What would you expect from a Buckaroo?
Since neither of us know each other personally, I'll give you my professional history and you can either believe me or not.
During my college years, I developed an interest in the railroad industry by riding passenger trains. This began in the pre-AMTRAK days of 1968.
I graduated in March 1972 with a BA degree in Political Science and a minor in depth in Geography.
In January 1973 I was offered a clerk's position with Milwaukee Road. I worked clerk's jobs in Winona, Mn, and LaCrosse and Madison, WI. After being laid off MILW, I worked outside the industry until taking an Assistant Trainmaster's position with RI in Iowa Falls, IA.
The Rock went down and took me with it. In 1986, I was on the start-up team for Dakota, Minnesota, and Eastern in Pierre, SD. I then worked as a Transportation Assistant (freight agent with expanded territory) in Pierre, SD for the next seven years. It was like being an Assistant Trainmaster. I was responsible for coordinating freight traffic on the west 250 miles of the railroad.
In 1993, a new company policy closed the agencies and consolidated operations into a customer service center. I worked there (Brookings SD) for a year, but was unhappy with the change. I found a position with an OmniTrax railroad in Borger TX and worked there until summer of 1998. While there, I became a locomotive engineer.
I was then offered a Supervisor of Locomotive Engineers position in New Albany, MS. This was a startup railroad owned by North American RailNet. I moved there in 1998 and worked there until 2003. In 2003, the holding company sold the railroad to another holding company. I did not want to work for the new company, and was offered a transfer to Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado Railnet in Grant, NE. I worked there as SLE until 2005, when our friends at Goldman-Sachs forced the sale of all RailNet railroads to the highest bidder, my old employer OmniTrax.
I found I could do better as a temp with a couple different temp firms. This was a great career move for me. It was very profitable and allowed me to gain experience in widely diverse areas of the country. My first assignment was Carolina Piedmont out of Laurens, SC. Then, my next assignment was Connecticut Southern out of East Hartford, CT.
My next temp assignment was Meridian and Bigbee out of Meridian, MS. I worked two job assignments with them, working mostly in Alabama.
My last assignment as a temp was with Nebraska Central, out of Grand Island, NE.
My fellow SLE from NKC was now managing a shortline in New Mexico. He wanted to hire me as an SLE. I worked there out of Deming. NM for several months in 2008. When the railroad slowed down due to a drop in copper prices, I took a transfer to Cimarron Valley RR out of Santanta, KS. When business picked up in NM in 2009, I went back to them. While there, I ran trains, worked as SLE, and as temporary Operations Manager. I quit when I had accumulated enough credits to retire. I had been working away from home since 2005, and two years straight in Deming.
So that is where I am coming from. I've been a model railroader since 1968. HO for the first 10 years, then N-scale since 1978.
I am now a Flotilla Commander in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. We have four facility boats and 14 members in our Flotilla. We are part of Division One, based in Colorado. In turn, we are a part of the US Coast Guard, a part of the Department of Homeland Security.
I really enjoyed being a railroader, but retired when I did because I felt I had spent enough time away from my family. The industry has been good enough to me that I do not have to work in my retirement. I enjoy telling about my experiences, and sharing them here. If you choose not to believe me, that's OK, too.
What's your background?