“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.
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.