Railinc Tracks Blog

Railinc tracks are everywhere although you don't always see them. The Railinc Tracks blog reveals them one at a time and shows you how we help to keep railroads, railcars and rail shipments moving across America. The blog is staffed by the Railinc Corporate Communication team and will give you news and insights about our company, our people and our products.

Entries with tag awards .

Railinc's Smemoe Named Rail Industry Rising Star

Railinc Director of Application Engineering and PMO Joan Smemoe has been recognized as a 2018 Rising Star by Progressive Railroading magazine.

The award recognizes individuals under the age of 40 who have made, or are making, a positive impact on their company, organization, department or team, and are viewed by others — peers, colleagues, supervisors, clients or associates — as up-and-coming leaders in the rail industry.

As Railinc’s No. 2 technology officer and a member of the executive management team, Smemoe helps to create the vision, shape the strategy, provide leadership and drive the success of Railinc’s IT operations. She leads the company’s software development and applications engineering across all product groups, guiding more than 100 IT professionals who are responsible for dozens of essential applications that help to keep the North American freight-rail network moving.

Smemoe’s technology leadership and expertise have been integral to the success and impact of Railinc technology solutions and initiatives. These include

  • The AskRail mobile application, which helps to ensure that emergency responders have access to accurate, timely information about railcars carrying hazardous materials when they arrive at the scene of a rail emergency.

  • The Gateway Operations Services program, which is developing traffic management solutions for major rail gateways with a focus on the Chicago Terminal.

  • The Component Registry, which supports the tracking of rail equipment health.

Smemoe, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from the University of Missouri-Columbia, joined Railinc in 2006 as a senior software engineer. She has shown progressive growth, moving into leadership roles such as project manager, senior manager and director that have enabled her to shape Railinc technologies that are critical to freight rail industry operations in North America.

Smemoe and the other 2018 Progressive Railroading Rising Stars will be recognized at a dinner in Chicago on July 22. Click here to see a complete list of winners.

Railinc's Parker Named Supply Chain Pro to Know

Railinc Vice President of Operations Yates Parker has been recognized as a 2018 supply chain executive “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine. The award honors individuals from software firms and service providers, consultancies and academia who have helped their supply chain clients or the supply chain community at large prepare to meet the significant challenges of today’s business climate.

Parker was selected for the award from over 300 entrants and was recognized in the March 2018 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine.

Click here to see all the winners.

“We commend this year’s recipients for their achievements in supply chain and for paving the way for the next generation of exceptional supply chain leaders,” said John Yuva, editor of Supply & Demand Chain Executive. ”This year’s recipients embody the commitment to transformative supply chain tools and processes, earning these individuals a rightful place in this year’s Pros to Know listing.”

Parker manages Railinc’s commercial business unit, which includes tracing, reporting, messaging, and research and development product families, as well as oversees the company’s customer experience operations. He and his teams work with Class I railroads and other freight rail industry partners to identify, develop and refine technology solutions to address some of the industry’s biggest operational challenges.

Parker joined Railinc in 2008 as vice president and chief financial officer and added customer experience to his responsibilities in 2014. He has been in his current role since early 2017.

Parker earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting and business management from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in business administration from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A certified public accountant, Parker was named CFO of the Year by the Triangle Business Journal in 2010.
 

About Supply & Demand Chain Executive
Supply & Demand Chain Executive is the executive's user manual for successful supply and demand chain transformation, utilizing hard-hitting analysis, viewpoints and unbiased case studies to steer executives and supply management professionals through the complicated, yet critical, world of supply and demand chain enablement to gain competitive advantage. Learn more at www.sdcexec.com.

Railinc Named a Top Software, Tech Provider

Railinc has been named by Food Logistics as one of the FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers for 2017. The publication provides an annual list that serves as a resource guide of software and technology providers whose products and services are critical for companies in the global food and beverage supply chain.

