REMSA Spotlights WVCO Business Manager, Rob Loomis!

Rob Loomis, currently serves on REMSA’s Board of Directors

The Willamette Valley Company (WVCO) has had a long, productive relationship with the Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association(REMSA) that has benefited both our company and the rail products industry as a whole. REMSA recently featured WVCO Business Manager and REMSA Board member, Rob Loomis, as their “Board Member of the Month”. Here is what he had to say.

REMSA: What do you enjoy most about being on the REMSA Board?
Rob Loomis: The best part of being part of the board is being able to help our membership. Whether it is advocating for our industry for tax savings, funding, or promoting our value to Class 1 railroads, I enjoy delivering value to our membership.

REMSA: What has your experience on REMSA Board taught you and what is your vision for the future of REMSA?
The greatest lesson I have learn, or rather reinforced what I know, is that we as a whole can accomplish more than we can as individuals. Our success is a team effort and even if we compete in the industry, we all win if we work together.

REMSA: Do you participate in any committees as a REMSA Director?
Rob Loomis: Currently, I am the Chairman with the Government Affairs committee and support the efforts of the Exhibit and Long Range Planning committees.

REMSA: How did you get started in the rail industry?
Rob Loomis: My first exposure to the rail industry was in developing hopper car lining and tie-plugging and concrete tie repair products to extend the life of these assets.

REMSA: What do you love most about your job/the rail industry?
Rob Loomis: Mostly the people. Their focus on safety and delivering value in everything they do. This focus allows companies like Willamette Valley Company to invest in developing innovative solutions for customers who care about reducing overall costs and improving safety.

REMSA: What do you find yourself doing most in your downtime? Hobbies outside of work?
Rob Loomis: Family time, backpacking, dirt/mountain biking, or simply throwing a tennis ball for my Chesapeake Bay retriever.

REMSA: How do you define the “future” of rail? Where do you think the industry is headed?
Rob Loomis: The future of rail is like the future of the internet. It is our future and always will be. The more people recognize the value of rail transportation, the cleaner the environment will be, the lower the cost will be to tax payers, and the healthier our economy will be.

The rail industry is headed in the right direction and they will add more technology to help reduce costs and improve our overall supply chain for the country. It is our responsibility as members, to educate the leaders in this industry how we deliver value and lower their costs by reducing repeat maintenance, or extending the life cycle of their assets, with our products and solutions.

You can read more about WVCO’s partnership with REMSA by clicking here or visit www.remsa.org to learn more about the organization and its members.

How WVCO’s Partnership with REMSA Benefits the Rail Products Industry

WVCO’s Partnership with REMSA is Benefits the Rail Products Industry

Our official credo at Willamette Valley Company (WVCO) is “Partnering Through Service,Innovation, And Integrity”. We believe our longstanding partnerships with leading trade associations are integral to our customer’s success and has helped WVCO ascend as one of the leading North American companies in the rail products industry

The unique relationships we have with elite professional organizations like American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA), American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) and Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA) enable us to better serve our customers by giving us access to the latest technologies, methodologies, and resources.

In this post, we are spotlighting our partnership with REMSA, a non-profit trade group representing over 330 railway engineers, contractors, and consultants and maintenance-of-way suppliers across the country. WVCO Business Manager, Rob Loomis, is on REMSA’s Board of Directors where he serves as Government Affairs Chairman. Rob is uniquely qualified for this position as he has been at the forefront of developing innovating solutions for tie remediation with polymer materials and state-of-the-art equipment to increase efficiency for over a decade. 

Rob Loomis, currently serves on REMSA’s Board of Directors The rail supply industry contributes a hefty amount to our global economy and  gross domestic product (GDP) and employs more than 125,000 people in our country. In a 2018 economic impact study, Tracking the Power of Rail Supply: The Economic Impact of Rail Suppliers in the U.S., REMSA partnered with other organizations to quantify the economic and workforce impact of the products and services produced by the railway supply industry. According to the report, the economic contribution of the railway supply industry amounted to more than $74.2 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 and they paid $16.9 billion in taxes to local, state and federal governments.  

