Peter Oliver, director of transportation at New York & Atlantic Railway (NYA), is the winner of the 2019 Ones to Watch award from the American Association of Railroad Superintendents (AARS), given as part of its annual Lantern Awards series.
New York & Atlantic Railway, a subsidiary of Anacostia Rail Holdings, operates on 270 route miles of track owned by the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and began freight service in May 1997. Oliver joined NYA in 2016 after 10 years in the industry with Norfolk Southern and the Union Railroad.
“I’m very appreciative of everyone at Anacostia for nominating me for this award,” says Oliver. “I’ve had great mentors the whole way through my career, including at Anacostia. They all encouraged me to grow professionally.”
The AARS describes the winner as a person in railroad management who, “through his or her management style and achievements, is considered to have contributed to the success of his or her railroad and is expected to continue to provide valuable industry leadership.”
That leadership quality is underscored by NYA President James Bonner, especially for Oliver’s work in meeting the challenge of integrating NYA operations with that of its partner, Long Island Rail Road, one of the busiest commuter lines in the world, originating more than 700 daily trains.
“From the moment he set foot at NYA, Pete worked to completely absorb every aspect of our operation,” says Bonner. “LIRR rules are dissimilar from many operations and require an immense amount of rote memorization, knowledge of physical plant, and an understanding of the complex network of signals and switches utilized by the commuter authority. Pete set about ensuring 100 percent rules compliance for his peers and subordinates. He gained the respect of internal and external stakeholders alike.”
Thomas A. Leopold, Anacostia’s chief safety and compliance officer, noted Oliver’s dedication to safety. “Peter upgraded the NYA transportation and training programs, created more robust accountability for operational testing, and enhanced NYA’s regulatory reporting documentation and practices,” says Leopold. “He’s earned the respect of his colleagues for his passion for safety and his care for others.”
The Lantern Awards will be presented July 23 at the AARS 123rd annual meeting in Norfolk, Va. The AARS traces its history back to a predecessor organization formed in 1881. The association continues to provide educational and networking opportunities for people involved in railroad operations management.