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Alaska Railroad Announces New VP Engineering

Clark Hopp

Clark Hopp

PHOTO: Courtesy of Alaska Railroad Corp.

27-year railroad veteran and Chief Engineer Tom Brooks to retire in May

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Alaska Railroad (ARRC) Chief Engineer / Vice President of Engineering Tom Brooks announces plans to retire in May, when 25-year railroad project and engineering veteran Clark Hopp will succeed Brooks as head of ARRC’s Engineering Department.

Hopp is already familiar with many railroad stakeholders, given 12 years with the Alaska Railroad. He joined ARRC in 2001 as a capital projects manager, and in 2003, he became Manager, Civil Projects. In 2011, Hopp was promoted to Director of Special Projects, overseeing the two mega rail extension projects — Port MacKenzie Rail Extension and Northern Rail Extension, Phase One.

Before joining ARRC, Hopp worked for Transystems Corporation, a nationwide engineering consulting firm based in Nebraska. From 1995 to 2001, Hopp provided project management services to Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and Union Pacific (UP) railroads. He earned a degree in Construction Engineering Technology from Iowa Western College and completed additional engineering coursework at the University of Nebraska.

“Clark has proven himself repeatedly as a very effective project manager for our railroad and for much larger railroads in the Lower 48,” said Brooks. “I have full confidence in his ability and leadership to head the Alaska Railroad’s engineering functions. Clark has the clear vision needed for this executive leadership role.

”The Alaska Railroad Engineering Department is responsible for a variety of critical functions at the railroad —engineering and design of railroad facilities and infrastructure, capital project management, maintaining tracks and bridges, administering grants, and interfacing with railbelt communities, agencies and utilities. “If our Engineering Department were separated from the railroad, it would still be one of the largest businesses in Alaska in terms of personnel and resources. It takes a talented individual to lead such a diverse business,” said ARRC President & CEO Chris Aadnesen.

“In 40 years of railroading, I can easily say that Tom Brooks stands out as a true leader,” said Aadnesen. “Not only does Tom possess the professional and technical skills required of a chief engineer, he routinely facilitates cross-departmental problem-solving. The Alaska Railroad has benefitted greatly from his steady, resourceful approach to management. Always an excellent role model, Tom has molded his department’s senior staff to become effective leaders that are capable of carrying the load as he retires.”

Brooks joined the Alaska Railroad in 1986 as the Engineering Office Supervisor. The next year, he was named Manager, Civil Engineering, marking the first of several promotions during a 27-year career. In 1991, Brooks became Chief Engineer, a title he has held ever since. In 2005, Brooks added executive duties as Assistant VP of Projects, and in 2010, he rose to VP Engineering.

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