REMSA’s mission is to facilitate global business development opportunities to companies and individuals who manufacture or sell maintenance-of-way equipment, products, and services or are engineers, contractors, and consultants working in construction and/or maintenance of railroad transportation facilities. 

One of the things we value the most about our partnership with REMSA is their efforts to advance initiatives and unite railroad maintenance-of-way suppliers in support of the rail industry through grassroots advocacy.  To date, REMSA’s Grassroots Program has hosted 33 Members of Congress at member company facilities, including a 2018 event for Congressman Peter DeFazio hosted here in our Eugene, Oregon facility. The program has also generated over 200 rail industry and local media articles, highlighting the products and services of our membership.

DeFazio Rail Award

Rep. DeFazio accepts award at Wilamette Valley Company in 2018- Courtesy of REMSA

REMSA is also a sponsor of Railway Interchange, the largest combined railway exhibition and technical conference in North America. WVCO has had the honor of participating in this world-class rail industry event many times by showcasing our WVCO Railroad and POLYQuik products, and we look forward to participating once again in 2023.

To learn more, watch this video below to learn more about REMSA’s key membership value initiatives and its role in supporting the maintenance of way industry and be sure to visit www.remsa.org. 

Tapel Willamette Celebrates 20 Years in Business!

Tapel Willamette

Tapel Willamette, Willamette Valley Company’s South American division, recently celebrated 20 years in business- a major milestone! When it began operations in May 2000 the company had just 7 employees and was headquartered in a small warehouse near downtown Concepción, Chile. Today, Tapel Willamette is a leading supplier for the industrial, environmental, and wood products industries, providing innovative solutions and services all over the world from their current headquarters in Coronel, Chile.

Coronel, Chile

The company has faced its share of challenges through the years – the subprime crisis, the earthquake in 2010, climate change, the current coronavirus pandemic, and a 2019 national social and political crisis in Chile that resulted in widespread strikes and road closures. Despite these challenges, the Tapel Willamette team stepped up and continued to supply high-quality solutions to their customers by following a simple credo:

“Nos asociamos a través del servicio, la innovación y la integridad”- We partner through service, innovation, and integrity.

It is this commitment to quality, service, and innovation that has made Tapel Willamette a success story.  

Tapel Willamette 2020

Not even a global pandemic can stop our Tapel Willamette team from serving our customers and essential businesses.

Tapel Willamette

After the 2010 Earthquake

Tapel Willamette is verified with Responsible Care, which reaffirms their commitment to the community, to the environment and to all those who are part of our business activities. The company demonstrated this commitment by participating in initiatives like this hydrological restoration program to reduce the environmental, social, and economic vulnerability generated by the mega-fires of the summer of 2017. 

We are very proud of our Tapel family!!! For more information, please visit www.tapel.cl

Obtenga más información visitando www.tapel.cl

photo credit: Oscar Maltez via photopin cc

How the WVCO Railroad Solutions Are Revolutionizing the Rail Supply Industry

Division Spotlight: WVCO Railroad Division
WVCO Railroad
Did you know that the rail industry’s roots go all the way back to 1st millennia BC when the Ancient Greeks used a prepared earth road that forced land cars to follow a predetermined path? European countries began to use railroads back in the 1600s to help transport coal and eventually other materials. 

By the early 1800s, it began transporting passengers and for the last 2 centuries, railroads have been the backbone of the U.S. economy and have evolved to provide efficient and advanced transportation solutions to American businesses and consumers. 

Maintaining our modern rail system is no small feat and the rail supply industry has also seen advancements in repair products and methods through the years. Before 1999, the only spike-hole plugging products on the market for wood-tie remediation were wooden plugs and rigid foam products.

