Ohio Railroad Manager Wins Safety Award

An Ohio railroad manager has received the 2014 safety person of the year award from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

Billie Johnson, general manager of OmniTrax short lines Newburgh & South Shore Railroad and Northern Ohio & Western Railway, will be honoured at the ASLRRA convention in Orlando, Fla., this weekend.

Billie Johnson

Billie Johnson

Between 1995 and early 2015, Northern Ohio & Western had no Federal Railroad Administration  reportable derailments. It also went more than 663 days without a human factor incident and recorded more than 4,050 injury fee days.

During that same time period, Cleveland-based Newburgh & South Shore went more than 748  days since its last human factor incident, 5,210-plus days since the last reportable derailment, and more than 6,589 days since its last reportable injury.

“Billie continues to demonstrate the most outstanding safety achievements of any manager on our network of railroads,” said OmniTRAX CEO Kevin Shuba. “She is dedicated to safe operations and emphasizes initiatives that improve associate safety in the workplace. I can’t think of a more deserving recipient of the ASLRRA Safety Person of the Year award.”

“In the 18 years I’ve spent working with Billie, she has always been a source of honesty and knowledge,” said OmniTRAX Vice President of Operations Bob Ellman. “She is willing to help where needed and is a vital member of our leadership team. The fact that she has never had any type of workplace injury, much less an FRA reportable injury, shows her dedication to safe operations.”

“In the year I have worked with Billie it has been very evident that her determination to develop her properties and employees to be the safest in the industry is extraordinary,” said OmniTRAX Vice President of Safety Bill Kelly. “She treats her team members like they are family, and it shows in her results.”

Johnson began her railroad career as a keypunch operator at the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad in 1969 before being promoted to terminal manager.

In 1981, she joined the Chicago Rail Link Railroad and in 1991 transferred to the Newburgh & South Shore, working as a clerk, conductor, and certified engineer.

She became the general manager of the Northern Ohio & Western in 1995 and later added oversight of the Newburgh & South Shore to her duties.

A long time member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Tiffin, Johnson as a volunteer has been instrumental in organizing the church’s annual festival as well as other activities.

She has also served as a member of the Tiffin Economic Development Board.

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