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(Speaker bios are still being collected and will be published on this page once complete.  Check the agenda for a list of confirmed speakers and their companies)

Transportation & Response Symposium
Speakers List

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Andy Elkins

Director of Hazardous Materials Compliance

-American Association of Railroads

In Mr. Elkins current position as Director of Hazardous Materials Compliance with the Bureau of Explosives' / AAR, and in his previous experience in law enforcement, having served 27 years as a Special Operations Police Officer with the Metro Nashville, Tennessee Police Department, he has seen first-hand how First Responders rush toward incidents that most others are running from. Andy strongly support programs that provide information that keep these responders, and the communities they serve, safe.


Drew Higgins

Vice President of Operations at OURAY

Mr. Higgins has over 20 years of experience in the hazardous materials field operations with a focus on mitigation of hazardous materials within a contracting regime.  His experience includes: Incident Command and Project Management of personnel, equipment, and logistical assets for a variety of incidents including emergency response to transportation disasters (train derailments, tanker rollovers), natural disasters, chemical plant recoveries, large contaminated earth moving and in-situ remediation project, storage tank removals, industrial site services, and large-scale hazardous waste management.  Mr. Higgins current duties include Vice President of Operations.

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John R. West, PE CHMM PMP

Director of Asia-Pacific Operations


Mr. West is a professional engineer, hazardous materials manager, and project manager with 23 years of experience in high-stress decision-making and flexible problem-solving.  John’s many years of performing emergency response work give him the ability to quickly assess hazards and provide expert guidance for the containment, monitoring, and removal of hazardous chemical and oil spills.  He has implemented multiple new programs for companies including developing an FAA-compliant commercial sUAS (drone) program, standing up an Emergency Response group, establishing an American Association of Railroads compliant repair shop, and most recently has relocated from the United States to Singapore to establish new emergency response operations in the Asia Pacific Region.

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Tom DeLafosse

Certified Quality Auditor, (CQA), through The American Society of Quality (ASQ), is a member of both the Railway Supply Institute (RSI) Quality Assurance Committee and Committee for Tank Cars

Tom has 48 years of experience in quality assurance, design, repair, and inspection of railroad tank cars. Over his career he has developed numerous inspection, repair, training, and quality assurance programs. For the last 25 years he has provided regulatory compliance support to railcar owners and repair shops alike that assists them with any of their AAR or FRA compliance issues.


Tom spent 25-years with Graver Tank and Union Tank Car Company (UTC) starting in 1975, 7-years in new car engineering designing and building new cars and 13-years in fleet repair engineering and inspection services. Tom also served as Rescar’s Vice President of Quality Assurance and spent 16 years with AllTranstek, and additional 5-years with Watco Compliance Services prior to joining in Salco Products in 2016 as the VP of Technical Service. Tom now serves as the SVP of Quality and Regulatory Compliance for all the A.Stucki companies.

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Ryan Nawrocki

Chief Engineer and Chief Emergency Response Technicianv

-US Fire Pump Company, LLC

Ryan has 30+ years of product development and engineering in the fire equipment/apparatus and specialty vehicle fields. Ryan has had the opportunity to develop engineer and bring to production new emergency vehicles from ground up through new chassis, cab, bodies, aerials, and pumps. Very few have had the opportunity to literally engineer a fire apparatus from bumper to bumper, especially new product lines. This allows him to manage the engineering and production teams for quality and resilience in the products. Ryan is a veteran firefighter of 20+ years and has extensive training in Flammable Liquids Firefighting, Hazardous Materials Response, Confined Space Rescue, Advance Level Command, National Incident Management System, High Angle Rescue, Driver, and Pump Operations. As a hazmat technician, Ryan was able to work towards his specialist in hydrocarbons fuel spills and fuel in-depth fires. This has allowed Ryan a better insight into the engineering and development of new firefighting tools for the fellow firefighter. “I know the pain of apparatus or equipment not performing the task at hand in a critical situation, firefighting we have to perform at a level above with little room for error. Many times, it’s a life or death decision in a split second and expect our tools and equipment to be there without fail.” Ryan is a certified IFSTA and ProBoard Instructor. Ryan has successfully participated in and successfully commanded many large-scale industrial fire events and rescues.

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