Prior to founding Rio Grande Pacific Corporation in 1986, Richard Bertel helped co-found Trax Engineering & Associates, Inc., and served as president and chief operating officer for a regional railroad track rehabilitation and construction firm operating in Texas, Oklahoma and the southwestern United States. In addition, he has been involved in short line and regional start-ups, turnarounds, and transition management for both public and private railroad owners. Rick completed his graduate studies with an MBA in Economics and Finance from Texas Christian University.
Robert Bach joined Rio Grande Pacific as its president in 2011. Prior to RGPC, Mr. Bach spent 30 years in private practice with a law firm in Minneapolis, Minn. During his career, he developed extensive expertise in the legal and business issues confronting short line railroads, which provides him with a broad understanding of the role of short line railroads in commerce, and the related advantages the industry provides to its customers. Mr. Bach received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa, and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota.
As vice president of administration, Patti Matson is responsible for the annual analysis, pricing negotiations and placement of all lines of insurance for RGPC and its subsidiaries. Patti also manages all contract review and compliance related to agreements with Class I railroads, governmental entities, lending institutions, real estate holdings, leases, and sub-contractor agreements. Her position coordinates the company’s legal representation, and she serves as the corporate DBE liaison and human resource manager.
Scott Traylor joined Rio Grande Pacific Corporation in early 1993, bringing considerable years of business acumen and experience from a wide variety of working environments. His analytical approach to business and market development has helped lead Rio Grande Pacific through substantial, yet disciplined growth. Prior to RGPC, Scott was the co-founder of a multi-faceted construction firm and responsible for many aspects of the operation, including business development, marketing, project analysis, bid review, contract negotiation, and project oversight.
Mike Haeg leads commercial planning, customer relationships and marketing strategies that build on the foundation of RGPC’s extensive rail operations. Mike began his short line career with KYLE Railways Inc. as its first vice president of marketing and sales. Mike is a member of the Surface Transportation Board Grain Car Counsel and a member of UP’s Short Line Advisory Group. He holds a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and a masters in international management from the American Graduate School of International Management.
A third generation railroader, Mitch Harris began his career with the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1978 and entered the short line industry in 1993. For more than 20 years, Mitch has been instrumental in the development, implementation and management of RGPC’s safety policies and programs. Mitch played a key role in the creation of the newly formed Short Line Safety Institute. He currently serves as vice-chairman to the ASLRRA Safety & Training Committee and is RGPC’s primary liaison to the FRA.
As vice president of finance, Chris Bertel’s role includes financial planning and forecasting, examining short term and long term liquidity needs, analyzing potential target acquisitions or new business ventures, collaborating with other departments on pricing strategies for new business, assisting in capital planning and development, compliance reporting for Senior Lenders and reviewing capital markets and economic trends. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Stephen F. Austin State University and an MBA from the University of North Texas.
As Rio Grande Pacific’s Controller, Brent Burns enforces the highest level of business ethics while providing value-added innovations and solutions to the current, ever-changing industry climate. Prior to joining RGPC, Brent was a corporate financial consultant specializing in management and information systems. His skills include merger and acquisition expertise as well as organizational design and business control evaluations, and treasury management services. He holds an MBA in finance.