Finance & Administration Education:

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 1:00pm - 5:00pm

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Marijuana State Laws and Federal Law Impacting Railroads and Safety Sensitive Employees
Tracey Donesky, Partner, Stinson, Leonard & Street, LLP
Bobbi Allen, Director, Human Resources, Iowa Interstate Railways, Ltd

2:05 pm – 2:50 pm
Performance Management Styles and Techniques
Chloé Pedersen, Attorney, Fletcher & Sippel LLC
The widely predicted revolution in performance management, which was supposed to essentially eliminate the use of annual performance appraisals and rating scales, has yet to materialize. Join us for a discussion on the various ways organizations have addressed the issue. You'll gain some useful tips on how best to engage in performance conversations, implement coaching to supplement formal appraisals, and how to empower your team so they are self-motivated and self-driven to yield productive results.

2:50 pm – 3:20

3:20 pm – 4:05 pm
HR Hot Topics – Ask the Professionals
HR Committee Chair, Tracey Donesky, Partner, Stinson, Leonard & Street, LLP
HR Committee Vice Chair, Chloé Pedersen, Attorney, Fletcher & Sippel LLC
Bobbi Allen, Director of Human Resources, Iowa Interstate Railroad, Ltd.
Members of ASLRRA’s HR Committee
Join members of ASLRRA’s Human Resources Committee for an interactive discussion about HR issues, questions and concerns. Attendees will have an opportunity to submit written questions in advance and/or pose them live during the session, then engage and learn from fellow HR professionals about best practices and how to address some of the industry’s most troublesome and challenging HR issues.

4:10 pm – 5:00 pm
Working with the RRB: Where to Go and Who to Ask
Natasha Marx, Assistant to the Management Member, Railroad Retirement Board;
Andrea Malter, Sr. VP of Human Resources, OmniTrax, Inc.
Laretta M. Earls-Rozelle, Supervisory Analyst, US Railroad Retirement Board
Join representatives from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) for a presentation and discussion on how and who to contact with questions concerning employee reporting. RRB will also provide overview of the RRB’s Employer Reporting System, ERS online. We’ll discuss complicated issues and attendees are welcome to bring questions and participate in Q&A.

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10, 7:30 am – 1:00 pm

7:30 am – 8:00 am

8:00 am – 9:00 am
Sales & Use Tax – Supreme Court Rulings have made it even more complicated for Short Lines
Michael Fralix, CPA, Bowers & Company, CPAs PLLC
Sales and use tax laws are complicated. Currently 45 states and thousands of local jurisdictions impose such taxes. To add to this complexity, each state and local jurisdiction have different laws and regulations defining what products and services are taxable. These challenges have been further complicated by the new economic nexus rules resulting from the U.S. Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair. In this session we will review the sales tax exposure that the majority of Short Line Railroads will face, and review what alternatives they have to ensure compliance.

9:05 am – 9:55 am
The Financial Health of the Railroad Retirement System and 401k Updates
Robert Perbohner, Counsel to the Management Member, Railroad Retirement Board;
Robert Auditore, VP and Financial Advisor, CapTrust;
Barry McClure, Executive VP, Ironhorse Resources, Inc.
Join us for a discussion focusing on retirement planning from a railroader’s point of view. Representatives from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) will discuss published actuarial reports and the overall health of the RRB trust funds administered by the National Railroad Retirement Trust, as well as current employment and other factors. We’ll also hear from a professional financial planner about the latest 401k retirement plans news, updates and issues. Attendees will have an opportunity to participate in facilitated Q&A throughout the session.

10:00 am – 10:30 am

10:25 am – 11:10 am
Economic Update
Dan Keen, Assistant Vice President-Economic and Policy Analysis, Association of American Railroads
In this session, we’ll discuss what’s going on with the overall economy and key subsectors; what’s going on with rail traffic; and how they are related. And while it’s impossible to know for sure what the economy will do in the future, we’ll peer into our crystal ball to see what the next year or two might bring.

