Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak president’

Flynn Scrutinized for Atlas Safety Record

March 6, 2020

Amtrak President select William J. Flynn is being scrutinized for the safety records of the airlines that he oversaw during his time at Atlas Air Worldwide.

Pilots for Atlas, which is a freight and charter operation comprised of three carriers, have suggested that safety has not been among Flynn’s priorities.

Business Insider reported that the pilots contend Atlas has hired inexperienced and inadequately qualified pilots.

The BI report also said union leaders and pilots have been concerned about “shoddy training standards, fatigue and overwork, poor morale, and below-industry pay.”

These conditions, the pilots said, have reduced the level of safety at Atlas.

Atlas has for the past three years been locked in contentious contract negotiations with its pilots.

In February 2019 an Atlas Boeing 767 flying under contract for Amazon crashed while approaching Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport, killing both pilots and a pilot from another airline who was riding in the flight deck jump seat.

Although the National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the crash, it did release a statement agreeing in part with concerns raised by pilots about what they termed a lack of emphasis on safety and training standards.

Following that crash Flynn said in a prepared statement that some concerns that had been raised about safety at Atlas were “misleading and inaccurate, and inappropriately connect the Flight 3591 tragedy with ongoing contract negotiations.”

Flynn’s statement said Atlas has worked hard since its founding more than 25 years ago “to earn and maintain a record of safety and compliance.”

Flynn is scheduled to become Amtrak’s next president and CEO on April 15.

Moorman Looks to Future at Amtrak

December 13, 2016

Amtrak President Charles “Wick” Moorman has said little in public about his vision for Amtrak since replacing former Amtrak President Joesph Boardman last September.

But Moorman and Amtrak Chairman Anthony Coscia gave a glimpse of the future in an interview with Progressive Railroading.

Amtrak logoCoscia said Amtrak plans to emphasize convincing stakeholders that the passenger carrier serves its passengers well despite having limited resources.

“This is not about being profitable, it’s about being well run,” Coscia said. “It’s about using our resources wisely, and looking for creative and intelligent ways to run the company . . .”

For his part, Moorman told the magazine,  “What we need to do at Amtrak is make sure that we are running an efficient company that provides a great product to the 30-plus million people who use our services every year. If we do that, I think we should be able to answer effectively to anyone on Capitol Hill — or anyone else — who has criticisms about us.”

Moorman said he wants to focus on building a stronger safety culture and then begin working on improving customer service.

He said Amtrak is, “not at the place that the class I carriers are in terms of a safety record and safety culture.”

Customer service may also need some attention. “One of the things we’re going to pay a lot of attention to going forward is the customer experience,” Moorman said. “We’ll balance the customer service needs with our ability to be more efficient and effective, particularly in those areas that don’t directly affect the customer.”

Moorman is activity seeking to recruit new members to his management team, including retired NS executives.

Already, Moorman has discussed with those executives the areas where Amtrak needs improvements.

One former NS manager, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Manion, has agreed to work with Amtrak.

Moorman also plans to work to improve Amtrak’s relationships with its contract railroads.

Those became strained during a Surface Transportation Board proceeding pertaining to on-time performance standards and regulatory authority.

“The relationships with the class Is are not terrible by any means. I think we can work through a lot of the issues around things like on-time performance,” Moorman said.

“We need to make sure the class Is see us an ally in creating a positive public image; in working on issues that are important to both of us on Capitol Hill; and as a card-carrying member of the railroad industry,” he said.

Moorman will be getting a first-hand look at Amtrak’s service because he rides the Crescent between his home in Charlottesville, Virginia, and his office in Washington.

Although he did not offer any concrete plans for service expansion, Moorman said there are opportunities for expansion, primarily on the state routes.

“I think there will be a ton of opportunity to continue to come our way as the years go by, and we at Amtrak need to be a company that understands that, is prepared for it, and operates that service effectively with our state partners,” he said.

Moorman Likens Amtrak to an Old House That Needs Attention, But Not Reconstruction

November 22, 2016

Although he has been in office less than three months, Amtrak President Charles “Wick” Moorman doesn’t expect to be around for a long time.

Wick Moorman

Wick Moorman

“My wife has told me that,” Moorman said at the Rail Trends 2016 Conference last week.

In his speech, Moorman said he is attempting to make Amtrak highly efficient, develop a stronger safety culture, and find the right person to lead the passenger carrier over the long term.

He also is seeking to build relationships with Amtrak’s host railroads.

He cited as an example his desire for Norfolk Southern chief dispatchers to get to know Amtrak operating officials so that they can solve problems together.

Moorman said that developing better relationships with its contract railroads is critical to being able to expand regional services.

He sees growth opportunities for regional trains and state-supported services in shorter corridors because they are attractive transportation alternative when compared to the hassle of flying and dealing with airport security.

