Tuesday, September 19, 2017

AREMA hosts most diverse Meet the Next Generation panel

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Left to right: William Mikula, Justin Anderson, Blanca M. Obregón, Kyle Baker and Jonathan Warlof Left to right: William Mikula, Justin Anderson, Blanca M. Obregón, Kyle Baker and Jonathan Warlof

The American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) hosted the most diverse Meet the Next Generation Event panel at Railway Interchange. Five panelists from five different disciplines joined to answer questions from students interested to enter the industry.

The panel consisted of Justin Anderson, project development engineer at GeoStabilization International, Kyle Baker, director of bridge design and planning at Genesee & Wyoming Railroad Services, Inc., William Mikula, mechanical project engineer at Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, Blanca M. Obregón, rail team leader at TranSystems and Jonathan Warlof, signal supervisor at BNSF Railway. Years of experience on the panel ranged from two to 15 years.

It didn't surprise anyone that the biggest thing on most students' minds is figuring out how to get hired. While students did ask the panel some technical questions, most wanted advice for interviews, what to include on a resume and how to impress potential employers. AREMA President David Becker opened the panel, giving his advice, which rang true through the panel: Get involved and stay involved.

Panelists also encouraged students to show confidence, educate themselves on companies before they interview and have interesting hobbies in addition to their resumes. As far as some students' concerns regarding work-life balance as a railroader, Anderson offered this advice: "The lifestyle is easy if you love the industry."