While these products were effective, they presented numerous challenges to railroad maintenance crews. They needed spike-hole plugging products that could last longer and perform well in extreme weather conditions, including heavy rain, freezing temperatures and high humidity. WVCO’s Railroad Solutions responded to this challenge and developed and engineered a new solution, SpikeFast®, a dual-component, non-foam polyurethane product that is currently regarded as the industry’s most reliable product for plugging spike holes. 

Today the railway supply industry plays an essential role in the U.S. economy in terms of jobs, tax revenue, and gross domestic product (GDP) on both the state and national level and we are proud to be a part of it. The importance of this industry and it’s many challenges is what drives us to provide some of the most innovative maintenance solutions on the market for modern railroads including wood and concrete tie repair materials, dispensing systems and FastPatch® and POLYQuik® products to improve the durability of structural applications. 

We have partnered with leading organizations like Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA) and American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) to better serve our customers by having access to the latest technologies, methodologies, and resources. 

Visit wvcorailroad.com/products to learn more about WVCO’s Railroad Solutions.

WVCO looks back on 2019 – the year of innovation.

WVCO Railroad Products

2019 was a year of innovation. The wood products industry thrived as game-changing technology was introduced into the marketplace while cross-laminated timber, known for its economic advantages, construction quality, durability, sustainability, and aesthetics, was embraced by more architects and construction companies around the world.

There were great advances made in automation that will make manufacturing jobs safer and more efficient. WVCO’s Idaho Milling and Grain division kept their eyes on exciting new research that may help farmers adapt to climate pressures as researchers developed technology to create 3D-printed concrete that could revolutionize the construction industry and decrease its carbon footprint.

WVCO continued to develop robotic solutions for automated engineering, finishing, material handling, welding and more. Our team of engineers also developed unique and customized solutions that will enable companies to overcome challenges in the transportation industry and infrastructure.

Here’s a look back at some of our highlights from 2019.

In May, our WVCO Wood Products team traveled to Hannover, Germany to showcase WVCO’s wood product solutions and equipment at LIGNA 2019, the world’s leading trade show for tools and machinery for the wood processing industry. It was an exciting opportunity for us to meet with key wood and forestry industry leaders from around the globe. LIGNA 2019 had three focus themes: “Integrated Woodworking – Customized Solutions”, “Smart Surface Technology” and “Access to Resources and Technology”.

Over the summer, the WVCO team introduced the FastPatch HPRE, High-Performance Rail Encapsulator to address some of the challenges embedded rail systems on city streets present such as excessive vibration, noise, rail deflection, and maintenance difficulties. This new system is designed from WVCO’s innovative polymer and dispensing equipment and offers fast installation and a long-lasting solution for embedded rail systems with key performance properties.

We also had the pleasure of opening our newly remodeled R & D Center for our Research & Development team in Eugene. The beautiful new facility is equipped with the latest and most sophisticated analytical technologies on the market and designed with our entire R & D team in mind.

In August, Cleco presented Willamette Valley Company (WVCO) with a $34,182.40 check at our Pineville, Louisana facility for upgrading its interior and exterior lights to LED lighting through Cleco’s Power Wise™ energy efficiency program. With the new LED lighting, WVCO is projected to save 341,824 kWh annually, which is estimated to be enough electricity to power 28 homes for one year!

Also in August, our Pre-Tec division was prominently featured in this piece published in Eugene’s Register Guard.

The WVCO Railroad Division exhibited products like SpikeFast®, the industry’s most reliable product for plugging spike holes, and other custom solutions related to rail and highway safety at the 2019 National Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Conference. The conference brought leaders in the rail and highway industries together to present contemporary topics and new technology to an international audience.

In September,the WVCO team traveled to Tampa, Florida to meet with professionals in the marine industry and present how our innovative FastPatch technology can cut time and expenses at IBEX 2019, North America’s leading technical boat-building showcase.

Our team also exhibited our railroad products and FastPatch products at Railway Interchange 2019, the largest U.S.-based technical conference and trade show for the railroad industry! took place in September in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was a great success. An estimated 7,000+ attendees and hundreds of exhibitors from all over the world gathered at this combined railway industry event, sponsored by AREMA (American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association) and CMA (Coordinated Mechanical Associations) and the exhibits of RSI (Railway Supply Institute), REMSA (Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association) and RSSI (Railway Systems Suppliers, Inc.)

