Executive Committee Meeting Minutes — Conference Call – September 11, 2018

MARP Executive Committee
Phone Conference Call
11 September 2018, 7:00-8:15pm

Present:  Steve Vagnozzi, Tom Purmort, John Langdon, Adam Tauno Williams, Kay Chase, Joshua Hamilton

Absent: Charles Shong, Robert Tischbein, Robert Patterson, Mark Miller

Call to Order: Meeting called to order at 7:03 pm. Vagnozzi asked Purmort to preside.

Approval of Minutes: Minutes of May 29 and July 28 meetings approved with two corrections:

  • May 29, budget discussion on page two, should read “Langdon moves, Miller seconds, to amend the motion to add $500 grant to DUSI, and change “Dues To” line item to $425 (from $400).”
  • July 28, under V.(b) Southwest Chief letter, strike “that the transfers at Dodge City would take place at 5:25 am and 12:27 am; also”. The sentence will then read “Following discussion, motion passed unanimously with the addition that the letter be cc’ed to the entire Michigan Congressional delegation.

Art Prize Event on 28 September: Will take place 6:30-9:00pm, 28 September, at One Bourbon, 608 Bridge St NW, Grand Rapids MI 49504 and feature Elaine S. Wilson who will talk about her series of paintings “Charting the Wolverine”. Williams states he is modeling the event on one often used by non-profits to network and raise money. He has reached out to a number of transportation-related groups in Grand Rapids via social media. Tickets offered online at no cost, but a donation of $15 is suggested. Our expenses will be covered if at least 30 people respond. Information is on the MARP Facebook page:       https://www.facebook.com/events/460998630974214/

October member meeting: There will be no member meeting in October since the Annual Meeting occurs in early November. Executive committee will have a conference call on October 9.

Annual Meeting:  Scheduled for November 10, 10am-2pm, O’Kelly’s Banquet Hall, Dearborn MI. Keynote speaker will be Paul Larouche, a retired Bombardier Sr. Mgt.  Engineer. Suggestions for other speakers: MDOT, Amtrak, Rick Harnish, James Bruckbauer. Vagnozzi reminds that MDOT is traditionally invited to speak at the January meeting.  Langdon suggests 2 or 3 short presentations under the umbrella of Michigan By Rail: West Michigan Express, A2TC. Appointed to work with Williams on the Annual Meeting. Langdon, Chase. Cost will be $25. Langdon contacted Jim Wallington who is not optimistic that Larry Swartz will make a donation this year to cover speaker expenses.

Nominating committee: Vagnozzi will contact Clark Charnetski, Steve Sobel and Hugh Gurney by 20th September about serving as the nominating committee.

Membership committee: Committee established by Resolution with one of the four At-Large Executive Committee members (currently Robert Tischbein) as Coordinator. Decision to defer naming of committee members until new slate of officers is named in November. Purmort will reach out to Tischbein to see if he is on same page and prepared to move forward with activating a committee.

Budget Committee: Vagnozzi, as Treasurer, will chair. Will reach out to Mark Miller and Hugh Gurney who served last year.

Regional Chair Reports:

Hamilton:   Spoke to caretaker at East Lansing station to get an idea what MARP could do to make the passenger experience better in the absence of station agents. Traveled to Port Huron and observed that many passengers are first-timers and are confused and apprehensive. Suggests developing a poster with FAQs, maybe a video on how to ride the train. Also spoke with Nick Little and Andreas Hoffrichter, MSU Rail Program, about getting on campus for a MARP sponsored event.  Vagnozzi will work with Hamilton to design something for the electronic boards in KAL, BTL, PNT. Hamilton asks who to contact at Amtrak about doing a “how-to-ride-the-train” video. Langdon will brief Hamilton on working with Amtrak. Also suggests he get acquainted with the station caretakers and volunteers involved in the bikes on trains poster campaign.

Other reports:

Langdon:   Reports great success and excellent volunteer effort in distributing “Ride the Rails to Michigan Trails” posters. Success in working with residence hall directors in gaining access to campuses. A major benefit of this project is to demonstrate to MDOT Office of Rail that MARP can mobilize and successfully carry out a project. MDOT paid for printing the posters and may do another round in the spring. Chase mentions the MDOT and Trails Magazine websites that have detailed trail maps and excellent information. Wonders how this information might be conveyed along with the posters.

Langdon:  Reports that MARP will give a grant of $500 out of our MEC Michigan By Rail grant funds to support West Michigan Express in conducting a survey.

Langdon:  Reports that John Guidinger has asked MARP to collaborate in printing 3,000 Michigan train schedules to be distributed to all stations. The $700 cost will be covered with $350 from the Outreach budget and $350 from Guidinger via a “grant” to MARP.  Amtrak and MDOT have given the OK to place in stations.

Vagnozzi:   Reports that he has received no response from Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson to our letter regarding the proposal to segment the route of the Southwest Chief, transferring passengers to buses between Dodge City KS and Albuquerque NM. The letter was also sent to the Michigan Congressional delegation last week. No response at this time.

Purmort:  Will develop a matrix for managing action items and as a guide to keep moving forward. He will send this to executive committee members.

Meeting adjourned at 8:17pm.

Respectfully submitted,

                       Kay Chase                                             Steve Vagnozzi_________________   Acting Secretary                                                          Chair