Keynote Speakers

Monday General Session

Leveraging her “Breakthrough Mentality” and “Get Gutsy” mindset, Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour propelled herself from beat cop to combat pilot in a record-breaking three years and became America’s First African American Female Combat Pilot. As featured on CNN, MSNBC, The View, FOX News, Oprah Winfrey and others, FlyGirl’s fresh, edgy style, high, contagious energy and unique, gutsy essence jump off the stage, page and screen and moves people to action. Since 2007, she has inspired countless organizations and individuals to make gutsy moves and create breakthrough results. 

Commanding corporate, STEM-centric and female executive and entrepreneur audiences across the globe, FlyGirl’s most requested keynotes, Zero to BreakthroughTM , One Mission, One Goal, One TeamTM, and Get Gutsy. Live Gutsy!TM, deliver messages that resonate: “You have permission to Engage;” “Take off from where you are;” “We win or lose together;” and “In order to succeed you gotta ‘Get Gutsy!’” 

A Tennessee native and graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, FlyGirl holds two honorary doctorates, was a Diversity Liaison Officer to the Pentagon for Headquarters Marine Corps and is a member of the COMCAST/NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Council. She has received numerous awards as a pioneering pilot, to include her commanding role in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). She was the Marine Corps’ first African American Female pilot, first African American woman on the Nashville Police Department’s motorcycle squad, a Camp Pendleton Female Athlete of the Year and two-time titleholder in their Strongest Warrior Competition, and a running back for the women’s pro football team, the San Diego ‘Sunfire.’ 

FlyGirl’s first signature book, Zero to BreakthroughTM, was released in 2011. 

FlyGirl is married and resides in the Atlanta, GA area. In 2015, she gave birth to “FlyBaby,” her gutsiest move yet!

Tuesday Annual Committee Chairs Luncheon

John C. Hellmann has been Chairman of the Board of Directors of Genesee & Wyoming since 2017 and Chief Executive Officer since 2007. He joined the company in 2000 as Chief Financial Officer. During his 19 years at G&W, the company has grown from 21 railroads to 120 railroads and grown from a market capitalization of $45 million to $6 billion. Previously, Mr. Hellmann worked in corporate finance at Lehman Brothers and Schroder & Co. in New York and also for Weyerhaeuser Co. in Tokyo and Beijing. Jack currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Association of American Railroads and is Chairman of the Board of Adelaide-based Genesee & Wyoming Australia, a 51%-49% joint venture with Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets.

Mr. Hellmann is a graduate of Princeton University and received an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) with a concentration in China Studies. He is married with three children and lives in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Wednesday Railway Industry Update

Anthony “Tony” B. Hatch was honored by being named the 2019 North American Rail Shippers Association (NARS) “Person of the Year”. 

Tony has been a Senior Transportation Analyst on Wall Street for over thirty years, starting at major financial institutions prior to starting his independent analyst/consultancy in 1999, working with research sales partners. Mr. Hatch's coverage has been focused on the freight transportation segment, particularly surface transportation. Mr. Hatch is known for his knowledge of the intermodal area, where the various modes of freight transport converge, on which he has held several dozen specialized conferences.

Mr. Hatch has been providing not only “traditional” yet independent institutional transport research but also providing “bespoke” research such as due diligence and other services to “new” players in transport investment such as private equity, infrastructure and activist and other hedge funds in such areas as intermodal, rail maintenance and construction, railcars and 3pls, as well as specific research for or concerning major railroads in North America as in Brazil, China, the UK, India, and especially Australia, in addition to working with various trade and government organizations, various other freight shipper and supplier organizations, and management consulting firms. He has also worked with an extensive list of private equity/infrastructure firms in the space, other here and globally.

Mr. Hatch, when directly on “the Street”, was named to various honor rolls, including the Institutional Investor (“II”) and Wall Street Journal All Star Teams and he has garnered the top spot in the prestigious Greenwich Poll. His career highlight has been testifying before Congress on railroads, starting in 1998, among other testimonies.

Mr. Hatch graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in American History in 1982. He lives in New York City, and enjoys baseball (watching LA Dodgers and playing), English soccer (Spurs) and History, US, Canadian & UK politics, and sports cars.