Railway Age: Collaboration for Progress and Growth


As I read the rail trade press and follow the commentary of industry thought leaders, I keep coming back to a very basic premise. There is no dispute on the path our industry needs to take for continued growth and prosperity. Put simply: service, safety and sustainability will drive more people and products to the railways. Technology will light that path, but I would insist that collaboration is the “secret sauce” needed to get us there.

I am a relative newcomer to the rail industry. With 30 years of experience in the trade association world, however, I’ve witnessed the possibilities that unfold when industries temporarily check their competitive tendencies at the door and work together for progress and growth. Don’t misunderstand me—competition drives innovation and is the hallmark of a strong industry. But there is another opportunity to effect real change and that is participating in your industry trade association.

Business trade associations have existed almost as long as industry. Many were formed in a hurry to address an emerging threat, but they have endured because companies understand that “the whole is always stronger than the parts.” A good trade association can improve business conditions for an entire industry and change an incorrect narrative whether it is being espoused by members of Congress, regulators, the media or the public. Remember “Got Milk?”

As the broader rail industry (railroads and suppliers), we need to recognize that our fates are closely tied. Sure, suppliers need a successful railroad system to prosper, but the railroads need a healthy and thriving supply chain to survive as well.

About the Railway Supply Institute (RSI)
The Railway Supply Institute (RSI) is dedicated to advancing safety, innovation, technology, and sustainability within the freight and passenger railway supplier industry, both in North America and global markets. As the voice of the industry, RSI strategically engages in critical and urgent industry matters by leveraging the technical expertise of our members to advocate in the legislative and regulatory arenas, foster education, host impactful events, and facilitate networking opportunities. For more information visit www.rsiweb.org, follow RSI on Twitter and LinkedIn

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