This week's featured speaker was Courtney Wallace of BNSF Railroad.  Courtney spoke about Freight Rail Safety in our communities.

 
 
Rotary Club of Olympia
The Wheel
 
 
REPORTER - Janice Wharton
 
Date:  2/8/2016
 
(To see a musical slide show of meeting photos, click on this link):
Meeting Called to order:  by President Elect Wendy Holden
 
Invocation by:   Nancy Riordan
 
Pledge of Allegiance led by:   Felix D’Allesandro
 
Song:  God Bless America led by Gloria Strait
 
Four Way Test led by:  Jim Cooper
 
Visiting Rotarians:  Former President of the Hawk’s Prairie  rotary club, Randy Luk
 
 
Guests of Rotarians:  Three guests today,  Tagon,
Anthony Hemstead, Lloyd Flem, and Tom Gilfoil  (? Spelling)
 
Happy Bucks:
Wendy Holden gave $100 for her birthday and for the fact that her grandson is home from the hospital after a bout with osteomyelitis
 
Dan Lehuta told the club that the current play at the Harlequin is very god and very funny, and ends this week-end
 
Bob Wubbena reported that he and Kim Dinsmore have worked on Cool
Jazz, Clean Water for at least the last 15 years and it is time for some new leadership—looking for volunteers
 
Fatihe Rahma (exchange student)  Watched her first ever Super Bowl on Sunday—she won the $10 points guess.  Go Bronco’s!
 
John Sabo—The Rotary Foundation dinner is March 24th—there were flyers on the tables.  Remember the price goes up March 1st, and there will be no tickets sold at the door—sign up early!
 
Greg Bucove has been working on a clean water project trying to provide sanitation for people who live in the hills above San Pedro Sula, providing safe septic systems and latrines for the native people.
 
Nick Schmidt South Puget Sound Community College was named one of America’s top 150 Colleges of excellence.  Both the men’s and women’s basketball seasons are off to a great start.  Finally, on February 19th people can meet the new volleyball coach Melanie Miller
 
Randy Luk announced the 5th annual Hawk’s Prairie Foundation dinner and auction.  Tickets are $30 and the money goes to the Paul Harris Fund.
 
Leslie Johnson from the Squaxin Tribe announce the Pow Wow being held the 3rd weekend in February—you will see amazing regalia, listen to traditional song and dance and enjoy good food.  Leslie is also headed to the annual Travel and Trade show to promote Tribal Tourism in our state
 
Honza Vesely, exchange student:  States there is something magic about Mo’s car—he always gets inspiration for Rotary Happy Bucks in that car—he attended the Black Sabbath concert this week-end and when Mo asked him how it was, he told her it was “nice”.  She said What?  You could say about anything but nice—“nice” is when the weather is good, not when you get your bones rattled in a concert like you went to”  He had to agree!
 
Dennis Cooper is 72 years old—he read that 72 is the new 30!   Good to hear, but the rest of the story is—now at 72 you can expect to live as long as someone in the ice age could expect to live at age 30!
 
Announcements:
Wendy said a big Thank You to all of the people “behind the scenes” who make Rotary Work!
 
Also, we need more Facebook volunteers!  See Wendy for more information.
 
Program:  Gerry Alexander introduced today’s speaker, Courtney Wallace. Courtney is the Manager of Special Projects and Communication for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad. 
 
Courtney presented on freight rail safety in our communities.  She apologized for having to cancel her meeting with us on January 18, but it was due to protesters in her office, which was a first in her career!  There have been a lot of concerns raised about the safety of items being shipped in Washington and across the country like crude oil and coal along with other hazardous materials.
 
BSNF is owned by the Berkshire Hathaway group.  They have approximately 32,500 rail miles in the United States.  They have lines in 28 states, and service 40 ports.  Over 1800 trains run daily.  They own three of the major East-West routes in the United States.  In the State of Washington they run 1.5 million carloads of freight annually.  Last year BNSF invested over $200 Million in rail improvements and expansions of rail lines.  They employ over 4,000 people and are highly unionized.  Also they are based out of Seattle.  Their Foundation funded over $600,000 in Washington alone last year.
 
BNSF has a great safety record and they are always working to improve that.  In 2015 their safety record was 99.998% accident free.  They have been working diligently since 1980’s to continuously improve their safety record and the goal is to be at 100% safety rate, with no accidents.  These include rail crossings accidents, grade crossing collisions, hazardous spills or accidental releases (from ounces to rail car size).  BNSF uses a three pronged approach—Prevention, Mitigation, and Response.  Right now, Rail is the safest mode of transportation of hazardous materials.
 
BNSF has the greatest number of fuel efficient locomotives of any railway in the U.S. they continuously inspect bridges and rails.  They use both visual inspections on the ground and with drones, but also use technology with a system called Proactive Real Time Defect Detection –this uses technology on the tracks and on the cars that monitor the actual rail quality, but also the wheels, bearings, axels, etc. with monitors placed strategically in high traffic areas etc.—especially those routes with “key” trains.  “Key” trains are those with 20 or more hazardous cars (tanks or flatbeds).  Those trains rarely go over 50 miles per hour and in urban areas are slowed to 20-35 miles per hour.  BNSF also engages communities in Hazardous spill response and provides education and communication to those communities’ first responders on a regular basis.
 
There was also an open Q & A time
 
Mr. Snappy:   Won by Mark Elliott
 
Meeting adjourned:  at 1:30 pm by President Elect Wendy Holden