October 30, 2015
On October 27, the Association of American Railroads held its 2015 Professional Environmental Excellence Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. The top award went to an individual from CSX Railroad. Nominees from each of the other Class I railroads were also recognized at the event. The nominee from KCSR was environmental health and safety administrator Janet Sommerhauser.
Sommerhauser began her KCSR career as a contractor before becoming an environmental health and safety specialist and now the department’s administrator. Since joining the company, she has taken responsibility for the wastewater management program and visited each wastewater treatment site annually to perform an internal audit of the facility and its records. She has played an integral role in the development of an Environmental Management Information System (EMIS) at KCSR, and recently, she negotiated directly with Illinois Environmental Protection Agency regulators regarding a solid waste issue at a KCSR yard, avoiding a violation and significant fine. Sommerhauser also improved the vegetation management program efficiency without increasing the budget. Currently, she is spearheading projects with goals of improving environmental performance, reducing safety hazards, increasing efficiency of operations and reducing the potential for violations.
“Janet is a valuable member of our environmental team,” said KCSR director environmental and hazmat Carl Akins. “In addition to never shying away from more responsibility, she continuously seeks better ways to do things and is committed to environmental excellence.”