In November, WVCO was named “APA Supplier of the Year” at the APA Annual Meeting held in conjunction with the EWTA Info Fair in Tucson, Arizona. This marks the fifth year in a row we have received this esteemed award, and the tenth out of the last 14 years! EWTA’s Supplier of the Year Awards are based on the quality and delivery of EWTA member products, equipment and/or services supplied to APA members, as determined by a vote of APA mill managers.

2019 also brought major changes to the world of robotics. WVCO’s PRE-TEC division enhanced robotic weld cell automation by introducing a unique line-up of FASWeld Standard Robotic Weld Cells, built for companies using automation for the first time, as well as customers looking to expand their robotic automation capabilities. Each system is developed using the highest quality industrial components.

What new developments do you predict 2020 will bring? Stay tuned and find out! WVCO wishes all of our employees, customers, partners and friends a very happy new year!

WVCO Partner Spotlight: Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA)

Photo Source: REMSA

Willamette Valley Company is proud to partner with many outstanding organizations that have helped to lead the way in our industries. These unique partnerships have enabled us to better serve our customers by giving us access to the latest technologies, methodologies, and resources.

This month, we are spotlighting our partnership with REMSA (Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association), a non-profit trade group representing over 330 railway engineers, contractors, and consultants and maintenance-of-way suppliers across the country.

One of the things we value the most about our partnership with REMSA is their efforts to advance initiatives in support of the rail industry (a $5 billion industry supporting over 35,000 jobs nationwide) and the business development opportunities the organization extends to its members on a national and international scale. Since 1965, the organization has strived to provide its members with the very best equipment, machines, and services in the railroad industry.

REMSA’s Mission is to facilitate global business development opportunities to companies and individuals who manufacture or sell maintenance-of-way equipment, products, and services or are engineers, contractors, and consultants working in construction and/or maintenance of railroad transportation facilities.

Watch the video below to learn more about REMSA’s key membership value initiatives and its role in supporting the maintenance of way industry.

REMSA is also a sponsor of Railway Interchange, the largest combined railway exhibition and technical conference in North America. WVCO has had the honor of participating in this world-class rail industry event a number of times by showcasing our WVCO Railroad and POLYQuik products. In addition, the organization supports the rail industry through actions such as:

*Maintaining long standing alliances with the Federal Railroad Administration, Association of American Railroads, the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA), the Railway Systems Suppliers, Inc., the Railway Supply Institute, the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, and the U.S. Congress, among others.

*Publishing a quarterly newsletter that includes interviews with industry leaders, articles on foreign opportunities, legislation and lobbying efforts, company profiles, as well as exhibition and meeting news.

*Providing scholarships to REMSA member company employees and their families.
Supporting networking with an interactive job board, Career Network, that offers easy-to-use and highly targeted resources for online employment connections.

*Association representatives are politically active on behalf of its members and the railroad industry by meeting with lawmakers in Washington, DC, and at the state level.

To learn more about REMSA and the other contributions the organization has given to our industry, please visit www.remsa.org. 

What is in store for Rail in 2018?

Rail

Photo Source: American-Rails

“We feel very good about the future and look forward to next year. We are committed to provide superior service to our customers, and with the volume growth momentum still ahead of us, we see good growth opportunity. A major focus as we move into 2018 is putting more of our resources in place: the people, the equipment and the capital investments.” — Canadian National President and CEO Luc Jobin

What’s the state of the rail industry in 2018? Today’s modern railroads face diverse and unique challenges in daily maintenance projects. There is a lot to be optimistic about in the coming year for rail, though at the moment it is a cautious optimism. A strong U.S. economy and increased consumer confidence could potentially bring new investments and policies that would positively affect all levels of infrastructure throughout the country.

