NYA’s Amy Louk honored in “Women in Rail”

Amy Louk, manager of administration and marketing support for the New York & Atlantic Railway, has been named to Railway Age magazine’s fifth annual Women in Rail program, which recognizes 26 women for their accomplishments in the North American railroad industry.

As described by the magazine, Women in Rail recognizes women for “modeling leadership and railroading’s way forward for their peers, their companies, and the industry through collaboration and innovation.” Selections were made from among 100 applicants.

“I am honored to receive this award alongside other women in the rail industry,” said Louk. “I want to congratulate not only the honored women, but all the women in railroading. Railroading’s demographics are changing as more women enter an industry that was male dominated for many years.”

“It is a privilege to read the stories of women who use their power to support and develop others, and an honor to celebrate their impact,” said KellyAnne Gallagher, CEO of the Commuter Rail Coalition, who served as a program judge along with RailUSA LLC President and CEO Barbara Wilson, with contributions from the Railway Age staff.

New York & Atlantic Railway, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Anacostia Rail Holdings, offers freight service on 270 route miles of track owned by the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and began operations in May 1997.

Louk’s responsibilities at NY&A include managing day-to-day commercial relationships with other railroads and shippers; maintaining the railroad’s pricing matrix and making pricing decisions; overseeing compliance and monitoring of the company’s drug and alcohol program; managing local accounts payable; and auditing NY&A’s compliance with hours-of-service regulations.

Louk’s work wins high praise from Charles Samul, NY&A’s director of sales and marketing, who cites her ability to handle multiple, unrelated assignments.

“Amy is as close to a true multi-tasker as I have ever encountered,” said Samul. “She seems to be able to anticipate needs and fill them before the rest of us are even aware they exist – she reminds me of Radar O’Reilly from the MASH TV show. I will ask her about running a report, or about a rate quote in progress, only to find out she has already done it. She responds to rate requests with lightning speed, a fact not lost on our railroad associates and customer partners.

“She does this while presenting an optimistic and pleasant demeanor that has a great and positive influence on our busy and (at times) whirling dervish of a railroad. I think being the mother of two, very active sons has something to do with it.”

For Louk, every working day brings new challenges and opportunities. “I am honored that my colleagues think what I do is a significant achievement,” she said, “especially when compared to my peers in other railroads. I am looking forward to working alongside the women and men in railroading; everyone can make a difference, regardless of their title, in keeping our employees safe, working with the community, and fostering a better understanding of our industry.”

Samul adds that Amy is the second person in her family to be honored by Railway Age. Her sister Joy Chiu of PATH/PANYNJ received the Women in Rail award in 2017. “Greatness,” he notes, “runs in her family.”

In addition to her management duties, Louk serves as NY&A’s point person for community activities, including the selection of philanthropies the railroad supports. These include the Island Harvest Food Bank, Pronto Long Island food bank and thrift shop, Allied Veterans Memorial Committee of Ridgewood and Glendale, United Jewish Appeal, and a youth baseball team.

Amy Louk posing with NYA railcar