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Freight Rail, Shipper Organizations Bestow Annual Hazardous Material Handling Honors

June 3, 2011
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has announced the 2010 recipients of the Non-Accident Release Grand Slam Award, the Holden-Proefrock Award and the TRANSCAER® National Achievement Awards. The awards were presented this week at the AAR’s 24th Annual AAR/Bureau of Explosives (BOE) Hazardous Materials Seminar in Kansas City, MO.

The 2010 Non-Accident Release Grand Slam Award went to Federated Co-Operatives Ltd, International Commodities Export Corp., and INVISTA S.à r.l. AAR and the BOE bestow the Non-Accident Release Grand Slam Award annually to companies that are exemplary shippers of hazardous materials.

To be eligible to receive the award, a shipper must be honored individually by at least 4 Class I railroads and have zero non-accident releases (NAR) the previous calendar year. A hazardous materials non-accident release is an unintentional release of a hazardous material while in transportation, but not involving an accident.

Canadian National’s (CN) Michael A. DeSmedt was honored with the 2010 Holden-Proefrock Award. DeSmedt, retired senior manager dangerous goods, was with CN for 33 years where he influenced the lives of thousands of young emergency responders through his emergency response training and community outreach programs. His contributions to the development of CN's dangerous goods program and system protection model have been invaluable to the company while positively impacting the North American railroad industry, all levels of government, and the emergency response community.
The Holden-Proefrock Award is presented annually to a person, associated with the railroad industry, who has made significant contributions to hazardous materials transportation safety throughout his or her career. The award is named in honor of Roy Holden, a former AAR employee and a pioneer in tank car design and safety, and Art Proefrock, a former Hulcher Emergency Services employee who was a pioneer in hazardous materials transportation emergency response.

“Competence, professionalism, sense of duty, and integrity are all symbolized in the Holden Proefrock Award. Mike DeSmedt is the embodiment of such an award,” said CN’s director - dangerous goods Jean Ouellette.
Five Class I railroads including BNSF, CN, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific also received honors at the event with a 2011 TRANSCAER National Achievement Award in recognition of their extraordinary efforts in support of the TRANSCAER initiative. TRANSCAER (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response) is a voluntary national outreach effort that focuses on assisting communities to prepare for and to respond to a possible hazardous material transportation incident. TRANSCAER members consist of volunteer representatives from the chemical manufacturing, transportation, distributor, and emergency response industries, as well as the government.

For more information, visit www.aar.org.