Overall, 2017 was a good year for the rail industry, with the ASCE’s report card giving it the only strong grade of its infrastructure report card. NASDAQ also reported strong growth for railroads in the third quarter due in part to improved focus on deliverables like coal.

Of course, there are challenges to overcome that could impact the industry. Some lawmakers have called for budget cuts, stating that trains are not profitable. National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) President and CEO Jim Mathews responded by saying “those in Congress who believe that passenger rail is not profitable are mistaken. What they don’t see is the big picture. A robust national–and international–intermodal transportation system is crucial to economic growth, especially in those rural and less wealthy areas where travel options are already limited.”

Uncertainty with the North American Free Trade Agreement could also be a factor that greatly impacts the rail industry. Railroads such as the Kansas City Southern that deal heavily with Mexico could potentially feel the repercussions of the deal falling through.

Union Pacific’s Lance Fritz highlights Mexico is a strong business opportunity. “Despite uncertainty around NAFTA, we consider our Mexico business an opportunity that could benefit some of our submarkets. Union Pacific moves 70 percent of U.S. freight-rail shipments to and from Mexico through gateways at Brownsville, Laredo, Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas; Nogales, Arizona; and Calexico, California. We support trade that helps the U.S. and Mexico economies grow.”

As new infrastructure plans and investments are revealed, the railroad industry’s future will become clearer. We hope it’s a bright one.

About WVCO’s Railroad Division
The Willamette Valley Company’s Railroad Division is the industry leader in providing innovative new products and application systems for today’s railroads. The Railroad Division’s proprietary product, SpikeFast®, has quickly become the most sought-after and reliable product for plugging spike holes.The Railroad Division also offers other railroad tie products for wood and concrete ties, and unique application systems to accurately and consistently apply proven products.

Sources:

https://www.globalrailwayreview.com/article/63203/expanding-passenger-rail-u-s-economy/

https://www.globalrailwayreview.com/news/62949/report-amtrak-cuts-cost-billions/

http://www.nasdaq.com/article/railroad-industry-outlook-december-2018-cm886615

http://www.progressiverailroading.com/rail_industry_trends/article/Outlook-2018-For-Class-I-railroads-moderate-growth-is-the-best-guess–53413

Positive Train Control Means Increased Rail Safety Measures

Rail systems get millions to improve safety

Rail systems get millions to improve safety

Last spring, the  U.S. Department of Transportation announced it would grant $197 million in funding for rail systems to implement the new rail safety measures called Positive Train Control.

Positive Train Control, or PTC, has been described as something of an “air traffic control” center for trains. PTC makes use of GPS satellites, radio towers, and ground sensors in order to better read a train’s speed and location. One such added benefit of this technology is that it can detect if a train is going too fast and allow on board computers to slow it down or stop it all together.

PTC

Photo Source – The Press Enterprise

“The number of passengers depending on rail has increased dramatically, which means PTC is needed now more than ever,” said Patrick Warren, FRA Executive Director. “This funding will get us closer to PTC implementation on some of the most significant railroads in the country that transport several million passengers to and from work every day.”

PTC systems are designed to prevent certain train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zones, and trains routed to the wrong tracks because a switch was left in the wrong position. The grants under this program will be used to install PTC technology, including back office systems and wayside, communications, and onboard hardware equipment associated with railroads’ PTC systems.

“Millions of people rely on our nation’s commuter railroads and Positive Train Control will help ensure safe and reliable service,” said FTA Executive Director Matthew Welbes. “Today’s announcement means that commuter railroads can move forward with the implementation of an important rail safety feature.”

Of course, a project of this scale and scope has been met with some hesitation. Some fear such a system could higher transportation costs in addition to redundancies that could potentially result in layoffs. Though the debate continues whether implementation is fiscally wise or will managed, few can deny that such a tech will not be a strong tool in helping prevent accidents caused due to human error.

To view a list of when railroads predict that they will achieve full PTC system implementation, visit Railroads’ Planned Timelines for Full Implementation of PTC TechnologyExternal Link.

