The Keynote speaker featured on the 4th Annual Railroad Night was Gil Carmichael, past administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, who now is senior chairman of the Intermodal Transportation Institute. His speech, "Railroad-Based 'Interstate II,'" addressed an "intermodal" strategy--using ship, rail and truck--to meet the North American transportation improvements for freight and passenger movement.
The approach, with a strong emphasis on railroads, represents the most economical, fuel-efficient and environmentally sustainable approach to transportation, Carmichael says.
He calls the strategy "Interstate II," as compared to "Interstate I," which is how he describes the four-lane highway system.
Carmichael was in the Federal Railroad Administration from 1989 to 1993. He also served on the board of Amtrak.
Representatives of Tech's Rail Transportation Program corporate partners attended, including Burlington, Northern & Santa Fe Railway; CSX Corpration; IBM; Norfolk Southern; Patrick Engineering; and Union Pacific, as well as University faculty and administrators and members of the Railroad Engineering and Activities Club (REAC). Ten Rail Companies attended the event.
Each company is looking for recruiting graduates across the majors.
Earlier in the day, representatives of industry and the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) met to discuss the potential for establishing a University Rail Center at Tech to provide opportunities for the University and industry to partner in education and hands-on research.
Michigan Tech's Rail Transportation Program is part of MTTI. It was established to nurture a growing interest in rail transportation by Michigan Tech students and faculty. The program is headed by Pasi Lautala, who established the Summer in Finland railway engineering partnership with Michigan Tech in 2004.
In addition to the Summer in Finland program, the University now offers three rail-related courses on campus: introduction to railroad engineering, track design and construction, and public transit planning and engineering.