Glen Smith Marks End of Extended AREMA Committee 6 Leadership

Argus Consulting Chief Mechanical Engineer for Rail, Glen Smith, has left his mark on the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association. After nearly two decades in a leadership position for Committee 6, he will pass the torch to the next leader at AREMA’s 2021 Virtual Conference this week.

Glen joined AREMA in 2002, and for the past 18 years, he has served on Committee 6 – Building and Support Facilities, which includes the section on Fueling, and was its chair for the past six years. 

What started as a desire for a deep learning experience turned into an invaluable networking opportunity and a way to make significant contributions to the industry’s future success.

“My interest in AREMA started when I was involved in a design team developing a locomotive sanding system that I wanted to learn more about. Joining AREMA allowed me to jump in and learn about sanding and fueling and how it relates to railroads,” Glen explained. “At that time, committee membership was low, so that gave me the opportunity early to get involved in updating parts of Chapter 6 and to move into committee leadership.”

AREMA is a professional association for railway engineering personnel that offers numerous educational opportunities and produces and publishes the recommended practices for railway engineering infrastructure including track, structures, and communications & signals. AREMA is comprised of approximately 5,500 members all working together to further the development and advancement of both technical and practical knowledge of the industry.

AREMA has 30 Technical Committees made up of volunteers who work in all engineering disciplines for the design, construction, and maintenance of America’s railway infrastructure. The committee members update and recommend guidelines for AREMA’s Manual for Railway Engineering, a more than 5,000-page document with principles, data and plans to help railways establish policies and operational best practices. It’s also a useful knowledge transfer tool to those new to the industry. 

“We update the Manual with new trends in design criteria, lessons learned, recommended practices and what operators like or dislike about a particular design or function,” Glen says. “We describe important considerations for all miscellaneous rail facilities.”

In his AREMA tenure, Glen has seen many changes, including greater diversity among those working in the industry and serving on AREMA committees.

“Although the rail industry has been around a long time, recent industry changes and innovations have created an even greater need to document best practices,” Glen explains. “Positive train control, precision scheduled railroading, longer trains, diesel engine improvements, alternative fuels and greener energy all influence every aspect of the rail industry.”

Glen says that he didn’t choose a railway engineering career, “It chose me.” 

In the early 2000s, he was looking for a new career opportunity and a change of scenery. He found both when he joined the Argus team, which utilized his engineering and railroad-specific expertise.  

“My involvement and committee leadership at AREMA has been a wonderful experience for me, and it has also given great exposure for Argus as the leader in fuels system infrastructure,” Glen affirms. “Serving as the Committee 6 Secretary for nine years, Vice Chair for three years and Chair for six years has enabled me to meet many great railroad personnel and other consultants and contractors in the industry.”

Even though his term as committee chair ends September 30, Glen will remain on Committee 6 and participate in updating sections of the Manual, as he continues pursuing his passion for the Railroad industry.