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The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) on Sunday night honored the winners of the 2015 Marketing Awards and Thomas L. Schlosser Distinguished Service Award at its annual conference in Orlando, Fla. The association presented the Schlosser award to Keith Hartwell, president of and partner in ASLRRA lobbying firm Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell LLC (CCH). In 2004, Hartwell worked with Schlosser to persuade then-House and Ways Committee Chairman Bill Thomas to support the short-line tax credit.Hartwell's firm CCH in 1986 formed Regional Railroads of America (RRA) to help enact legislation that promoted the short-line industry's economic viability, and in 1994, he led an RRA effort to formalize a statute that facilitated the creation of many new short lines, ASLRRA officials said in the conference program. In addition, Hartwell organized the first iteration of what later became the annual Railroad Day on Capitol Hill, they said. The award is named after Thomas Schlosser, a former ASLRRA chairman and president and chief executive officer of the Fort Worth & Western Railroad who died in 2011. He was a longtime and valuable contributor to the association. Schlosser's railroading career included stints as VP and COO of the California Railroad, president and COO of Park Sierra Rail Group, senior VP for RailAmerica Inc. and CEO of Global Rail Systems. Meanwhile, the marketing award winners are the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad Co. (A&M), Greenville & Western Railway Co. LLC (GRLW) and Heart of Georgia Railroad (HOG). The awards recognize regionals' and short lines' efforts to improve customer service and react to changing market conditions. A&M made key investments and tailored its service to adapt to changing conditions in its major commodities: corn and sand, ASLRRA officials said. Last year, the short line and its sister company Allied Enterprises opened a new $5 million transload facility in Butterfield, Mo., that extended the company's reach into sand markets that previously were unattainable. In addition, the railroad customized service options that improved performance for its fleet of open-top hoppers for both sand and grain shipments. GRLW worked with CSX Transportation to create a heavy machinery distribution hub for Komatsu America Corp. in Williamston, S.C. The short line built a siding and track for the facility, worked with Duke Energy to move two transmission poles at the site, and partnered with CSX, BNSF Railway Co. and BNSF Logistics LLC to market the hub. HOG created a rail-served inland port in Cordele, Ga., as part of its marketing efforts. The short line also worked with the Georgia Central Railroad to develop joint schedules regarding the exchange of trains from Savannah and Cordele. HOG incorporated a separate company, Cordele Intermodal Services, to operate the rail ramp and a trucking company that feeds it. In addition, HOG nurtured relationships with the Port of Savannah, steamship companies, shippers and other railroads, including CSX.
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