Kathleen Smith
Vice-President Industrial Products and Coal Marketing,
Norfolk Southern, United States
Years in the industry: 29

KATHLEEN Smith has held leadership positions across Norfolk Southern (NS) during a near 30-year career with the Class 1 railway. With expertise in negotiating, relationship building, customer service, and team leadership, she is credited for consistently creating tangible results, which are not only benefitting her own business unit, but the Class 1 railway as a whole.

In her current role, which Kathleen took on earlier this year, she leads the activities of the company’s largest business unit, which generated $US 7.9bn in revenue, or 65% of the company’s total, in 2023. She has also held roles overseeing industrial development, property, market research and forecasts, and business process and analytics teams. Her time leading the automotive industry business was particularly impactful, her nominator states, with the business unit reaching $US 1bn in revenue under her stewardship.

Kathleen is at the forefront of helping NS anticipate where markets are heading, according to her nominator, who says she is able to steer the company to consistently fulfil the needs of the national and global supply chain. Among recent achievements are the successful lease of Lambert’s Point Docks in Hampton Roads, Virginia, to Fairwinds Landing under a 30-year agreement reached in 2022. Plans for the property include redeveloping the area into a world-class maritime operations and logistics centre that will support the offshore wind, defence and transport industries.

Kathleen Smith
Vice-President Industrial Products and Coal Marketing,
Norfolk Southern, United States.

Kathleen’s influence at the company extends to acting as a mentor for other female employees, both formally and informally. She has helped female and minority students enrolled at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, her alma mater. In addition, she has served as a member of Northwestern University’s Transportation Business Advisory Council, where alongside other senior-level executives working across transport, she advises and offers real-world insight to the university’s Transportation Center, helping to influence research and educational programmes.

Locally, Kathleen has been a member of Georgia Allies, a partnership between state government and private corporations to promote Georgia’s business development efforts. She also attends the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and sits on the organisation’s tech council.

Internally, Kathleen has been a member of NS’ DE&I Alliance Business Resource Group where she helps spearhead changes and initiatives to foster a diverse and inclusive environment across the organisation. She was also recently appointed to serve on the board of the National Freight Transportation Association.

Consistent across Kathleen’s success is her deep understanding of the company’s existing and future demands. Her nominator says she “masterfully seeks new or unique ways for NS to meet the needs of its customers and the communities where it operates” and her achievements have been recognised by the railway’s senior management. Indeed, she seems poised to continue to play a leading role in the railway’s continuing development over the coming years.

Susana Lozano Arribas
Head of International Commercial Services,
Renfe, Spain
Years in the industry: 44

SUSANA Lozano is a seasoned professional with a rich and diverse career spanning over four decades in the railway industry. Joining Renfe in 1980, she quickly made her mark by assuming various operational roles within the company, notably becoming the first woman to work as a rail traffic controller at San Sebastián station in the Basque Country. Her early experiences paved the way for her future leadership roles.

Throughout her career, Susana has held key positions across different divisions of Renfe. In 1999, she transitioned to Renfe Freight, where she spearheaded initiatives to enhance international traffic, particularly in the container, automotive, and iron and steel markets. Her leadership was instrumental in expanding Renfe’s presence across Europe.

Susana Lozano Arribas
Head of International Commercial Services, Renfe, Spain.

In 2016, Susana embarked on a new chapter by joining Renfe Viajeros, where she played a pivotal role in driving international sales distribution. Her expertise in cross-border traffic was further highlighted in 2019 when she took on the role of manager for cross-border traffic between France and Spain, navigating complex challenges with determination and efficiency.

Beyond her professional achievements, Susana is a staunch advocate for gender equality in the workplace. Leading a multinational working group, she promotes inclusivity and diversity within Renfe, inspiring her team to excel and embrace challenges with professionalism and dedication.

One of Susana’s notable accomplishments is Renfe’s successful entry into the French market. Overcoming various obstacles, including obtaining safety certificates and training operational personnel, Susana’s vision and drive have solidified Renfe’s position as a benchmark operator in high-speed rail services in France, challenging the incumbent operator, SNCF.

Susana’s commitment to excellence, coupled with her passion for the most complex projects, continues to drive innovation and growth within Renfe. Her leadership style, characterised by resilience, inclusivity, and a relentless pursuit of success, inspires those around her to reach new heights in the ever-evolving railway industry.

Maryclare Kenney
Vice President of Intermodal and Automotive,
CSX, United States
Years in the industry: 12

MARYCLARE Kenney oversees the sales and marketing strategies for the domestic and international intermodal and automotive sectors at CSX. Her responsibilities encompass more than half of CSX’s business volume - specifically a $US 2.3 billion intermodal business and a $US 1.1bn automotive business. Additionally, she manages automotive terminal operations, ensuring safety, vehicle quality, and operational efficiency.

Maryclare’s leadership at CSX has been marked by significant achievements. Under her direction, CSX’s TDSI auto ramps have been industry leaders in automotive quality, earning awards for six consecutive years. Her strategic initiatives have also led to CSX being recognised as the top rail provider in the Journal of Commerce’s inaugural domestic intermodal service scorecard in 2023. This accolade underscores her ability to steer her team towards excellence in service delivery and operational performance.

In terms of industry impact, Maryclare’s tenure at CSX has been transformative. Appointed in 2018 to lead CSX Intermodal during a period of significant operational change, she played a crucial role in reassuring customers about CSX’s commitment to service and growth. Her collaborative efforts with commercial and operating teams were instrumental in identifying solutions that addressed customer supply chain needs. This leadership was particularly vital during the Covid-19 pandemic when she and her team developed innovative solutions to navigate supply chain disruption, resulting in CSX Intermodal achieving the highest growth among Class 1 railways in both 2020 and 2021.

Maryclare Kenney
Vice President of Intermodal and Automotive, CSX, United States

Her early career at CSX was shaped by her service in the US Army, where she achieved the rank of captain and held leadership positions within the 3rd Infantry and 101st Airborne divisions, participating in counter-drug operations in the Bahamas and combat operations in Iraq.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Maryclare is committed to giving back to the community and supporting under-represented groups. She mentors several women at CSX and assists military veterans entering the rail industry. As an executive sponsor of CSX’s Military Business Resource Group, she actively engages in CSX Pride in Service community investment events, collaborating with organisations like Operation Gratitude and the Wounded Warrior Project. Beyond her corporate responsibilities, she contributes to various organisations, including the United Way, St Paul’s Catholic Church/School, and the University of Notre Dame ROTC. She is also a member of the United Way Tocqueville Society and The University of Notre Dame Sorin Society.

Her academic and professional accomplishments have been recognised by the Jacksonville Business Journal, naming her a Transportation Innovator, and by Diversity MBA, which listed her among the top 100 under 50.

Maryclare exemplifies leadership, innovation, and dedication in the rail industry. Her strategic vision and commitment to excellence have significantly contributed to the success and growth of CSX’s intermodal and automotive sectors. Through her mentorship and community involvement, she continues to inspire and support the next generation of leaders in the industry.

Part 1 of Women in Rail Award 2024 can be found here

Part 2 of Women in Rail Award 2024 can be found here

Part 3 of Women in Rail Award 2024 can be found here

Part 5 of Women in Rail Award 2024 can be found here