Keynote Speakers

Monday General Session | August 29

General Session Sponsored by:
Lance M. Fritz
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Union Pacific 

Lance M. Fritz is Union Pacific chairman, president and chief executive officer. He became chairman of the board effective October 1, 2015. Fritz became president and chief executive officer February 5, 2015, when he also was elected to the corporation’s board of directors.

He previously served as president and chief operating officer of Union Pacific Railroad, a position he had held since February 2014, after serving as executive vice president-Operations and vice president-Labor Relations, respectively. He began his Union Pacific career in July 2000 as vice president and general manager-Energy in the company’s
Marketing and Sales department.

Before joining Union Pacific, Fritz worked for Fiskars Inc., Cooper Industries and General Electric. He is a graduate of Bucknell University and earned a master’s degree in management from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Fritz serves as a member of the board of directors of Parker-Hannifin Corporation. He is chair of the Business Roundtable trade and international committee, a member of the board of directors for the Association of American Railroads, the Business Council and the Georgia Institute of Technology president’s advisory board.

Fritz is deeply involved with organizations in his local community. He is a member of the board of directors for Nebraska Medicine and Omaha Zoological Society. He serves on the STRATCOM consultation committee and is the Omaha Business Ethics Alliance trustee chair.

Fritz and his wife, Julie, have two children and are committed to helping women and children at risk in the Omaha community.

Wednesday General Session | August 31


General Session Sponsored by : 
“Emerging Technologies” in every industry is occurring at a rapid speed.  AREMA will be highlighting a few of these in the technology arena.  Join us at AREMA’s Wednesday General Session to hear two prominent industry leaders call attention to a few of these Emerging Technologies.
Mike Swaney
Director, Advanced Energy Innovation
BNSF Railway

Mike Swaney is the Director of Advanced Energy Innovation at BNSF Railway.  He is responsible for the identification, evaluation, and adoption of zero and near-zero emissions technologies at BNSF.  Mike joined BNSF in 2006 and has served in various capacities across the organization including roles in Strategic Sourcing, Mechanical, Maintenance-of-Way, Operations Support, Technology Services and Environment & Sustainability.  Mike holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from Texas A&M University and a Master of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University.

Mike will will discuss battery electric and hydrogen locomotives, electric hostlers, and hybrid cranes.  As in many industries, BNSF Railway is focused on the environment and how these new technologies may replace current practices.  How these technologies are expanding not only at BNSF Railway but within the industry will also be addressed.  

Nalin Jain
Group President, Digital Electronics Business

Nalin Jain is Group President of Wabtec’s Digital Electronics Business, leading efforts to help railroads, shippers, miners, ports and terminals improve efficiency, unlock productivity and create pathways to automated operations while enabling safer operations. The comprehensive Digital Electronics portfolio consists of software applications and a broad selection of mission-critical controls systems, including Positive Train Control (PTC).

A native of India, Nalin brings nearly 30 years of commercial, product management and executive leadership experience, in rail, aerospace and infrastructure sectors, including over seven years in rail industry.

Preceding his current role, Nalin served as Group President of Wabtec’s Global Equipment business, leading Wabtec’s comprehensive global locomotive, mining, marine, stationary and drill portfolios. Prior to that role, Nalin led GE Transportation’s International business activities in key markets like APAC, China, Australia, Europe and Africa. He was responsible for expanding the business footprint and global capabilities across these regions. He previously served as CEO for GE Aviation and GE Transportation in South Asia. Prior to GE, he was Director Global Partnerships with Bombardier Inc. He began his career with the French engineered materials company Saint–Gobain occupying different positions of increasing responsibility.

Nalin has a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Surat and an MBA from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.

Nalin will discuss digitization of rail and will review three areas.  The Opportunity – The Railroad is complex, and despite technological advances, is still rich with opportunities for innovation.  Beneficiaries – Digitization of rail is multi-faceted in terms of the benefit.  When railroads operate more efficiently, the environment, shippers, and the railroads themselves benefit.  The Technologies – Tie innovation opportunities to technologies are capturing the headlines (AI, Machine Learning, Data Analytics).

Walter F. Bleser, II, PE
ARE Corporation

Walt Bleser, PE, currently serves as President of ARE Corporation and remains Principal of Unabridged Structures, LLC.  Prior to this role he was the President of SENSR Monitoring Technologies, LLC. He has over twenty years in the North American railway vertical working with every Class I railroad, major commuter railroad and several transit agencies. Named a Progressive Railroading Rising Stars Top 20 under 40 in 2013 and again an honorable mention by Railway Age for Top 20 under 40 in 2019. He has done everything from design and inspection of structures to implementing technology that makes railroads more efficient through the use of structural health monitoring systems and cloud based bridge asset management programs.  Walt is an active participant in AREMA, currently serving as a Director, Structures Functional Group on the Board of Directors.  He is the previous Chair of Committee 7, Timber Structures, and a subcommittee chairman of Committee 10, Structures Maintenance & Construction, aiding in the production of the organization’s Bridge Management Best Practices.

Walt will introduce and moderate this session.  

This program is subject to change