AAR’s Hamberger unveils industry’s 2016 priorities

Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger  announced the industry’s 2016 agenda, which will includes the issues of positive train control (PTC) implementation, maintaining “balanced” economic regulation at the Surface Transportation Board, extending the short-line tax credit, overall tax reform and advancing security-safety legislation.

Hamberger set out the agenda in his remarks at the 246th regular meeting of the Midwest Association of Rail Shippers, AAR officials said in a press release. The three-day conference focused on challenges and opportunities for shippers, railroads and the supply chain.

On the PTC front, freight railroads face a deadline later this month to provide the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) with PTC implementation plans. Hamberger reaffirmed the industry’s stance that the technology will be fully installed where required by 2018 and all testing for full coast-to-coast operations completed by 2020.

“The past year brought much excitement and success for the freight rail industry, both from a service perspective and in terms of regulatory and legislative activity,” said Hamberger. “We take very seriously our mission to deliver our customers’ goods efficiently, reliably and safely and look forward to our continued partnerships.”

He also addressed several successes for the rail industry from the past year, including stopping efforts to increase truck weights, pushing for safer tank cars that move flammable liquids, and achieving reform in environmental permitting.

Hamberger also mentioned a long-term project that will be getting more emphasis in 2016: working with other industries and government to review the rulemaking process and improve a regulatory system that, in the industry’s view, limits innovation and efficiency.

He maintained that with a still-soft economy, American industry requires empirically-driven policy rooted in sound science.


5 Ways Mentally Strong People Conquer Self-Doubt

Insecurity kills more dreams than lack of talent does. Believing things like “I’ll never get promoted” or “I can’t compete with the other businesses” will turn your self-doubt into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

All of us experience self-doubt sometimes, no matter how confident we are. But, mentally strong people don’t let self-doubt prevent them from reaching their goals. Here’s how to keep self-doubt from holding you back.

1. Embrace a little self-doubt.

Don’t worry about a little self-doubt, because slight insecurity could actually bolster your performance. A 2010 study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise found that individuals who experienced a little self-doubt actually performed better compared with people who were completely confident in their skills. Other studies have found similar results.

So rather than waste energy worrying that your self-doubt is really a sign from the universe warning you that you’re about to fail, recognize that self-doubt can be helpful. Perhaps you’ll spend more time rehearsing or maybe you’ll put in more effort when you’re aware that there’s a chance it might not go smoothly.

2. Examine the evidence behind your thoughts.

When you encounter serious self-doubt, examine the truth behind your thoughts. Ask yourself, “What evidence do I have that I can’t do this?” Then ask yourself, “What evidence do I have that I can do this?” Write down your answers on a piece of a paper.

Looking at the facts can help you see things in a more realistic manner. Although this exercise may not eliminate all of your self-doubt, examining the facts can help reduce your insecurities to a more helpful level.

3. Consider the worst-case scenario.

Self-doubt is fueled by catastrophic predictions like “I’m going to mess everything up.” When you find yourself guessing things will go poorly, ask, “What’s really the worst thing that could happen?” If you do make a mistake, would it really be that bad?

Remind yourself that even if things go terribly, it’s unlikely to be life altering. Losing a game, stumbling over your lines, or failing to get a promotion probably won’t matter that much in a few years. Keeping things in proper perspective can help calm your nerves.

4. Monitor your emotions.

Your emotions play a major role in how you think and behave. Anxious feelings can fuel doubtful thoughts and impair your performance, unless you take steps to regulate your emotions.

Pay attention to how your emotions influence your choices. If your anxiety skyrockets, calm your body and your mind by taking deep breaths, going for a walk, or distracting yourself with mundane tasks. Don’t allow your short-term discomfort to convince you to bail out, give up, or cave in.

5. Focus on your present performance.

Whether you’re stepping on a stage or running out onto an athletic field, telling yourself “I’m going to embarrass myself” will distract you from your performance. So rather than allow your inner monologue to drag you down, stay focused on the present.

Before you take the giant leap into whatever you’re feeling doubtful about, give yourself a quick pep talk. Saying “All I can do is my best” will remind you that you don’t need to strive for perfection. With that reminder, you’ll be better equipped to put your energy where it needs to be–on your performance.

By Amy Morin

Author, “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do”

Comets 4 @ Albany 3 (OT)

Propelled by Michael Zalewski’s two-goal performance in his first game back in the line-up, the Utica Comets defeated the Albany Devils 4-3 in overtime at the Times Union Center on Friday night. Zalewski, fresh off of his first call-up to the Vancouver Canucks, scored the Comets first goal and then the game-winning overtime goal just 46 seconds into the extra frame.

Jordan Subban (1-1-2), and Chris Higgins (0-2-2) joined Zalewski (0-2-2) as multi-point scorers. Andrey Pedan (1-0-1) also scored for the Comets. Richard Bachman turned aside 22 of the Devils shots en route to his eighth win of the season.

One of the league’s premier power play units struck the very first chance they got 12:27 into the game. From one knee, Reid Boucher one-timed a cross rink pass past Bachman from the top of the face-off circle to stake the Devils to a 1-0 lead.

After the first period ended, a mini-melee ensued in Bachman’s crease after Tropp barreled into the Comets goaltender as he tried to stuff a rebound into the net. The end result gave the Comets a power play opportunity a minute into the second period.

With the man advantage, Michael Zalewski stuffed home a rebound to tie the game at 1-1. Jon Landry fired the initial shot that set up the Comets tying goal.

The Comets power play unit struck again early on in the third period when Jordan Subban sniped a wrist shot over the glove of Danis from the top of the face-off circle. Ronalds Kenins and Chris Higgins tag-teamed added assists on the goal.

The lead was short-lived as Reid Boucher scored his second of the night for the Devils just a 80 seconds later.

The Comets re-established the lead when Andrey Pedan’s slap shot fought its way through a screen set by Carter Bancks and through the legs of Danis. The goal, scored at the 7:31 mark of the third period, was Pedan’s third of the year for the Comets.

Last season’s Most Valuable Player, as a member of the Manchester Monarchs, came back to continue to haunt the Comets. Brian O’Neill crashed the net hard and somehow found a way to force the puck across the goal line with just 1:59 left in regulation. Travis Green challenged the call, but after a quick review by the officials the call on the ice stood.

Just 46 seconds into overtime Zalewski struck again. The New Hartford, NY native stripped Marc-Andre Gragnani from behind, and walked in all alone on the Devils goaltender. Uncontested, Zalewski darted to Danis left and quickly beat the goaltender stick side for the game-winning goal.

With the win the Comets record improves to 18-17-3-3.

The Comets finally return home to The AUD on Saturday night to take on the Rochester Americans at 7 pm.

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