“New developments and innovations in the software and technology sector are making sizeable impacts on the global food supply chain,” said Lara L. Sowinski, editorial director for Food Logistics and its sister publication, Supply & Demand Chain Executive. “The result is greater visibility, improved regulatory compliance, enhanced shelf life for perishables, and the emergence of a more proactive and nimble food supply chain that benefits both the food industry and its logistics partners, as well as the end consumer.”

Railinc’s RailSight suite of applications gives customers – including those in the global food supply chain – complete rail shipment visibility and equipment management data delivered to their desktop or via a TMS solution. Our data products and technology systems are deeply embedded in the North American freight rail network. We also manage widely-used industry databases, build critical software applications and provide essential business intelligence services supporting the freight rail industry.

“We are excited to be recognized by Food Logistics,” said Chuck Hieronymi, director of business solutions. “Our RailSight solutions provide unmatched, near real-time rail shipment tracking data, cloud-hosted dashboards and mapping tools, and reporting and analytics services to help our customers improve operations, customer service, safety and efficiency. And we are continuing to enhance our technology with API connectivity as we increase the breadth and depth of shipment data available to our customers.”

Railinc appears in the November/December 2017 issue of Food Logistics, as well as online at www.foodlogistics.com, as one of 2017’s FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers.
 

About Food Logistics
Food Logistics
is published by AC Business Media, a business-to-business media company that provides targeted content and comprehensive, integrated advertising and promotion opportunities for some of the world’s most recognized B2B brands. Its diverse portfolio serves the construction, logistics, supply chain and other industries with print, digital and custom products, events and social media.

—Railinc Corporate Communications

Railinc Wins NCTA Business Value Award

Railinc has been recognized as winner of the 2017 Business Value Award at the NC Tech Awards, the largest and most prestigious statewide technology awards program. Presented annually by the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA), the awards honor the companies and individuals who represent the best and brightest in technology and business in North Carolina.

This is the first time Railinc has won the Business Value award. Railinc was named Industry-Driven Company of the Year in 2016.

“It’s an honor to be recognized among such an impressive group of technology companies and leaders,” said Allen West, Railinc president and CEO. “This award underscores the important work our people do to support the freight rail industry and the value they deliver to customers every day through our products and services.”

Railinc’s nomination highlighted the company’s asset health work, the AskRail mobile application and its efforts to support freight rail operations in the Chicago Terminal, the busiest rail terminal in North America.

“Since 1995, the NC Tech Awards has honored excellence and innovation throughout North Carolina, representing the best and brightest,” said Brooks Raiford, NCTA president and CEO. “As a winner, Railinc has distinguished itself as a peer-leader, and we are proud to recognize them as a 2017 NC Tech Awards winner.”

Railinc’s CIO, Jerry Traynham, was also recognized as 2017 Private Sector CIO of the Year at the event. Click here to read a Q&A with Traynham.

You can see the complete list of award recipients here. Winners were recognized at NCTA’s annual awards gala on November 9 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Durham.

—Railinc Corporate Communications

Railinc's Traynham Named CIO of the Year

Railinc’s Jerry Traynham has been named Private Sector CIO of the Year for 2017 by the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA). Jerry manages Railinc’s complex technology environment, providing vision and leadership for the company’s data, product development and information systems platforms. He joined Railinc in 2005 and has led a number of significant technology projects, including the technical reengineering of the Umler® system, a foundational application for the North American freight rail industry.

A graduate of Clemson University, Jerry has worked nearly 40 years in technology. He has held leadership and management positions with Lucent Technologies, AT&T, Bell Labs and Blue Shoe Technologies, where he led development efforts on applications for the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency and others.

Jerry talks about his career, technology and Railinc below.

Railinc CIO Jerry Traynham with Joan Smemoe, director of application engineering
Railinc CIO Jerry Traynham, right, with Joan Smemoe, director of application engineering

 

How did you get into technology and software?
I had a strong affinity for mathematics and engineering in high school. My dad was an engineering supervisor, and we had a machine shop on our property. As a kid, I was doing a lot of mechanical design, building go-karts. When I went to college, there wasn’t a computer science curriculum, so I pursued an electrical engineering degree, which encompassed computer science. After graduation, I went to work at Bell Labs as a systems engineer of radars for the Department of Defense.

