2017 Summit
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Registration Opens 7:15 AM Program Starts 7:40 AM
Union League Club
6th floor, 65 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago
Closing Reception 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM 

A Promising Future at the 2017 Summit! 

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Ticket Prices

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Registration is non-refundable although you can change the name of a registered attendee. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are vegetarian or have special dietary restrictions by May 27, 2017.

The Club requests all participants to respect their dress code (business attire, coat and tie preferred, no sandals, tennis shoes, jeans, and collarless shirts.).

Featured Keynote Speakers: 

Keynote Mike Toohey


Morning Keynote Session
Mike Toohey
President & CEO
Waterways Council, Inc. 


Under Mike Toohey’s leadership, the Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI), a national public policy organization, continues to deliver practical, successful results regarding the operations, maintenance, rehabilitation, and modernization of our inland waterways’ locks and dams. WCI has successfully established a broad-based coalition from shippers to carriers, to organized labor, and to other organizations. Their broad support network has effectively produced essential legislation, like the 20-year capital development plan, that helps provide a reliable, cost-effective inland waterways transportation system.

Learn why NESP is essential
in the video "NESP Now!"

click or tap video

NESP Now video

Learn the critical role waterways play in
the video "Waterways Deliver"
click or tap video

Waterways Council Waterways Deliver Video

  Keynote Peter Gilbertson   Morning Keynote Session
Peter Gilbertson
Founder & CEO 
Anacostia & Pacific Company
Anacostia Rail Holdings, Inc.

Peter Gilbertson oversees six freight Short Line Railroads on both coasts and in the Greater Midwest. Anacostia provides customers with neutral access to the larger Class 1 railroads and also includes car switching for intermodal terminals and various industries, track maintenance and repair, freight trans-loading, and train dispatching. Anacostia freight railroads are known for their customer service and safety record. Anacostia freight railroads have received numerous Jake awards from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association recognizing their outstanding safety performances.

2017 Keynote BrandyChristian small

Morning Keynote Session
Brandy Christian
President & CEO
Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA)

The port of New Orleans serves as a nexus for transportation with six class one railroads, numerous ocean carriers, multiple barge lines, and many trucking companies. Brandy Christian will highlight existing and new opportunities the port delivers for companies doing business in the transportation sector.  The New Orleans Public Belt Railroad runs along the riverfront and inner harbor connecting the Class Ones providing a 133,000 mile rail network that delivers cargo to customers.


When Katrina ravished New Orleans, The Kearney Companies, one of the largest 3PL’s in the Gulf South, led the rebuilding of the port and the local economy on every level. The Kearney Companies operate more than 700,000 sq. ft. of rail-served warehouse capacity and 45+ acres of yard capacity in the New Orleans area proving international freight forwarding, import customs house brokerage, commodity warehousing, and retail deconsolidation.

2017 Keynote Robert Martinez 250
Morning Keynote Session
Dr. Robert E. Martinez 
Vice President
Business Development and Real Estate 
Norfolk Southern Corporation

Dr. Robert E. Martinez focuses on growing the NS revenue base and supporting capital projects, including corridor development efforts that are intended to grow the franchise. Their intermodal growth (excluding the impact of the Triple Crown restructure) exceeded all other Class I rails as well as long haul trucking. The NS focus on long-term value creation has led to a $1.9 billion capital improvement spend for 2017. In addition, NS is introducing productivity initiatives designed to produce $650 million in productivity savings annually by the year 2020.

2017 Keynote Maynard J. "Sandy" Sanders
Morning Keynote Session

General Maynard J. "Sandy" Sanders
Executive Director
Plaquemines Port, Harbor & Terminal District 

General “Sandy” Sanders was a two-star, multi-awarded General prior to retiring and entering the private sector. Plaquemines is the closest port to the Gulf of Mexico. Their terminal development is centered on Pointe Celeste along the Mississippi River between miles 50 and 55. Venture Global is developing an $8.5 billion LNG processing facility at Pointe Celeste. Plaquemines’ jurisdiction begins at the jettys, the point where the Mississippi enters the Gulf, and extends north for nearly a 100 miles on both sides of the Mississippi.

