Amtrak's acting president?

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Saturday, July 30, 2016

An acquaintance of long standing, with a reputation for seldom being wrong, passed on an interesting tidbit just now that I’ll pass on to you. I’ve blogged a couple of times about people who might become (or ought to become) Amtrak’s next president. My colleague Don Phillips wrote a Trains Magazine column on this same subject. The months go by and still no decision, however. The incumbent CEO, Joe Boardman, plans to retire in September.

So this is the tidbit whispered in my ear: that Stephen Gardner, Amtrak’s executive vice president for Northeast Corridor development, may get an interim appointment, as acting president.

If only it were so. Stephen Gardner (never call him Steve) is both a lover of trains and someone steeped in the economics of U.S. passenger railroad economics. He knows the NEC as well as anyone, and has an appreciation for the national network. As a college student, he spent a summer as an apprentice on the Buckingham Branch Railroad, living with the family of the railroad’s president, Robert Bryant, on the Bryant family farm, and performing almost every imaginable task on that startup Virginia railroad.

So there, take it for what it’s worth. Even if he’s only a short-term stand-in for the eventual pick, the company would be in good hands. And remember, Boardman himself came to the job almost eight years ago, yes, as acting president.—Fred W. Frailey

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