“Amtrak’s bag fees are very low,” Moorman said. “And, you’ll hear this in our marketing, ‘there’s no middle seat.’ ”

Moorman described the long-distance trains as the “political glue” that holds Amtrak together and which play an essential role in providing transportation to underserved regions of the United States.

The Amtrak president said that although replacing Amtrak’s tired fleet of P42DC locomotives could be done relatively quickly, there is no fast solution to replacing Amfleet I and II equipment

That will require a source of funding as well as a new design. “We want to nail down what the cars should look like first,” Moorman said.

In the meantime, Amtrak has announced the replacement equipment that will be built to replace the Acela Express train sets with Moorman calling that a game-changer for high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor.

“It’s going to be a better product in every way,” Moorman said about the equipment that will be delivered starting in 2021.

Moorman sees Amtrak as having similar characteristic as an old house. It needs some attention, but not radical reconstruction.

“Amtrak’s not broken. There are things to be fixed,” Moorman said. “Think of me as the plumber.”

Moorman retired as head of Norfolk Southern in 2015 and initially spurned Amtrak’s overtures to replace Joseph Boardman as president.

He changed his mind after the Amtrak board of directors persisted in seeking him.

“I am not doing this for the money,” Moorman said. “I am doing this because the future of Amtrak is important to this country.”

He has brought on board some fellow retired NS executives, including Chief Operating Officer Mark Manion

Moorman said it will be easier to get legislators and others to support Amtrak if they can see that is is efficient and well-managed.

He said increasing efficiency means reducing operating losses while providing better service.

Although he sees Amtrak as safe and getting safer, Moorman said there is still work to be done to create a stronger safety culture.

Amtrak Names Locomotive after ex-Head Boardman

September 29, 2016

Amtrak has named P42DC No. 42 after its former president, Joseph Boardman.

Amtrak logoPainted in a livery honoring the nation’s veterans, No. 42 will carrying an inscription below its cab reading: “Amtrak Honors: Joseph H. Boardman, President and CEO 2008-2016, US Air Force Vietnam Veteran.”

The locomotive was officially named for Boardman earlier this week during a ceremony held at Washington Union Station that was attended by more than 100 invited guests, including Union Pacific CEO Lance Fritz; BNSF Railway Executive Chairman Matt Rose; Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Sarah Feinberg; former FRA boss Joe Szabo; union officials; and dozens of Amtrak employees and managers.

Also attending and speaking were U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Amtrak Board of Directors Chairman Tony Coscia and board member Tom Carper, U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham, and Association of American Railroads President and CEO Ed Hamberger.

Current Amtrak President and CEO Wick Moorman was absent because he was on a previously-planned family vacation.

Moorman Writes to Amtrak Employees

September 1, 2016

Charles “Wick” Moorman became president of Amtrak on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. He wrote the following letter to Amtrak employees. Make of it what you will.

Wick Moorman

Wick Moorman

My name is Wick Moorman and it is a pleasure and a privilege for me to be joining you as your new CEO.

I want to start my time at Amtrak by saying how honored I am to follow Joe Boardman. I’ve known Joe for many years, and his work at Amtrak and FRA has left us a strong and useful legacy to build on. During his eight years in leading the company, Amtrak delivered record ridership and revenue levels, while making critical investments in our assets and our people to prepare for future growth. That success is a testament to the strength of the entire Amtrak team, and to Joe’s commitment to leaving Amtrak stronger than when he arrived. That’s what I hope to accomplish myself as your new CEO, as we work together to make Amtrak a safer, more efficient, and modern company, that’s growing our business and delivering increasing value to our customers and the nation.

Let me tell you a little bit about myself, and why I have chosen to come to Amtrak.

The first thing you should know about me is that I am a life-long railroader, and from childhood I have been fascinated by the technology and romance of our business. After high school, I studied civil engineering at Georgia Tech and was fortunate enough to obtain an engineering co-op position with the Southern Railway, one of Norfolk Southern’s predecessors. Upon graduation from Tech, I joined Southern full-time as a management trainee in the Maintenance of Way department, where I was first put to work on a track gang to ensure that I knew the railroad from the ground up! It was a great way to start, and for the first 12 years of my career I worked in Southern and then Norfolk Southern’s Maintenance of Way department as a track supervisor and then as a division engineer.

Those years served as a wonderful foundation for my over four-decade career with Norfolk Southern. After a brief stint in business school, Norfolk Southern gave me the opportunity to work in transportation, human resources, labor relations, IT and strategic planning. These experiences helped me to understand what it truly takes to run a great railroad and prepared me to become Norfolk Southern’s CEO in 2005. Over the next 10 years, our company went through a period of significant change. Together, we continued to improve our safety culture. We introduced new technology and found new ways to become more efficient. And we completed several rail corridor projects that would help us grow our service capabilities and revenue levels for a long time to come.

