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Union Pacific Railroad Employee Wins 2010 Hammond Award

John Kirwan Honored for Safety Contributions

Original Press Release Issued by Association of American Railroads

Washington, D.C., May 18, 2011 – As a safety leader and compelling agent of change, John Kirwan, a machinist with Union Pacific Railroad in Hinkle, Ore., today was named the 2010 winner of the Harold F. Hammond Award.  Under his leadership, Union Pacific's Hinkle facility has achieved more than 1,400 injury-free days in 2010 and a Federal Railroad Administration reportable injury rate of zero since January 2007, the equivalent of more than 1.7 million working employee hours.

In nominating him for the Hammond Award, Union Pacific Chairman, President and CEO Jim Young described Kirwan as a coach and mentor whose safety first attitude is contagious and inspirational to other employees.

The Harold F. Hammond Award was established in 1986 and honors an individual railroad employee who has demonstrated outstanding safety achievement during the preceding year.  It is named after the late Harold F. Hammond, former president of the Transportation Association of America, who served many years as chairman of the Harriman Awards selection committee.

Elected by his peers to lead the facility's safety efforts, Kirwan has worked hard to consistently raise the bar and create a culture of safety at the Hinkle facility.  As a Total Safety Culture facilitator, his enthusiasm, expertise and energy has helped to increased employee participation in the program from 33 percent to 96 percent over the course of two years.

Known for his innovative and proactive approach to safety, Kirwan developed the facility's "Smoke Detector Program" based on the concept that analysis of employee safety observations can help to address small problems before they become big ones.  He also has worked to implement a terminal-wide emergency alert system that will go online at the end of 2011. In addition, Mr. Kirwan actively participates in "LEAN" continuous improvement initiatives and in Hinkle's Critical 5 Team which establishes best-practice procedures for safe working habits.

In recognition of his efforts, Kirwan has been honored with the State of Oregon's Safety and Health Professional Award for outstanding achievement in workplace safety and health.  He has also been awarded a Washington State grant for leadership training, enabling almost 90 percent of the employees at the Hinkle facility to complete the training.

Kirwan's dedication to safety is not limited to work, believing that "health and fitness go hand-in-hand with safety."  He is an avid runner, competing in marathons throughout the region, and serves on the Umatilla Morrow County's Board of Directors, educating at-risk youth on the dangers of alcohol and drug addiction.

Seven other railroad employees were honored with Certificates of Commendation for their work in enhancing safety.  They are:

  • Nelson Beveridge, conductor for CN;
  • Claude Fields, machinist with Amtrak;
  • John Hebda, carman with CSX Transportation;
  • Jesse Jackson, section foreman with Kansas City Southern Railway;
  • Rick Spears, locomotive engineer for BNSF Railway;
  • Monty Wilkerson, locomotive engineer with Norfolk Southern Corp.; and
  • Bruce Wold, track inspector for Canadian Pacific.

About AAR

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is the world's leading railroad policy, research and technology organization focusing on the safety and productivity of rail carriers. AAR members include the major freight railroads of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Amtrak. Learn more at www.aar.org.

About Union Pacific

Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers and provides Americans with a fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly and safe mode of freight transportation. Union Pacific's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad emphasizes excellent customer service and offers competitive routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico.

AAR Contact: Holly Arthur, 202-639-2344, harthur@aar.org
Union Pacific Railroad Contact: Tom Lange, 402-544-3560, tomlange@up.com

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