The Joe Boardman-David Gunn summit

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Friday, August 22, 2014

In many respects, Joe Boardman couldn’t be less like David Gunn, his predecessor twice removed as president of Amtrak (there was a former Union Pacific vp between them, but he came and went before anyone bothered to ask his name). Boardman is skilled at maneuvering through the political jungles in Washington and getting along, having cut some teeth in the state politics of New York. Gunn is decidedly less adept at handling politicians, witness his blunt termination by the chairman of Amtrak’s board in 2006. Boardman is not a skilled speaker, Gunn much better at letting you know what’s on his mind. In fact, let’s just say that Gunn is outspoken to a fare-thee-well, his bluntness making him a favorite of we scribes.

Few realize that this odd couple have been friends for many years. I think there was a period a few years ago when their relationship was on hold, perhaps due to Gunn’s public criticism of Boardman’s administration of Amtrak (I stand guilty of spreading some of David’s acerbic remarks).

These days Gunn lives in his family home in Nova Scotia and amuses himself chopping wood to stay active in summer and warm in winter. My friend and former Amtrak marketing guru Ira Silverman visited Gunn this past week. And what should Gunn do but casually mention that Joe Boardman and his wife will be his guests for a couple of days soon.  

Wouldn’t we all like to be flies on the wall? The dishes cleared from the table, glasses of amber liquid in hand, what will they say to each other? What should they say? You tell me. — Fred W. Frailey

Tags: Amtrak
To leave a comment you must be a member of our community.
Login to your account now, or register for an account to start participating.
No one has commented yet.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy