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Willard Keeney


I was born March 21, 1941 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Family moved to Arcadia, California in 1947, and I grew up there, attending grade school and high school; went to college at Stanford University, majoring in English and an interdisciplinary Humanities program. Post-graduate work at the University of Vienna on a Fulbright grant, followed by post-graduate work at Harvard University in American History and Literature.

Taught English and American History at Harvard, Northeastern University in Boston, and Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Left academia in 1972 to work for Amtrak. I was initially and on-board traveling supervisor (Service Director in Amtrak-speak), subsequently assistant to the director of on-board Service, and assistant to the vice president of operations. Last Amtrak position was manager of reservations and car control.

Left Amtrak in July, 1978 to take a position in the then-new marketing department at Southern Pacific (the marketing department was separate from the traditional freight traffic department). I was initially manager of covered hoppers and later of the plain boxcar fleet. Joined the operating department at the beginning of 1981, initially as assistant terminal superintendent at Roseville, subsequently trainmaster at Sparks, then to the Los Angeles Division as terminal superintendent at City of Industry, terminal superintendent at West Colton, and assistant division superintendent at Los Angeles.

Left Southern Pacific in 1987 to join a consulting firm and have worked in the railroad industry as such ever since – mostly for a succession of large engineering companies which grew by acquiring the company I was working for at the time. I also have my own sole proprietorship consultancy which specializes in railroad simulation modeling.

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