Featured Innovator: Linda Bauer Darr is Transforming Transportation

Linda Bauer Darr

Photo Source -NVLConvention

“We want the organization to be more inclusive and supportive of small railroads, develop a strong safety product and be recognized by Class Is as an essential part of their networks.” – Linda Bauer Darr

Transportation is a topic that’s of utmost importance to us at WVCO, with many of our divisions are focused towards public and automobile transportation. We do our part to push for innovation and safety in those sectors, and her 25+ year career, Linda Bauer Darr too is working to do the same. She has lead associations and companies in many of transportations biggest sectors and has brought positive and real change to them. If you’re planning on taking part in the AREMA 2016 Expo, you’ll have the opportunity to hear her speak on the subject.

From 1989 to 1998, Linda Bauer Darr acted as Vice President for the American Trucking Association, a far cry from her once vocation of choice, criminal law. “The trucking industry was opening up and going more international. I was 26 years old and meeting with ambassadors and senators,” says Darr. Her international experience would only grow from there as she made the transition to the U.S. Department of Transportation, adopting the role of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budgets and Programs. In her role she oversaw a department-wide process reform for the review of large-scale transportation projects and lead the development of a $60 billion dollar annual budget to go towards rail, highway, Coast Guard, and aviation funding. “Here I am in my early 30s and meeting with the Coast Guard commandant talking about eliminating part of his budget,” said Darr.

ABA

Her role in the transportation industry didn’t end there. From 2001 to 2007, Linda Bauer Darr took on the Executive Director and Senior Vice President of Policy & Communications at the American Bus Association. As executive director, she directed the day-to-day activities of the ABA Foundation (the research and education sector), created grant programs for rural buses firms, and lead initiatives that resulted in a multi-million dollar infusion into the industry. The next step in her illustrious career took Darr to the American Moving & Storage Association, where she acted as President & CEO from 2007 to 2014 and lead the AMSA through a transformative period. Her Industry Certification initiative removed hundreds of problematic AMSA members, an initially daunting proposition that resulted in short term due loss but long term gains.

These days, Darr is the president of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, the first woman to ever to fill the role in its 102 year history. She’s already brought progress in the form of the Short Line Safety Institute, a non-profit corporation that promotes safety, training, and research for short line and regional rail roads.  “Safety is a critical focus,” says Darr. “We need to help create a culture in this diverse industry, and a level of understanding and compliance.” Though she’s only been president since 2014, it’s clear that under her tenure the association will be moving towards greater efficiency, training, and overall security.

It is a difficult task to briefly sum up the crucial role Linda Bauer Darr has played in the transportation industry throughout her professional career; she has pushed for safety initiatives, championed researched and awareness, brought funding to industries that were previously struggling, and embraced forward thinking processes no matter how daunting they may seem in comparison to the status quo. For these reasons and many, more we have named Linda Bauer Darr our “Featured Innovator of the Month.” We hope you’ll enjoy her lecture at AREMA 2016.

Note: Linda Bauer Darr does not work for Willamette Valley Company nor is she affiliated with our company.

Sources:

Progressive Railroading

AREMA

Short Line Safety Institute

How One Man Is Helping Develop China’s High Speed Railway

ZhaiWanming

Photo Source – South Jiaotong University

“China is developing its high-speed train technology fast enough to catch up with the best by, among other things, funding research teams to develop advanced monitoring and early warning systems, and quake-resistant technology to ensure the safety of high-speed railways. Even in environmental protection, China has gained enough experience while building the railway that connects Lhasa, Tibet with Qinghai province.” – Professor Zhai Wanming

If you’re attending this year’s ASCE International Conference on Transportation and Development, you will have the opportunity to listen to a lecture presented by Professor Zhai Wanming on the Technology Challenges in Rapid Development of High-Speed Railways in China.

Professor Zhai Wanming is a railway engineering dynamics specialist who fills the roles of chairman of Academic Committee of Southwest Jiaotong University, director of the Train and Track Research Institute, elected member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Rail Transportation. With all that in mind, it should be safe to say that he has played a fundamental role in the development of safety protocols and frameworks for China’s high-speed rail system and abroad.

HighSpeedTrain

One of China’s High-Speed Trains. Photo Source ChinaDaily.com

To understand the importance of Zhai’s work, one should also understand the necessity of the High-Speed rail in China. To date, it is the world’s longest high-speed rail network and the most heavily used in the world, with over 2.5 million passengers a day. In 2011, a devastating crash between two high-speed trains in Wenzhou, as well as some political circumstances, prompted a greater focus on safety and a reexamining of current systems. It is through the work of experts like Professor Wanming that the rails have been tested and secured for considerable use.

Professor Wanming’s endeavors include developing a method for analyzing and assessing the safety of high speed trains passing through bridges and the development of a vehicle-track coupled dynamics framework, used throughout the country. As China expands their high-speed rail system, Zhai Wanming’s processes have been used in over 20 large-scale field engineering projects to date. His work also extends to over 160 papers he has published on the subject and such books as “Vehicle-Track Coupling Dynamics” and “Advances in Environmental Vibration.”

Zhai has won the first-class prize of Science and Technology Progress Awards by the Ministry of Education in 2003 and the first-class prize of National Award for Science and Technology Progress by State Department in 2005. He received the achievement prize of Zhan Tianyou Railway Science and Technology Award in 2003, as well as several honors including the National Expert with Outstanding Contribution in 1994 and the Award of Chinese Youth Scientist in 2006. Lastly, he was named Chang Jiang Professor by the Ministry of Education (the highest honor issued to an individual in higher education by the Ministry of Education).

Over the course of several decades, Zhai Wanming has brought considerable advances to railway engineering and safety both in China and the world over through his frameworks, systems, and publications. It is this unwavering drive to improve the way we handle railway transportation systems that has made Zhai Wanming our “Featured Innovator of the Month.” We hope you all get the chance to hear him speak at International Conference on Transportation and Development, it will not be one to miss!

Note: Zhai Wanming does not work for Willamette Valley Company nor is he affiliated with our company.

Sources:

ASCE International Conference on Transport and Development

China Daily

International Conference on Frontiers of Design and Manufacturing

New York Times

Up Next: ASCE International Conference on Transportation & Development

Houston

Hello Houston!

WCVO is headed to Houston later this month to demonstrate and exhibit what our concrete repair products can do for those in the transportation and public infrastructure industry.

The ASCE International Conference on Transportation & Development (ICTD 2016), happening June 26th-29th, will be a great opportunity for us to learn more about the range of challenges developing in our industry and what WVCO can do to help overcome them. In addition, it’s an exciting opportunity to learn more about the latest innovations from leaders in our industry and seeing major infrastructure projects that are reshaping Houston and the rest of the country.

The conference is presented by The Transportation & Development Institute (T&DI), a specialty membership organization focused on transportation and development professionals. It is one of the American Society of Civil Engineer‘s eight specialty Institutes.

If you are headed to the conference, we invite you to stop by our booth to learn about what POLYQuik can offer. POLYQuik & Fastpatch concrete repair products are fast curing, tough materials. Each product is designed with ready-to-use package to meet your application needs. For more information, please visit www.polyquik.com.