Union Pacific Community Advisory Panel of Central Arkansas
Minutes of Meeting Nov. 18, 2010
Union Pacific’s Jenks Shop, North Little Rock, Arkansas
Community Representatives: Tim Atkinson (UCA); Paul Benham (Friday, Eldredge & Clark); Belinda Burney (Dark Hollow CDC); Steve Canady (NLR School District); K.C. Crowley (U.S. Department of Homeland Security); Rick Ezell (NLR OEM); Connie Fowler (NLR Health Dept.); Gary Franklin (Retired UPRR); Ruth Franklin (Retired Grainger Supply); Brad King (UALR); Janice Martin (Dark Hollow CDC); Shelia Maxwell (Faulkner County OEM); Cindy Milazzo (Retired UALR); Bob Mauldin (NLR Fire Dept.); Leonard Montgomery (LR Police); Joan Neal (FBI); Bob Ragsdale (Argenta Neighborhood Boosters); Nancy Sheehan (Capitol View/Stifft Station Neighborhood Association); Stuart Thomas (LR Police)
Union Pacific Representatives: Tom Franklin, Dana Swanson
Facilitator: Kathryn Matchett
Representatives of: Argenta Downtown Council; ADEM; ADH; Baring Cross Neighborhood Association; Capitol Starter; City of NLR; Conway Emergency Operations Center; Department of Veterans’ Affairs; Faulkner County Fire Dept.; LR Port Authority; MEMS; Operation Lifesaver; Pulaski County OEM; Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office; Pulaski Tech; ROCAN; U.S. Environmental Services; UAMS.
Community-at-Large Members: Emma Jane Ohnemus (Community Rep); John Ohnemus (Community Rep)
Welcome/Safety Announcement/Business Meeting
Welcome & Safety Announcement: Tom Franklin, Manager, Maintenance Operations, Locomotive Department, UP
Each panel member introduced himself/herself.
- The membership committee recommended including a representative of the mental health sector. Ginger Bailey, of Arkansas Crisis Response Team, will attend our January meeting.
Carey Woods is the new director of the NLR Health Department. She will be joining us in January, sharing a membership with Connie Fowler.
We are still working on getting a representative of the LR Fire Dept.
Each fall all members are asked if they would like to renew their memberships the following year. The following three people will not be continuing in 2011: Tom Brown (Brown’s Auto Upholstery); Faye Brown (NLR Police); and Tom Browne (FBI). Tom Browne has relocated to Washington, D.C.
Four organizations have not been represented at three consecutive meetings and, per the membership policies, have been contacted by Kathryn. The two that she has heard from would like to continue in 2011. They will be asked to send a colleague when they are unable to attend.
Kathryn asked members to sign up for 2011 committees. The following people volunteered:
- Membership: Steve Canady, Rick Ezell, Connie Fowler, Tom Franklin, Bob Mauldin, Shelia Maxwell
- Program: Paul Benton, Belinda Burney, K.C. Crowley, Ruth Franklin, Joan Neal, Dana Swanson
Kathryn briefly reviewed the 2010 Membership Survey Results. Thirty-six members completed the survey.
- 64.7% rated UPCAP as being “very useful.” 35.3% rated it as being “somewhat useful.” 0 rated it as “not useful”
- Best aspects of UPCAP: networking, information/resources provided, diversity of membership and great atmosphere.
- Recommendations for improvement in 2011: Most said “nothing.” A couple of people cited the need for better representation from the transportation department. Two mentioned a train ride. One person mentioned having fewer speakers so that members would have time to explore common problems/goals.
- The membership was divided on the issue of changing the meeting to lunchtime, with 41.2% voting for “either” and the remaining 58.9% divided between lunch and dinner.
- Respondents offered many suggestions for programs in 2011. Topics fell into the following categories: railroad operations, environmental health/safety, transportation planning and earthquake preparedness.
Joan Neal, Agent - FBI
In response to members’ requests to learn more about fellow panel members, Kathryn introduced a new element to the UPCAP meeting. During each meeting five minutes will be devoted to hearing from one of the panel members about his/her work. Members were encouraged to volunteer. Belinda Burney, of Dark Hollow CDC, volunteered for the January meeting.
Joan has been with the FBI for 20 years, 16 of those being in Kansas City working on a variety of violations. When there was an opening in foreign counter-intelligence in Arkansas she took it so she could be near family again.
