Michigan State University (MSU) recently received a gift from a principal donor to establish a railway management program. Dennis J Gilstad, CEO, founder and controlling owner of FCM Rail, a railroad equipment and financial services company in Fenton, has contributed US$1,000,000 towards the development of this initiative. Gilstad’s contribution helped establish the Edward A Burkhardt Chair in Railway Management at MSU. The chair is named in honor of Edward A Burkhardt, founder, president and CEO of Rail World and Rail World Holdings LLC, and a leader in railway management for nearly 50 years. The Burkhardt Chair will serve as the foundation of Railway Management programming at MSU.

“I have a vision that an institute will evolve into a world class center that will educate the next generation of leaders in the rail and transportation industry,” Mr Gilstad said. “This effort should culminate in degree programs that will be defined by the market demand of the national and international rail communities.”

Consisting of four one-week sessions conducted within a six-month period, the first course will begin in January. Targeted at mid-career railway managers seeking to become executives, the course includes both classroom and online components. Using case studies, participants will work in teams on substantive projects designed to reinforce principles presented in class. Course content will include railroad operations and networking, management skills, and decision-making.