Watco Companies hosted a ribbon cutting near Fairfield, Alabama, at the state-of-the-art STAT (Safety Through Awareness and Training) Center. Hundreds of Team members from around the country will be trained each year in the new facility. Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington and others joined Watco CEO Rick Webb, Chief Operating Officer Dan Smith, Senior Vice President of Safety and Training Travis Herod, Vice President of Safety and Training Ron Martin, Senior Vice President of People Services Rachael Peterson, Senior Vice President of Operations Keith LaCaze, and Senior Vice President of Transportation Rules and Regulatory Compliance Gary Vaughn, in cutting the ribbon.
“The important thing to focus on is what this will do for Watco,” Travis Herod, Watco senior vice president of safety and training, said. “It’s taking our training to the next level, incorporating the same modern training technologies and tools that Class 1s are using, equipping people better in the field to operate new equipment and to work more safely and efficiently.”
The STAT Center was created as efforts to provide standardized safety training were ramped up. The addition of the STAT Center allows for team members to receive the same training regardless of their location. The new facility features classroom space, breakout session space, a functional model railroad to assist in non-traditional learning instruction of railroad operations, a simulator room with two FRA Type II Simulators, two portable desktop type simulators, and an indoor components training area with a cutaway railcar, air brake simulator rack and other hands-on tools for training operating and mechanical personnel.
Herod served as master of ceremonies while Smith, Webb, and Commissioner Carrington provided additional comments.
Following the ribbon cutting, guests were invited to tour the facility and test drive the simulators. Several Team members were attending training at the Center and were able to visit with guests about their experience from a student’s perspective.