I retired quite happily last year, with no intentions of working full-time again, but then was approached about the possibility of leading Amtrak. I started my career in the summer of 1970, not long before Amtrak started to operate. It is not an exaggeration to say I have followed Amtrak since Day One – and while my background is in freight, I have a deep appreciation for passenger rail and have ridden passenger trains all my life. Amtrak provides a great and necessary public service. It keeps people moving and businesses strong in the Northeast Corridor, and it provides connectivity and mobility to 46 of the 48 contiguous states throughout our National Network. Furthermore, as our country’s transportation needs continue to change and grow, there is more and more public interest in passenger rail service everywhere. Together, we can continue to transform Amtrak. We can expand and grow our company in ways that will help us meet these new demands, and make Amtrak the leading rail passenger carrier worldwide.

As I have talked to people over the years about my life and career, I have always stressed how extraordinarily fortunate and blessed I have been! The opportunity to become CEO of Amtrak is another chapter in that story of great good fortune, and I am excited to be starting today.

My immediate priority in the next 60 days as I transition into the new role is to spend time with the leadership team and to get out and see as many of you as I can, in order to get a better understanding of what we do, and how we do it. I also encourage all of you to let me know your thoughts on what we can do together to improve the company.

I will be communicating more with you as we close out fiscal year 2016 and kick-off fiscal year 2017. For now, thanks for everything you’re doing to keep Amtrak rolling, and I look forward to seeing you somewhere out on the railroad.

Sincerely,
Wick Moorman

Moorman to be Next Amtrak President

August 19, 2016

Former Norfolk Southern head Charles W. “Wick” Moorman has agreed to become president of Amtrak effective Sept. 1.

Moorman, who retired as president and CEO of NS in 2015, will replace Joseph Boardman.

Amtrak logoIn announcing Moorman’s appointment, Amtrak said he had agreed to take a $1 yearly salary but will be eligible for a $500,000 annual bonus if meets specified performance goals.

Moorman would be the third Amtrak head to take over after serving as president of a Class I railroad.

Graham Claytor Jr. served as Amtrak president from 1982 to 1993 having previously been president of the Southern Railway.

Alan Boyd was president of Amtrak between 1978 and 1982 had been president of the Illinois Central Railroad.

“I view this as public service,” Moorman told Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono. “Amtrak is important to the freight rail carriers, and to the country. This is something I really want to do, and I believe I can contribute to making Amtrak a better railroad. I’m sure the work will be interesting, and I hope it will be fun as well.”

Moorman said he did not take the job for the money or because he had been unhappy in retirement.

In a news release, Moorman said he agreed to take the position because, “it is an honor and privilege to take on the role of CEO at Amtrak, and I look forward to working with its dedicated employees to find ways to provide even better service to our passengers and the nation. At Norfolk Southern, our team fostered change by placing a solid emphasis on performance across all aspects of our business, which helped develop a stronger safety and service culture throughout the company. I look forward to advancing those same goals at Amtrak and helping to build a plan for future growth.”

Moorman has more than 40 years in the railroad industry with NS and the Southern.

He began his railroad career working on a track gang during college and because a management trainee after graduation.

Moorman is a graduate of Georgia Tech University and the Harvard Business School.

He served on the boards of Duke Energy Corporation, Chevron Corporation, the Virginia chapter of the Nature Conservancy, and the Georgia Tech Foundation.

He had held the post of NS executive chairman until late 2015.

“Wick Moorman is a proven railroader whose track record of success demonstrates his commitment and adherence to rail safety, efficiency and service to customers,” said Association of American Railroads President and CEO Ed Hamberger in a statement. “His contributions and leadership in the freight rail industry, I believe, will advance the working partnership the freight railroads have with Amtrak. The AAR and its freight rail members recognize the importance of Amtrak as a reliable U.S. passenger rail service and look forward to working with Wick in his new capacity.”

Amtrak Board Chairman Anthony Coscia said in a statement, “We are very pleased that someone with Wick’s experience and vision will lead Amtrak during this critical period as the company charts a course for future growth and improvement.”

Coscia expressed optimism that Moorman would improve Amtrak’s relationship with its host freight railroads.

“He clearly understands both worlds, and he’s going to be in a position to try to get us all to a much better place,” Coscia said.

Carper Expresses Interest in Heading Amtrak

December 16, 2015

Speculation as to who will replace Amtrak President Joseph Boardman has begun with some industry analysts seeing the passenger railroad reaching out to the business world for a new chief.

Another possibility might be former Amtrak board member Tom Carper, who is now a U.S. senator from Delaware.

“I would like to be president of Amtrak,” he said. “I’ve wanted to have that job ever since I stepped down as governor in 1999. I was on the Amtrak board. I love trains. I have all my life. So I’m announcing my candidacy, not for president or vice president, not for anything else. I’m announcing my candidacy for Amtrak.”

The desire to see someone from the business sector appears to be rooted in a desire by some in Congress to see more competition to Amtrak from private companies.

A clause of the recently passed federal transportation bill would allow competition on certain long-distance routes.