On January 1 2021, Katie Farmer will become the first female chief executive of a Class I railroad, BNSF. Farmer knows BNSF inside out. She’s held leadership positions in every major function of the company, starting as a 22-year-old management trainee at predecessor Burlington Northern in 1992. At BNSF, Farmer will oversee a 32,500-route-mile network that spans 28 states and three Canadian provinces for parent company Berkshire Hathaway Inc, and lead the Board of Directors. Among Farmer’s priorities: driving productivity and delivering the kind of service BNSF customers have come to expect; modelling the way for communication across the railroad and ensuring that connections continue to be made with all the constituencies it touches; supporting employees, some 36,000, so they too, can reach their full potential by taking advantage of the professional development opportunities she was afforded. In this wide-ranging interview with Railway Age Executive Editor, Marybeth Luczak, Katie Farmer talks about leading the railroad and its workforce, “the hard-working men and women at BNSF.” Podcast sponsored by TrinityRail.

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