Distinguished Service Award

Named for former ASLRRA Chair Thomas L. Schlosser, this award will be presented on an annual basis to recognize an individual for their long-term significant service to the ASLRRA.

To view the criteria for this award, please click here.

Congratulations to the 2024 Recipient, James A. Bowers

James A. Bowers has spent decades serving the short line railroad industry through his work as a certified public accountant (CPA) and the accounting firm he founded – Bowers and Company CPAs, now called Bowers CPAs & Advisors.

Before starting Bowers CPAs, Bowers earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from St. John Fisher University and started working as an accountant at Touche Ross (now Deloitte), where he eventually was named manager in charge at their Syracuse office. Bowers also spent several years as an adjunct professor of accounting at St. John Fisher.

Bowers decided to forge a new path in 1980 as one of the founding partners of Bowers CPAs. In the 44 years since its inception, Bowers CPAs has expanded to three office locations in New York and features a staff of over 130. The company’s railroad arm offers short lines assistance in a number of areas including financial reporting, mergers and acquisitions, grant administration, tax planning and compliance and payroll.

Bowers himself has long been a short line advocate. He was instrumental in the creation and passage of the short line railroad rehabilitation tax credit, known as the 45G tax credit. He has been an active member of ASLRRA’s Legislative Policy Committee and Finance and Administration (F&A) Committee, and once served as F&A Committee chair. In addition to having helped plan previous ASLRRA annual conferences, Bowers has eagerly shared his knowledge with fellow railroad professionals as a frequent speaker at the Association’s various events.

Bowers has also been active with other railroad organizations, such as the Railroads of New York (RONY) where he serves on the Board of Directors as an associate member. He is a member of several professional organizations as well including the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA).

This commitment to service is not limited only to the professional world. Bowers is active in his local community through work with organizations like the InterFaith Works, Transitional Living Services, Dunbar Association, St. Joseph the Worker Church and the Faith Hope Community Center, and his dedication has earned him numerous honors. In 2016 he received the Urbach CPA Community Builders Award, sponsored by the NYSSCPA and the New York Council of Non-Profits (NYCON). He and his wife Maureen received the Immaculata Award for Service from the Diocese of Syracuse in 2018, and in 2023 Bowers was named the Accounting Alumnus of the Year by St. John Fisher University.



Previous Thomas L. Schlosser Distinguished Service Award Winners



Jack Parliament


Richard Timmons


Carl Belke


Peter Gilbertson


Mort Fuller


Gary Griswell


George Betke


Keith Hartwell


Judy Petry


Mike Ogborn


Tom Schlosser