was what was he doing out here, and next was where did he want to eat?  He explained to me that his mother’s house was in Short Hills (I later found out that she lived literally down the street from where my mother lived at the time), and that he would come to pick me up to have lunch in an hour or so.  An hour later, an old Buick came rumbling down my street, and there is Reilly.  We went and found a place to eat, and I then found out the other reason for him wanting to get together. You see, he was working with a company that would become SDS’ competitor in part of our market, and he thought that bringing the two of us together would create a stronger entity.  As with any business opportunity I listened to what was being presented, and for a couple of months, we worked towards a potential merging of the companies.  In the end it didn’t work out, not because of anything he did, and from time to time would talk about what could have been. I had the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors of the ASLRRA when Reilly served, and it was my honor to be the person who seconded the motion to nominate him as Vice Chairman.  I also saw Reilly a day or two before he went to the doctor to see why he wasn’t feeling so great.  That was not a good doctor’s visit.  One thing I will say about him throughout his short battle with an extremely aggressive disease: he never once complained about his condition.  He was happy to have the time he had, and was lucky to see some life experiences that initially he was told he would not likely make it to.  We were lucky to have the extra time with him, too. ---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.