Railway Supply Institute Railway Supply Institute

The Railway Supply Institute (RSI) is the only all-inclusive trade association for railway suppliers. Representing over 200 companies, RSI acts on behalf of the smallest to the largest suppliers to North American freight and passenger railroads and their 150,000 employees. Industry segments include mechanical, communications & signaling, maintenance of way and passenger industries.

RSI introduces a series of educational sessions focused on leadership training at every level  and in all segments of  the rail industry. You will have a chance to hear from rail supply leaders about what it takes to succeed, understand what it takes to instill a safety culture at your organization, and gain important skills to have a crucial conversation when stakes are high both inside and outside of your workplace. You can review the full list of RSI educational sessions below.

Sunday, September 22

Making Washington Work for You: A Look at How Policy, Regulations, and Politics Affect Your Bottom Line

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Join us for a discussion on how federal legislation and regulation impacts your business and how RSI advocates for the rail supply industry. Representatives from Capitol Hill will update us on current events and how they may impact you and your customers.  Participants include:


  • Harrison Wadsworth, Director, Siemens Government Affairs


  • Fred Miller, General Counsel, Minority Staff, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
  • Jake Schwitzer, Managing Outreach Director, Senator Tina Smith (D-MN)
  • Bobby Benson, Advance & Outreach, Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN-6)
  • Mike Friedberg, Partner, Holland & Knight

Monday, September 23

Railway Interchange General Session and Keynote Speaker: Vernice Armour

11:45 AM – 1:00 PM

One Mission. One Goal. One Team. In Order to Succeed, You Gotta Get Gutsy!

Employee engagement, customer engagement, team engagement, relationship engagement. No matter what area an organization is strategically trying to improve, individuals have to be engaged and in action for the plan to move forward and succeed! The key is giving the permission to engage from the inside out. Once that happens, your entire organization will be thinking with a Breakthrough Mentality! You will hear how to:

  • Harness the power of a ‘Breakthrough Mentality’ mindset
  • Lead through mentorship
  • Leverage functional and individual diversity as a strategic advantage
  • Foster a culture of mutual respect for all team members
  • Create breakthroughs for teams with five simple steps

Safety Culture and Leadership Innovation: Lessons Learned the Hard Way

  • Part 1  2:45 PM – 3:30 PM
  • Part 2  3:45 PM – 4:30 PM

Speaker: Shae Birkey, Safety Advisor, Caterpillar Safety Services

The term “safety culture” is often overused and misunderstood.  Most companies hold safety as one of their values – something that represents who they are at the core.  However, leaders and employees often fail to demonstrate that value by their words and deeds.  Leaders mean well, but many do not understand what is required of them to achieve “zero harm” on a daily basis.  If safety is a value, all employees should be involved in creating and following clearly defined and understood expectations. There must also be an effective management system in place to ensure those expectations are being met by all members of the organization, just like production & quality.  When an organization truly embraces safety as a value, there are dividends paid in the forms of improved quality, profitability, and morale.  This presentation explores the various aspects associated with an effective safety culture.

Tuesday, September 24

RSI General Session – Rail Supply CEO Panel: Key Drivers of Success in Today’s Environment

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

This session will provide insights from senior rail supply executives on strategic trends, how government actions affect their business, and the knowledge, skills and abilities that employees need to be successful at their organizations.

  • Bill Furman, Chairman & CEO, The Greenbrier Companies, Inc.
  • John Wories, President, Amsted Rail Inc.
  • Ulisses Camilo, President & CEO, New York Air Brake
  • Moderator: Mike O’Malley, President, Railway Supply Institute

RSI General Session – Supplier Diversity Panel: Why the Rail Industry is Expanding its Supplier Diversity Programs and How to Get Involved

9:45 AM – 10:45 AM

This session will provide an overview of Class I railroads’ supplier diversity programs and information about how new diverse suppliers can apply to do business with them. Representatives from BNSF and Union Pacific – the nation’s two largest Class I railroads – will talk about their supplier diversity programs and why they are important to their respective companies. A representative from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) will also provide information on how potential or current suppliers to the railroad industry can become certified as women-owned businesses and leverage WBENC’s resources to identify new business opportunities.

  • Leigh Ann Vernon, Director, Strategic Sourcing and Supply, BNSF Railway
  • Wes Hutcherson, General Director, Strategic Sourcing, Union Pacific
  • Jillian Schneeberger, Senior Director- Marketing, Programs & Business Development, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

 Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High

  • Part 1 12:30 PM – 1:15 PM
  • Part 2 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM
  • Part 3  2:30 PM – 3:15 PM

Speaker: Mark Carpenter, Master Trainer, Vital Smarts

Crucial Conversations, based on the best-selling book of the same title,  teaches skills for creating alignment and agreement by fostering open dialogue around high-stakes, emotional or risky topics—at all levels of your organization. By learning how to speak and be heard (and encouraging others to do the same), you’ll surface the best ideas, make the highest quality decisions and then act on your decisions with unity and commitment.



Join RSI and colleagues from around the nation at the Minneapolis Convention Center, September 22-25, 2019 for the RSI Education & Technical Training Conference.

Questions about the RSI Education & Technical Conference? Email patrick@rsiweb.org.