2017 Keynote ClaytonHarris   Morning Keynote Session
Clayton Harris III
Executive Director
Illinois International Port District
Port of Chicago
Clayton K. Harris III is responsible for the resurgence of the Illinois International Port District, the Port of Chicago, our country’s 4th Coast. Operating 12 months a year, the Port of Chicago handles freight from Lake Michigan, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and has the added advantage of transporting freight on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. More than 40% of the Port’s current cargo is handled by barge. As a multimodal port, it links the inland river system and the Great Lakes to the global market offering easy access to six Class One railroads and two international airports with immediate access to five major interstate highways.

2017 Keynote JohnMiller small
Luncheon Keynote
John H. Miller
Group Vice President, Agricultural Products 
BNSF Railway

John H. Miller leads BNSF's agricultural success.  BNSF, the largest Class One hauler of agricultural products in the US, originates an agricultural carload every 32 seconds hauling more than 25% of all agricultural products moves by Class One railroads. One intermodal train can take 280 trucks off highways – the equivalent of 1,100 cars. BNSF lifts about 15 trailers and containers a minute, every minute, every day. In 2016, nearly five million intermodal shipments (truck trailers or containers) were transported on BNSF’s rail lines instead of on the nation’s congested highways.

2017 Keynote JohnVickerman Afternoon Keynote Session
John Vickerman
President & CEO 
Vickerman & Associates, LLC

John Vickerman is a licensed architect and engineer in 21 states. Vickerman & Associates brings broad-based experience and profound expertise in strategic planning with ports and waterways especially with a railroad focus. As an intermodal and port expert, Vickerman has worked with 67 of the 90 deep water general cargo ports in North America and with the railroads (Class Ones, Regional, and Short Lines). He will provide a practical perspective on the impact of the projected increase in freight traffic and the opportunities associated with it.


Illinois International Port District
Port of Chicago
Clayton K. Harris III, Executive Director of the Port of Chicago, will moderate a panel of the port’s customers and tenants who will address the opportunities the revitalized Port of Chicago offers. As a multi-modal port with easy access to six Class One Railroads, two international airports, and six interstate highways, the port also has the advantage of the inland waterways, Lake Michigan, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. More than 40% of the cargo is transported on barges on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.

ICGA noweb
Illinois Corn Growers Association
Rodney Weinzer, Executive Director of the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA), vice Chairman of the Waterways council, Inc. (WCI), and a farmer, will address current issues and challenges for corn, the infrastructure, and agriculture. The U.S. ranks #1 in corn production with 14% of the yield being exported. Of the 41 states producing and harvesting corn, Illinois and Iowa clearly dominate. Each state harvested  more than two billion bushels in 2016. Corn, an essential commodity, is used for human and animal consumption as well as in numerous food products and additives.

cross lake shipping

Cross Lake Shipping Leslie G. Brand III, CEO of Supply Chain Solutions (SCS), will moderate a panel of shippers, government and port officials, and business leaders who will discuss the importance of this new, scheduled freight service on Lake Michigan between the Ports of Milwaukee and Muskegon as well as initial on demand service with other Lake Michigan ports such as the port of Chicago. Brand has spearheaded this dynamic new freight project with Jon Van Wylen, Director of Operations for Eco Ships. SCS has responsibilities for customer service, freight forwarding, and marketing for Eco Ships.

Fletcher & Sippel LLC
Attorneys Thomas J. Litwiler and Robert A. wimbish from Fletcher & Sippel will present the basics fo freight rail service.  Fletcher & sipple focuses its legal practice on transportation- based issues with unique expertise in the railroad industry. The firm represents Class I, Regional, and Short Line Railroads, inland and ocean ports with or without rail service. Their services range from commercial transactions to specialized contracts such as trackage rights agreements or port or rail facility management agreements. They are nationally known for general strategic planning regarding the practical and legal ramifications of maintaining and growing business in the transportation market.


save the date for the rail summit 2016

Join us for The 2017 Rail Summit Chain Summit, “Making Money With Intermodal”,  June 14, 2017, Union League Club, Chicago, IL


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