The systems engineers designed and integrated the hardware, but we also worked with the software teams. I was drawn to the software side and transferred to a business unit where they were developing the UNIX system and software apps for the telephone industry. I worked shoulder to shoulder with some of the first UNIX developers and rose to project manager for the Trunks Integrated Record Keeping System (TIRKS), a telecom operations support system that’s still in use today. Creating this highly complex, critical industry system was when I really became focused on software engineering.
 

What do you like about working in technology and at Railinc?
I’ve always liked creating products that provide value and solve important problems. That was my attraction to Railinc. Our products touch the entire lifecycle of a train, and we use a lot of leading-edge technologies here, which is exciting for me and our engineers. We have tremendous breadth and depth for a company of about 300 people, particularly from an architecture, technology stack and design perspective.

Being a centralized hub for the North American freight rail industry, we maintain a wide range of apps that includes everything from financial exchanges to apps that help in the design of a railcar. Before I joined the company, I was doing work for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense on some interesting, high-tech applications. I’m drawn to building things that add value. If I’m not able to do that, I’m not going to be particularly interested in the work.
 

What are the biggest technology challenges Railinc faces today?
One of Railinc’s greatest challenges is managing technology refresh. The rate of technology change continues to accelerate, supporting new use cases, and we work hard to stay ahead. One area we’re presently looking at is mobility, where we don’t have much of a presence today. Because of safety, there has been a concern around using mobile devices in railyards. But today, it’s possible to have in the palm of your hand devices that can enable you to perform business processes and analytics wherever you are, and our customers are adapting operational processes to take advantage of these capabilities.

Another area of challenge and opportunity is big data. There’s opportunity for us in both analysis and management of data. We’re a data hub for the industry, and we have enormous feeds of data coming in. The railroads are fielding sensor systems around North America that are capable of sending data to Railinc. I don’t believe many people fully realize the power or the growth of that data yet. The challenge is to continue to provide the technology, tools and expertise to enable that data to better serve the freight rail industry.
 

How do you approach strategic planning for the IT group?
It’s important for us to understand what the strategic plan is from the business team. We work to make sure that our IT strategy aligns with Railinc’s business strategy. Some strategic areas are more IT-centric and focus on IT workflows and processes. One example is security. It’s a top priority for our Board of Directors, and we have made significant investments in our security program the last two years. It’s the kind of investment that isn’t apparent to our end users, but our strategy is to have a security program in place that keeps all our business processes running and all our data secure and protected. I have quite a bit of experience in cybersecurity during my career and have seen the benefit of having a strong security program and what happens when you don’t.

Another important part of our strategy is staying current in our technology stack while at the same time reducing operational costs. It’s a continual challenge to maintain that balance. We look for open source options where possible. With the rapid advent of new technologies, we’re able to transition from good, expensive, proprietary solutions to good, open source solutions that may be easier to operate and maintain and that help us reduce costs.
 

What advice would you give to someone starting out in IT today?
I don’t think the size of the company you start at is that important as long as you have the opportunity to develop or enhance software systems. For most IT people today there are going to be the operations, support and maintenance aspects of the assignments. Finding the opportunity to work in product development or in the integration and support of underlying technologies is key because these enable you to grow professionally.

Also, it’s important to work on teams where you can realize mentoring, both in development techniques and quality processes. At Railinc, we are very supportive of our IT staff’s continued learning and professional advancement. We also emphasize mentoring here, especially from technical and software engineering process perspectives. All software engineers, from development to infrastructure, must stay current with technology changes by connecting with your peers and reading and experimenting as much as you can.
 

North Carolina's only statewide technology awards program, NCTA’s annual NC Tech Awards recognizes companies and individuals who have characterized excellence, innovation and leadership. Railinc was also named a finalist in the Mid-Size Company of the Year and the Business Value categories. Jerry will be recognized and the winners in the company categories will be announced at the NC Tech Awards Gala on Thursday, November 9.

—Railinc Corporate Communications

 
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