Rod Atchison, railcar repair leader at North Kansas City for the last 36 years
North Kansas City may sound like it’s big city counterpart, but it’s actually a small town community nestled in the Kansas City metropolis. To most, it’s known for its mouthwatering BBQ, craft beer, and acres of parks. To our customers, it’s known for its second-to-none full-service repair facility sitting on the BNSF, ready to solve issues across tanks and hoppers.
This March NKC’s General Foreman, Rod Atchison, will be retiring, and he will be missed as Rod’s contagious smile has led this team for the last 36 years.
Rod has been an inspiration for many at NKC and across AITX based on his work-ethic and commitment to service. We asked Rod, what he will remember most about AITX… and his answer was simple:
“I look back fondly on how the company culture continues to change for the better. Opportunity existing for everyone. Hourly employees see a path and actually want to be part of the management team.”
The advice he gives to others that share a similar vision for AITX is:
“Engage in transparency in the workplace. Share key information at all levels and empower good people to make good decisions.”
We like to ask people on their way out about a tough repair that they recall. Rod had certain customers that had more challenging repairs due to commodity type or industry and others that may have had a team-unifying level of expectations. However, what most stands out is the changes in regulations and the amount of training needed to be certified for railcar repairs.
“We used to be able to do a leak-test on day 2, now it seems like one needs to have a degree in “leakology.” We joke about it. But, our current group has a level of qualifications and knowledge that is unmatched. Overall, it has made our company better.”
Our hunch is Rod’s next job may be even harder as Great Grandpa Rod has a new home 100 miles SE on beautiful Truman Reservoir where him and his wife, Mary, will have a full house with their four children, seven grandkids, one great grand kid, and their pup Bella. Rod’s an avid hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman so they better let him know when their coming, if they want to see him.
But do not expect Rod to forget his AITX family so quickly…
“There are so many wonderful people I have worked with. It has been my honor to work with all of you.”