At the May 17 All Aboard Ohio Annual Meeting in Gahanna, OH, 15 people were elected or appointed to two-year terms on the association’s Board of Directors. From the elected directors, the board chose a new Chairman in Jack Shaner, a new Secretary in Charles Horn and returned Ken Sislak as Vice-Chairman and Ken Clifford as Treasurer.
All Aboard Ohio members and friends thank Ronald C. Sheck Pd.D. for his leadership, guidance and service as Chairman in the last two years. The board includes several new directors: Eric Childress, Tim Porter, Marvin Randaldson and Akshai Singh. All Aboard Ohio thanks Mark Carlson (he will remain as newsletter production coordinator), Eric Davies and Richard Straub for their volunteer service to the board. Here is the current board:
- CHAIRMAN: Jack Shaner, Ohio Environmental Council, Columbus, OH
- VICE CHAIRMAN: Kenneth Sislak, AECOM, Shaker Heights, OH
- SECRETARY: Charles Horn, citizen, Kenton, OH
- TREASURER: Kenneth Clifford, CPA, Medway, OH
- NORTHEAST REGION: Ken Sislak (see officers, above)
- NORTHWEST REGION: Roger Shope, OHERN, Bowling Green, OH
- SOUTHWEST REGION: Derek Bauman, Cincinnatians For Progress, Cincinnati, OH
- CENTRAL/SE REGION: Eric Childress, citizen, Columbus, OH
- AT-LARGE: Theresa Allen, Blanchard River Watershed Partnership, Forest, OH
- AT-LARGE: David Burns, Motoman Inc., West Milton, OH
- AT-LARGE: Kenneth Clifford (see officers, above)
- AT-LARGE: Michael J. Connor, railroad consultant, Dover, OH
- AT-LARGE: Charles Horn (see officers, above)
- AT-LARGE: Timothy Porter, NOPRA, Toledo, OH
- AT-LARGE: Marvin Randaldson, Bike Cleveland, Lakewood, OH
- AT-LARGE: Jack Shaner (see officers, above)
- AT-LARGE: Ronald Sheck, retired transportation administrator/educator, Sylvania
- AT-LARGE: Akshai Singh, Sierra Club, Cleveland Heights, OH
- AT-LARGE: Jerry Wicks, OHERN, Bowling Green, OH
Also at the Annual Meeting, the board approved a temporary, promotional 1-year membership rate for new members of $5 per person which will be in effect until Aug. 31. Depending on how many people respond to this new-member dues rate, the board may consider extending the promotion or possibly making it permanent.
$5 per person to join All Aboard Ohio
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Executive Director Ken Prendergast gave a presentation on the Northern Ohio Rail Alliance (NORA), created April 11 among the metropolitan planning organizations of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, Erie County Regional Planning Commission and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency. NORA will seek planning and improvement of the busy rail corridor within its Toledo-Sandusky-Elyria-Cleveland geographic jurisdiction.
Last but not least, the 50 persons in attendance heard a panel discussion on the emerging Columbus-Lima-Fort Wayne-Chicago rail corridor by:
- Carl A. Aveni II, attorney, Carlile Patchen & Murphy, Columbus OH
- Richard C. Davis, nonprofit management consultant, MPA, MCRP, Fort Wayne IN
- Fred Lanahan, Board President, Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association and Chairman of Citilink, Fort Wayne IN
The panel discussed the proposed passenger rail service and its economic benefits, especially its important in attracting companies to cities in Ohio and Indiana seeking fast, comfortable and productive business travel to the first- and third-largest cities in the Midwest — Chicago and Columbus. Fort Wayne’s low-cost of living would be less than 90 minutes by train from Chicago’s Loop. Warsaw, IN seeks rail access to O’Hare Airport as this small town is a global center for health care companies with its multi-billion-dollar orthopedic manufacturing cluster. Lima is home to growing energy companies, including their manufacturers and suppliers, plus the headquarters of Marathon Petroleum Corp. in nearby Findlay. Marysville is home to Honda of America.
And Columbus is a growing city that’s home to an increasing number of Fortune 500 companies, yet it is the largest city in North America without any regularly scheduled passenger rail or light-rail transit services. As a frequent traveler to Chicago on business, Mr. Aveni lamented this lack of rail access which is a major shortcoming for Central Ohio. Columbus must compete for jobs and businesses with other Midwest cities like Detroit, St. Louis, Kalamazoo, Springfield, Battle Creek and Bloomington-Normal that are gaining 110 mph passenger trains to the heart of Chicago.