We don’t have to tell you — 2020 has been a year of adaptation. This holds true for the rail industry, as it does for every other aspect of how we live and do business. The advent of COVID-19 shifted the way we connect with and relate to our colleagues and clients, introducing us to family pets and kids, giving us glimpses into each other’s homes and lives away from work. Thankfully, this transition to working from home has generally been a smooth one; we have discovered new tools for completing work and developed new routines for managing staff to keep work on track.
Within Hanson, we transitioned our rail market leadership role. Gary Potts, P.E., who directed our market unit for 15 years, will continue in a client relationship manager role, and Mat Fletcher, P.E., S.E., who led our rail bridge group for the past 10 years, has stepped into the position of railway market principal. We also expanded our internal practice groups, allowing us to broaden the experience and expertise of our staff and create a larger team to use on project assignments.
For our clients in the rail industry, the decline in year-over-year carload numbers has transitioned our focus to precision scheduled railroading initiatives, including siding extensions; yard capacity improvements and entry and exit efficiencies; new bridge construction, double-track additions and realignments at key capacity chokepoints; and designing and constructing bridge replacements for functionally obsolete bridges. We have continued to support these and other projects with permitting activities throughout the country.
Looking forward to 2021, we are optimistic in our expectations for business growth for our railroad clients. We will focus on helping our clients reduce the overall cost of the delivery and ownership of their capital assets within the right of way. Even though much has changed over the past year, we stand ready for the challenges 2021 might bring, and we know some things will remain constant. We will continue our efforts to support our clients’ growth through new and unique approaches to deliver engineering services.