In early March, the college welcomed Dr. Steve Predmore, vice president and chief safety officer at Amtrak. Amtrak strives to deliver a high quality, safe and on-time rail passenger service to millions of customers every year. Predmore has more than 30 years of experience in the transportation industry having previously worked for Delta Airlines, MV Transportation, JetBlue and the National Transportation Safety Board.  

His talk primarily focused on safety management systems (SMS) and safety careers for Amtrak. Predmore discussed the numerous challenges for managing SMS across the United States made worse by the fact Amtrak only owns about three percent of the 21,500 miles of track they operate. Predmore stressed that SMS is a journey, not a quick fix, and you won’t know how well SMS is until an emergency occurs. SMS operates within a larger system of influence which includes regulators, company policies, partners and customers. Another challenge of SMS Predmore stressed is competing safety management approaches and the lack of subject matter experts. Lastly, he provided keys to effective safety management, stating that procedure compliance is essential to SMS because there are many single points of failure. The theme across all modes is the human element and it speaks to the importance of culture.  

At the end of his presentation, students and faculty had the opportunity to ask Predmore questions regarding grade crossings, improving SMS and how to mitigate human errors in SMS for the future.