Veterans Engagement Award

ASLRRA’s Veterans Engagement Award honors industry employers who demonstrate positive policies toward U.S. veterans and who implement unique programs and practices to hire, recognize, support, and engage with veterans in the workplace and the broader community. The award program is open to all ASLRRA railroad and supplier members, and nominations detail that ways in which the applicant company engages with veterans in the workplace and community throughout the year; highlight company programs and activities that support and recognize veterans in the workplace and in the community; and outline efforts to target veterans in company hiring practices.

Click here to learn more about the important programs and activities of ASLRRA member employers who prioritize hiring, engaging and supporting veterans in the workplace and in the community.

2022 Veterans Engagement Award Winner: Pacific Harbor Line

Pacific Harbor
L-R: Matt Walsh, ASLRRA Chair; Rick VanZee, Superintendent, Pacific Harbor Line Railroad;
Otis Cliatt, President, Pacific Harbor Line Railroad; Chuck Baker, ASLRRA President

ASLRRA congratulates member Pacific Harbor Line (PHL) for winning the Association’s Veterans Engagement Award. The Veterans Engagement Award recognizes an ASLRRA member employer that demonstrates positive policies toward U.S. veterans and who implements unique programs and practices to hire, recognize, support and engage with veterans in the workplace and the broader community.

When it comes to its workforce, PHL has demonstrated a commitment to recruiting veterans and members of the National Guard and military reserves. Such hiring efforts include attending job fairs for veterans and having a table at local veterans’ events to introduce attendees to PHL and its employment opportunities. The railroad also coordinates with the Pacific Gateway Workforce Innovation Network to identify military-affiliated candidates. As a result, approximately 25 percent of PHL’s employees have served or are serving in the military, and a recent class of new hires set a record with 55 percent of incoming employees identifying as military veterans.

In recognition of its efforts to support employees who are also members of the National Guard or reserves, PHL has received the Pro Patria Award and the Patriot Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, an office of the Department of Defense. PHL offers one-on-one support for employees while they are out on active duty and makes sure their families are doing well in the service member’s absence. To honor all its military-affiliated employees, PHL highlights them in the railroad’s annual newsletter, which is distributed to the hundreds of companies with which PHL does business.

“Short line railroads have long recognized the value that military veterans bring to our industry,” said Baker. “Pacific Harbor Line has emerged as a leader in recruiting, recognizing, and supporting veterans and their families as they build careers in short line freight railroading. Bringing veterans into the short line environment is a win-win-win-win for the employee, the railroad, the industry, and the country. We’re so pleased to recognize PHL’s efforts in this field.”

Award Criteria

The award program is open to all ASLRRA Railroad and Supplier members who submit an online application addressing the following questions:

  • How have you engaged with veterans over the last year? Examples include hiring, promotions, company donations, etc.
  • How have you supported or recognized veterans in the workplace or in the community?
  • How have you targeted veterans in your hiring practices?


Submit your nomination


Each year’s winner is awarded and recognized at ASLRRA’s Annual Conference & Exhibition. Information provided by nominees may be shared on ASLRRA’s website and may also be highlighted in the association’s print and electronic publications. Please contact Sabrina Waiss with questions.