Newly promoted Assistant Superintendent-Transportation Jordan Busson is focused on safely addressing the individual needs of the six Class I railroads that collectively own the Belt.
Viewing each carrier as a customer, Busson challenges the Belt’s employees to continuously be more efficient, noting, “What’s best for the carriers is best for BRC.”
Busson also pays close attention to the 50-plus industries that BRC directly serves, stating that the Belt’s employees are an extension of these businesses and are frequently called upon to deliver just-in-time freight — avoiding the proverbial “shutdown car.”
“Without the Belt being reliable, they can’t be reliable,” Busson said.
Adapting to carrier needs
In the last two years, the Belt began running 12,000-foot trains after previously never surpassing 8,000 feet in length.
“We’ve adapted really well,” Busson said, noting the longer trains have helped accommodate its carriers’ needs.
Busson says the operational change has required a cross-departmental effort and credits the employees overseen by Mechanical Superintendent Adam Brock and Assistant Superintendents-Mechanical Patrick McCarron and Bob Perham with “doing an outstanding job.”
Likewise, Busson appreciates the work performed by the Engineering Department’s employees under the leadership of individuals such as Chief Engineer Scott Schiemann and Roadmasters Anthony Balich, Jeff Mateyack and Roger Ochoa.
“They’ve performed a lot of work,” Busson said, noting that the team has to stay ready 24/7.
Busson said that each department shares the same vision and works toward achieving it together. Communication and planning ensure everyone is on the same page. He credits President Michael Grace with being the biggest factor in present-day cohesiveness.
Busson also thanks Superintendent Terry Hartwig for his hard work and leadership, noting, “Terry has been a great mentor to everyone on our team, especially me.”
Busson has driven the development and implementation of a new vision for the Belt.
“I’ll try anything to make the railroad better,” he said. “I like kicking around ideas and working with every department.”
Busson helped BRC switch to a new computer system used in daily operations. It was designed by BDO, a partner who’d never worked with a railroad before. To aid their efforts, Busson worked closely with the BDO team, Director of Business Technology Solutions Mike Martinez and Software Engineer Ismail Ismail to suggest upgrades such as priority settings that help streamline employee’s workload and boost efficiency. Inbound, power planning, inventory and reporting operations all have been enhanced.
“BDO and our IT Department have worked hard and done a great job fulfilling our team’s needs and continue to make strides,” Busson said.
Busson started his railroad career in 2014 as a CSX conductor for Willard, Ohio’s double hump yard.
“I’ve only worked at hump yards,” Busson said, noting he worked as a trainmaster at Canadian Pacific’s facility in St. Paul, Minnesota, before sequentially serving as a BRC trainmaster and terminal manager. Busson started his present role in February 2021 amid record snowfall.
“We prioritized and found a way to get things done,” he said.
Busson credits the Belt’s tight-knit nature for being a “huge contributor to safety.”
“I’m proud of being a railroader because of the people I work with,” he said. “Many of them grew up together. The relationships here are unlike anywhere else.”
I’ll try anything to make the railroad better. I like kicking around ideas and working with every department.— Assistant Superintendent-Transportation