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G&W's Hellmann to receive 2017 Railroad Innovator Award from Progressive Railroading, RailTrends

John "Jack" Hellmann will receive the Railroad Innovator Award in late fall at the RailTrends 2017 conference in New York City.
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Progressive Railroading and RailTrends® have named Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John "Jack" Hellmann the 2017 recipient of the Railroad Innovator Award, which recognizes an individual's outstanding achievement in the rail industry.

Hellmann joined G&W in 2000 as the short-line holding company's chief financial officer. In 2005, he was promoted to president; in 2007, G&W added "CEO" to his title. On May 24, Hellmann was named chairman of the board, succeeding Mortimer Fuller III, who retired. Fuller had been G&W's CEO for 30 years and chairman for 40.

Prior to joining G&W, Hellmann worked in corporate finance at Lehman Brothers and Schroder & Co. in New York City. He also worked for Weyerhaeuser Co. in Tokyo and Beijing.

During Hellmann's 17 years with G&W, the company has grown from 21 railroads to 122, and from a market capitalization of $45 million to $4 billion. The company's eight North American regions serve 41 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. The Australia Region provides rail freight services in New South Wales, the Northern Territory and South Australia, and operates the 1,400-mile Tarcoola-to-Darwin rail line. The U.K./Europe Region features Freightliner, the U.K.’s largest rail maritime intermodal operator and second-largest freight-rail company.

Since Hellmann became CEO, he has nurtured G&W's strong safety culture. He also has continued to expand G&W's footprint. Transactions completed during the past decade include the purchase of the Tarcoola-to-Darwin rail line in Australia (2010), the acquisition of RailAmerica Inc. and its 45 regional and short-line railroads (2012), the purchase of a 94 percent stake in Freightliner Group Ltd. (2015), and the acquisition of the Providence & Worcester Railroad Co. (2016).

The footprint expansion work continues. In February, G&W announced it had agreed to acquire Atlantic Western Transportation Inc., the parent of Heart of Georgia Railroad Inc. In May, G&W subsidiary GWI UK Acquisition Co. Ltd. completed its acquisition of Pentalver Transport Ltd. from APM Terminals.

"Jack, one of the most respected men in transport, has built upon Mort's legacy to create what had been since the '80s the 'Holy Grail' for short-line entrepreneurs — ‎the truly large scale, global short-line holding company," says Tony Hatch, an independent transportation analyst and consultant, and a program consultant for the annual RailTrends conference.

Progressive Railroading previously presented Railroad Innovator Awards to CN's Claude Mongeau, CSX's Michael Ward, Canadian Pacific's Keith Creel, Norfolk Southern Corp.'s Wick Moorman, Union Pacific Corp.'s Jim Young, Kansas City Southern's Mike Haverty, BNSF Railway Co.'s Matt Rose and CN's E. Hunter Harrison.

Hellmann will receive the award during RailTrends 2017, which will be held Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. For more information, log onto

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/1/2017