Sources:

New Technology Coming To Help Make MARC Trains Safer

Rail systems get millions to improve safety

Regulators and railways spar over Positive Train Control, a controversial safety system that won’t arrive in time

Meet John Zuspan, “the Track Guy”

 

Photo Source University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Photo Source University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“We must build and maintain the track structure the right way or Railroad Safety, Quality, and Integrity will be compromised and this great industry will (literally and figuratively) derail.” – Excerpt from Track Guy Consultant’s Mission Statement.

Event-goers of NRC-REMSA 2017 Conference earlier this year are no doubt familiar with John Zuspan; not only did he present a seminar on “Means and Methods for Direct Fixation, Low Vibration Track & Embedded Track” (a talk on the means and methods for DF, LVT, and embedded track construction), he was honored and inducted into the NRC Hall of Fame.

Throughout his 40+ year career, John Zuspan has worked in the various complex roles that make up our railroad industry. This journey first began with a job as a track laborer for Atlas Railroad Construction, where Zuspan learned first hand the tangible, physical requirements of railway assembly.  This knowledge would serve him well in his next role, Superintendent for Slattery/Skanska. Zuspan’s work ethic and drive resulted in his elevation to Director of the Track Division. Vice President for Balfour Beatty Rail was the next post Zuspan assumed, estimating and managing budgets for several large scale railway projects and being responsible for hundreds of track workers across three boroughs.

It’s no exaggeration to say that John Zuspan has an inside knowledge of all complex facets that make the railway industry run. This passion and perspective, gleamed through a decades of work, would lead to his next endeavor: Track Guy Consultants.

Track Guy Consultants granted John Zuspan the opportunity to give back to the railway industry through workshops, seminars, track inspections, safety training, and other services for railroad firms and employees. Stanley Beaver, Safety and Environment Director at Balfour Beatty Rail, sums up the impact of Zuspan’s work:

“Without John’s help, many individuals and small businesses may not have succeeded. Very often his help comes without charge in the form of advice and encouragement. John is never too busy to take time to help individuals working through complex issues.”

For his decades of service towards improving the quality of railways and railway employees, as well as his on-going passion to offer the tools and information new generations of railway workers can use, we name John Zuspan our Featured Innovator of the Month. We look forward to hearing more from him in the future!

Note: John Zuspan does not work for nor is he affiliated with  Willamette Valley Company. 

Sources:

Track Guy Consultants

RT&S

Congressman Peter DeFazio Visits WVCO to Accept Railroad Achievement Award

Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA).

Photos courtesy of Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA).

It was a very exciting week at our Eugene, OR manufacturing facility! Earlier this week, we had the pleasure of welcoming some very special guests including distinguished members of Association of American Railroads (AAR), The Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA),GoRail and representatives from Oregon rail manufacturers to honor Congressman Peter DeFazio

“Congressman Peter DeFazio has long been a strong advocate of the rail industry, the State of Oregon and especially, Lane County,” added John Murray, Vice President of WVCO. “Willamette Valley Company is honored to host this award presentation.”

Congressman DeFazio, a ranking member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, was recognized at this event for his support and leadership on issues affecting both freight and passenger railroads. The Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA), which represents WVCO, as well as eight other Oregon rail manufacturers, coordinated the event.

WVCO ‎Vice President John Murray introducing distinguished guests at an event honoring Congressman DeFazio.

WVCO ‎Vice President John Murray introducing distinguished guests at an event honoring Congressman DeFazio.

Sean Winkler, REMSA; Allen Goff, REMSA Director; Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR); WVCO's John Murray, REMSA Director

Sean Winkler, REMSA; Allen Goff, REMSA Director; Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR); WVCO’s John Murray, REMSA Director

Nate Kaplan, GoRail, Presents Rep. DeFazio with Railroad Achievement Award

Nate Kaplan, GoRail, Presents Rep. DeFazio with Railroad Achievement Award

Click here to read the full recap.