11:15am – 12:00am
Interest Rates, Deposit Rates, and Fed Policy – What They Mean to the Railroad Industry
Peter Rode, Senior Vice President, US Bank
Join us for a discussion exploring historical interest rates, changing sentiment, general economics surrounding and influencing fed policy, rate expectations going forward, and an analysis of how these things impact borrowers and their decisions to manage interest rate risk.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Finance & Administration Seminar and General Counsel Symposium Attendees

General Counsel Symposium Education:

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10, 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Finance & Administration Seminar and General Counsel Symposium Attendees

1:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Opening Announcements and Tribute to John Hefner
John Lord, Partner, Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice LLC and Rob Wimbish, Attorney, Fletcher & Sippel, LLC

1:15 pm – 2:00 pm
Emerging Cybersecurity Threats: Measures to Keep Risk Between the Rails
Sean B. Hoar, Partner, Lewis Brisbois
Malicious hackers continue to wreak havoc in all business sectors, stealing sensitive data, affecting operating systems, and extorting millions of dollars from businesses on a daily basis. This presentation will review emerging online threats affecting the transportation industry, including associated costs, regulatory developments, and risk mitigation strategies. It will also discuss the ethical obligations of general counsel when their firms or clients have to respond to data security incidents, and new developments involving privacy legislation that will affect their responsibilities. If you are concerned about reducing the impact of a data security incident on your firm and your clients, you won’t want to miss this presentation.

2:05 pm – 2:55 pm
Making Science Great Again
Joseph P. McKay, Attorney, Friday Eldredge & Clark LLP
Session will discuss a recent medical study published in July 2019 concluding that track maintenance work causes cumulative trauma injuries. The presentation will hi-light the weaknesses of the study and discuss methods for dealing with it at trial. The presentation will also include a discussion on the potential impact of the study.

2:55 pm – 3:20 pm

3:20 pm – 4:10 pm
Hot Topics for Insurance for Railroads
John P. Durante, Senior Vice President, Marsh Global Rail Practice
Changes in the Global Insurance Market will be discussed. Insurance and risk management issues for railroad due diligence on M&A activity, changes in commercial auto insurance, and insurance limits for PTC implementation will also be discussed.

4:15 pm – 5:00 pm
HR 2019 Update
Tracey H. Donesky, Partner, Stinson LLP
Many changes and developments are occurring in employment law. This session will cover recent caselaw and legislative updates and developments in the legal employment area, with particular focus on judicial and statutory developments affecting railroads, either directly or indirectly. Discussion topics and case studies will feature discussion of developments in the areas of equal employment opportunity (including the Americans with Disabilities Act), retaliation law (including updates on decisions involving the Federal Railroad Safety Act ("FRSA")) and state marijuana laws and how these decisions and/or developments could affect your workplace.

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 7:30 am - 12:00 pm

7:30 am – 8:00 am

8:00 am – 8:50 am
Preemption Song (feat. Illinois Crew Size Legislation)
Justin Marks, Senior Attorney, Clark Hill PLC;
Kristin Bevil, General Counsel, Pioneer-Railcorp.
After 5 years of deliberation, the FRA recently ruled there is no need for a federal minimum train crew size regulation, since the data does not show that two-person crews are any safer than a one-person crew. In so doing, the FRA explained that a two-person crew requirement would “impede the future of rail innovation and automation,” adding that its decision on the subject “is an affirmative decision not to regulate with the intention to preempt state laws.” Yet many states have two-person crew statutes, and others are still considering them. The AAR and ASLRRA intend to challenge these statutes in federal court largely on the grounds of “implicit” preemption. Who will prevail? This presentation will provide additional legal background on crew size regulation and will discuss how current cases may shape the future regulatory landscape.

8:55 am – 9:45 am
Hot Topics Before the STB
William A. Mullins, Partner, Baker & Miller PLLC
This session will explore the latest case developments at the STB. It will also discuss recent developments in the way the STB processes and hears cases, including the increased use of oral argument and public hearings.

9:45 am – 10:15 am

10:15 am – 11:00 am
Real Estate Issues—Easements and Dealing With Aggressive Utilities
Kermit L. Kendrick, Partner, Burr & Foreman LLP
It is now no longer simply a “trend.” The challenge presented by aggressive utilities continues to manifest itself in state legislatures across the county.  This session will discuss some of this recent legislation, as well as strategies and legal options for pushing back on behalf of railroads.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm
And You Think Contracting with PTC Vendors Is Easy!
Mike Ogborn, President, Ogborn Consulting Group
Approach of the ASLRRA on behalf of its members with the FRA, Meteorcomm, CI-BOS Providers, Safety Training, and Document Preparation and Management

Click here to download a copy of the Eastern Region Meeting / Finance & Administration and General Counsel Symposium schedule overview.

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