On this Veterans Day, we salute the brave men and women who served their country in the United States Armed Forces and reflect upon the incredible sacrifices made by each and every servicemember and their families.
Texas Central is proud to currently have many veterans working on the project, and we look forward to creating thousands more opportunities for servicemembers to join us as they transition from helmets to hardhats. As you can see from the comments below, the pride these team members feel for our county translates into the pride they have in bringing this transformational transportation project to the United States for the first time.
Words seem inadequate to show our appreciation, so we will simply say THANK YOU and WE WILL NEVER FORGET!
Mike Finnegan is the Managing Director for International Affairs for Texas Central and a founding partner who helped lay the groundwork for the project as it is today.
“I was drawn to the challenge of deploying America’s first true high-speed train service. While daunting at times, I enjoy the challenge of bringing together teams and working with our partners to accomplish the mission.”
A decorated veteran, Mike served in the United States Army for over 27 years as an enlisted soldier, NCO and Officer in various roles including senior staff and command, retiring from active duty in November 2008. Upon leaving the military, he helped found U.S.-Japan High Speed Rail, LLC for the express purpose of promoting high-speed rail in the United States utilizing the Japanese Shinkansen system.
“Beyond the basic teamwork ethos that my military training instilled, I was honored to have served overseas and with our allies for a large part of my career and learned much through that experience. The ability to work across cultural bounds is key to me contributing to the success of this project as we bring together an international team to build and operate a world class rail system.”
Steve Broughall began his military career as an Infantry Officer, later transitioning into the Army Acquisition Corps. There, he was responsible for three major high technology Defense Department projects, learning how to manage large and complex efforts and be accountable for costs, schedules, and ultimately ensuring that a quality product was delivered to our soldiers.
“I feel that same sense of commitment now in bringing safe and efficient high-speed rail service to the people of Texas,” he said. “Nothing like this has been done in our nation since the building of the interstate highway system. Texas Central presented a unique opportunity to introduce an advanced transportation technology that will transform travel in Texas and beyond. For me, the best part of this job is knowing that I am helping to bring this incredible train into existence for people to ride and enjoy for many years to come.”
Drew Slaton served on active duty in the Field Artillery – 13B and completed his reserve commitment in the Army National Guard in the Combat Engineers – 12B, which dovetailed nicely into a career in EPCM industry.
A Texas resident, disabled vet, and small business owner, Drew became interested in joining the high-speed train project after thinking about the positive effects it would have on his home state.
“This is a great opportunity for the Texas economy as well as being a great connector for people … Imagine the number of Texas Aggie fans in Dallas traveling to College Station for the game or the grandparents in Houston easily traveling to visit their family in Dallas.”
Having lived and worked abroad in 30 countries, Drew grew to really enjoyed the diversity, cultures, and experiences living outside the US. Now, he says, he gets the opportunity to work on an international job that is virtually in his own my back yard – with no jet lag!
As a Senior Project Manager, External Affairs Manager, and Risk Manager, Drew has leveraged his military background and experiences into tangible skills needed to work overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Rwanda, Japan, Italy, Spain, the UK, and many other locations under various private sector contracts. Those same skills and experiences, he says, serves him well as the Risk Manager at Texas Central.
“I think the soft skills including self-discipline, the sense of shared vision, and the camaraderie you learn in the military all contribute to working in our industry,” he says. “I am a big advocate for rail transportation from my many years of living and working overseas and I’m very pleased Texas will be on the cutting edge for high speed rail in the US.”
Robert joined Texas Central on 14-Oct-19 as the Lead Planner. He served in the United States Army as a Combat Engineer. The Combat Engineer’s goals involve facilitating movement and support of friendly forces while impeding those of the enemy. Robert was also airborne qualified and jumped from many different aircraft.
The military helped instill the rigor and drive to get things done right the first time, he says of his time in the Army. Rob enjoys the mystique of traveling by train – especially when it was the first time exploring in a new country.
“I’ve been fortunate to have worked on many rail transit projects in lots of cool places. Having the opportunity to work on a marquee project that’s bringing the first high-speed rail to the USA is awesome. It’s important for our country’s rail infrastructure to succeed in this leap forward. Making new friends and reuniting will old friends on the Texas high-speed train project is a pleasure.”
Gerry King, Machinist Mate, Submarine Service, US Navy
Gerry King, the Chief Mechanical Maintenance Officer for Texas Central, has worked in the rail transportation industry since 1997, following a 10-year career in the US Navy, where he was responsible for the operation, preventive and corrective maintenance, overhaul and modification of electro-pneumatic, electro-hydraulic systems on submarines.
“A key skill that I learned in the military that has translated to working on the train is the management of processes and procedures,” he says. “But, my favorite part of working on the project is the challenge of a new start – to see the project go from on paper to actually moving people is beyond thrilling.”
Gary Hunt, Nuclear Qualified Machinist Mate-Engineering Watch Supervisor, Submarine Service, US Navy
Prior to joining Texas Central as the Houston Area Manager, Gary Hunt served as a Nuclear Qualified Machinist Mate-Engineering Watch Supervisor in the Submarine Service for the US Navy.
“In the Navy, I learned critical analytical thinking, leadership, and the ability to work with people of varied backgrounds and capabilities to successfully complete missions,” he says.
A Houston area native, Gary has been waiting a long time for a better way to travel between North Texas and Houston.
“As a Houston area resident, I know we’ve needed better rail service for a while – not only here but across Texas and the US in general. Of course, there are many challenges ahead, but I’m certainly interested in seeing this high-speed train operational.”
Captain Linda Miller, Helicopter Pilot, US Army
From piloting helicopters in the US Army to being honored by the Queen of England and working on the first high-speed train project in the US, Linda Miller has lived an exciting and fulfilling life. She is a globally recognized leader in the infrastructure world who has excelled in leadership positions on projects in the US, UK, Australia and more. In 2017, She was awarded an Order of the British Empire by the Queen of England, a designation reserved for persons who make important contributions in the fields of science and arts, charity and public service.
Linda stopped by the Train Talk set last year to discuss these things and more, so check it out!