Midwest Member Profile: Anne Treadway, TTX
By Kathy McGrath, LRIW Midwest Regional Director
When I was asked write an article about a woman in the rail industry whom I admire, I immediately thought of Anne Treadway, TTX’s Assistant General Counsel. In her early career, she worked as regulatory lawyer for the railroads working to forestall onerous regulations that prevented progress, but she found a home at TTX in 2003 in its Law Department. Anne will be retiring this year and I hope to share her story as a woman who moved our industry forward through hard work and dedication to the railroads.
In 1973, Anne was an intern at the Senate Commerce Committee in Washington, D.C., just as six large railroads had gone bankrupt. Following the bankruptcy crisis, the resulting legislation created Conrail out of those entities, which included Penn Central, Central Railroad of New Jersey, Erie Lackawanna, Lehigh & Hudson River, Lehigh Valley, and Reading. The government acquired the rail assets from the bankrupt estates and appropriated funds needed to rebuild tracks, locomotives and freight cars.
After her internship, Anne completed her JD degree then reached out to her former boss in D.C., Paul Cunningham who suggested she look into working for Conrail, which had begun operating as an independent entity. He believed the opportunity would be exciting, given the problems faced by a company consisting of former bankrupt companies. Onboard a train, Anne interviewed with the Vice President – Law and got the job.
During the early years at Conrail, Anne said the equipment was under-maintained, employees were from six different railroad cultures, the route system needed to be knitted together, and various labor agreements harmonized. In the Law Department, new financing requirements along with property transfer and commercial changes needed to be addressed. Conrail lost $1 million daily in its first years.
Although each year brought somewhat better results, Conrail was still hobbled by regulation. In response, Congress passed the Staggers Act, which brought substantial economic deregulation to the industry and let the railroads shape their service and rate offerings much more than in the past. By 1981, Conrail began its financial turnaround and, for the first time, turned a small profit.
With Conrail becoming financially self-sustaining, the US Department of Transportation sold its ownership interest in Conrail through what was at the time the largest initial public stock offering in the nation’s history, $1.9 billion for the taxpayers, returning the Northeast – Midwest rail freight system to the private sector as a for-profit corporation. A decade later, CSX and Norfolk Southern bought Conrail.
Through these years, Anne worked principally as a regulatory lawyer, defending the railroad’s rates, arguing competitive access cases, car hire cases, and exemption matters. She was in the first flush of railroad attorneys to write transportation contracts (permitted under Staggers) and represented the company in the Delaware & Hudson bankruptcy. In the meantime, she met and married another Conrail attorney, Dennis Arouca, who later became Vice President – Labor Relations, and they started a family.
In 1999, following the break-up of Conrail, Anne moved with her husband to Chicago and for the next four years became a full-time mom to her two sons, Philip and David, ages 14 and 12. As the boys settled down in their new community, Anne decided to return to practicing law and started looking for jobs in the rail industry.
Anne joined TTX in 2003. Even though TTX is part of the railroad industry, the new job was different from Conrail. Instead of a staff of 35 lawyers, TTX has three. This meant Anne had to be flexible and practice in a variety of new areas. She feels that TTX is a wonderful opportunity for a lawyer because it is both a for-profit corporation and owned by railroad competitors which is a novel structure. It also manages three railroad car pools, which are subject to STB regulation. It’s a structure that provides many interesting legal issues and requires a wide breadth of legal experience.
Reminiscing with Anne about her railroading career, I asked her about her early experiences as a woman in the industry. Anne laughed, recalling that when she was first hired as a Conrail attorney, one of the secretaries asked where she was going to use the restroom. Back then, they had a women’s bathroom, but it was strictly used for the administrative staff and there were no female attorneys.
When I asked Anne what she thought contributed to her successful career, she said luck, citing the opportunity to be a part of Conrail then be hired by TTX, both fabulous jobs. She also attributes her success to hard work and remaining easy to get along with. The best advice she can give women entering the industry is to be a team player, seize opportunities to shine but not at the risk of others, be open and sensitive to others, and believe that you make a difference each day.
After 33 years in the industry, Anne will retire in June. In retirement, she plans to help draft the history of TTX and volunteer with the League of Women Voters. She also plans to spend summers in Michigan and help out with her grandchildren.
We thank Anne for her contributions to this industry and wish her the best in her retirement.