She is on an interview panel for prospective agents and is a physical fitness advisor to them. She serves on an evidence response team at the national level.
She is the Domain Coordinator, a liaison between the FBI and critical infrastructure within Arkansas. Areas include counter terrorism, counter intelligence, cyber crimes, public corruption, white collar crime and violent crime.
She is the Coordinator of InfraGard, which is a venue in which private entities can exchange information among themselves and with the FBI. InfraGard’s mission is to provide a trusted forum for the exchange of knowledge, experience and information related to the protection of our nation’s critical infrastructure from both physical and cyber threats. Infragard Special Interest Groups include: agriculture, chemical and research and technology.
Joan encouraged members to contact her regarding the above programs; about the FBI’s Citizen’s Academy, which will be held in March; or anytime they observe suspicious activity and want to report it to the FBI.Her contact information is: 501-228-8472 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dana Swanson, Jenks Shop Director, UP
- Car loadings were at 167,000, up 6% from this time last year.
- 1,000 employees are still furloughed. The high was 5,300. The goal is to bring all of them back.
- The Jenks shop hired 45 new employees this year (21 started this week) and plans to hire in 2011.
- 71,000 freight cars and 910 locomotives are still stored.
- The service delivery index was at 84, which is a 30% increase over this time last year
Dana also shared an October letter from the Chairman of UP to all employees. Earnings for the first quarter were $1.4 billion – the highest ever recorded by a railroad. Contributing factors include:
- A national ad campaign, “You’ll find us.” Traditionally, UP has not advertised. This is helping get business back that was once lost to UPS.
- A push to standardize operations, which is allowing UP to better analyze processes, measure productivity and make changes to improve efficiency.
- A focus on building employee pride. Great service = growth = jobs.
Tom Franklin reported that a neighborhood group had contacted Kathryn about noise being made by UP engines. Tom sent them a response and invited them to tour the facility and observe the testing process. They will be coming on February 3. This is a good example of how UPCAP can serve as a liaison between UP and the community.
Planning for 2011
Members divided into small groups to discuss several questions given to them by Kathryn. Following the discussions a spokesperson from each group reported on the highlights and recommendations emerging from the discussions.
Icebreaker: After introducing themselves and their connection to/interest in UP, each person shared a common thing that they had never done. Gary Franklin won for never having eaten a peanut butter sandwich.
Lunch vs. Dinner Meeting
Each group then discussed the pros and cons of having a lunch or dinner UPCAP meeting. Kathryn had raised the possibility of a dinner meeting because the Transportation Department had indicated they would be able to send a representative to UPCAP meetings if they were held during the lunch hour. Three of the four small groups decided to keep the dinner meeting. The fourth group did not come to a conclusion. Reasons for keeping the dinner meeting included:
- Nearly 1/3 of the current membership indicated in the survey that they preferred a dinner meeting.
- The meetings are currently 1.5 hours. With travel time (and some members working in Conway), it was thought it would be difficult for some members to take that much time out of their work day.
- The members enjoy the relaxed nature of the meetings. Some stay afterwards and chat. A lunch meeting would not be as relaxed since people would have to hurry back to work.
Each group discussed their top two or three program ideas. They included:
- A railroad engineer’s perspective (mentioned by two groups)
- Earthquake preparedness (mentioned by two groups)
- Procedures following a derailment (mentioned by two groups)
- Transportation planning
- The railroad’s impact on downtown Argenta (meeting could be held in Argenta)
- Hear from neighborhood associations (what they want the railroad to know; questions they have for the railroad)
- L’Oreal/Maybelline’s safety/environmental health policies/procedures
- Police activity in area
- UP’s environmental impact
- Corps of Engineers – managing the river
- Civil air patrol and how it affects railroad and community
- Continue the “community spotlight”
- Speakers from UP – Omaha
- Continue rotating UP and community speakers
- Keep speakers to 45 minutes
- Keep Kathryn
Members were reminded of the next meeting on January 6. It was emphasized that this will be the first Thursday in January – rather than our usual third Thursday meeting. The speaker will be Todd Johnson, who will speak about UP’s Total Safety Culture (TSC). The community spotlight will be on Belinda Burney, who will discuss the partnership between UP and Dark Hollow Community Development Corporation.