About Us

Watco is a full-service supply chain solutions company. We provide rail, transloading, terminal and port, and logistics services. Our privately owned company, headquartered in Pittsburg, Kansas, has nearly 5,000 team members and has been recognized by Forbes and Newsweek for our outstanding culture.

Since our founding in 1983, we have grown as an owner and operator of a diverse and unmatched network of short line railroads, terminals, and ports throughout North America and Australia. Using both Watco assets and a vast network of industry connections, our logistics division is a true third-party logistics (3PL) provider, giving unbiased service to find our customers the right shipping solutions.

 

Learn more about the Watco Journey.

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Our Foundation Principles

Our culture reflects the importance we place on customers, team members, and safety. It’s our belief that taking care of these three areas is the right way to take care of business.

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Value
Our Customers

Our company has heart and passion for serving customers and for solving any supply chain challenge.

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Value
Our People

Watco cares deeply about our people. We focus on bringing out the best in people, supporting their goals and offering opportunities for team members to develop their skills and broaden their experiences.

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Safely Improve
Every Day

Safety is at the center of everything Watco does. We look out for team members’ safety and overall well-being, doing everything in our power to return you home just as you arrived.

Safety At All Times

At Watco, nothing is more important than safety. It’s the cornerstone for everything we do.
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Delivering a Better Tomorrow

Sustainability is part of who we are and what we do every day. Watco seeks to shape a better future and is committed to being a well-governed, socially responsible, and environmentally conscious company. View our Sustainability Report.

Awards and Honors

When good people do good work, sometimes others notice. Watco team members are grateful and humbled to have received recognition for our culture and for our impact in our industry, our company, and our communities. Learn more.

Meet Our Leaders

Smart, but not showy. Big hearts, not big heads. Known for going out of their way to give others credit and put others first. Meet our executive team.

Dan Smith

Chief Executive Officer

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Dan Smith is Chief Executive Officer of Watco Companies, a role he has held since July 2018. Dan’s career with Watco started in 2009 with him spearheading the purchase of Greens Port, the largest multi-tenanted industrial park on the Gulf Coast. Since that time, he has taken on several roles of increasing responsibility. Prior to being named CEO, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Over the years, Dan has driven significant performance improvements for Watco. Under his leadership, Watco has achieved more than $1 billion in annual revenue through strategic planning and acquisitions. His vision and operational direction have been the driving force behind the successful integration of more than 150 new business locations since 2015. Dan has strengthened Watco’s safety culture and played an instrumental role in developing Watco’s Safety and Training Center, which provides team members with standardized training to safely perform their duties. Dan’s unwavering commitment to innovation and results led him to successfully realign operations, sales, safety, and marketing to better serve our customers. Dan is a member of the 2020 class of “50 Kansans You Should Know” presented by Ingram’s magazine, a business publication covering Kansas and Missouri. As for the team culture that Watco is known for, it’s only natural that Dan helps inspire it. He’s drawing on 13 years as a pitcher with five Major League Baseball organizations.

Rachael Peterson

Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer

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Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer Rachael Peterson oversees Watco operations and safety, along with the People Services and Marketing & Communications departments. Her responsibilities include making sure Watco team members are in the right position, inspired and prepared to execute the company’s business strategy, and that they have a path for leadership development. Rachael joined Watco in 2006 and has worked in various capacities since then. She is a member of multiple human resources and railroad industry organizations and serves on the board of directors for the American Association of Railroad Superintendents. Rachael earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, and a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.

Nick Coomes

Executive Vice President and Chief Solutions Officer

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As Watco’s Executive Vice President and Chief Solutions Officer, Nick Coomes ensures the company finds ways to say “yes” to customers while creating value for both them and Watco. To accomplish this, he leads the areas of customer solutions and sales, real estate and industrial development, service assurance, project design and engineering, construction management, and information technology. Nick is also responsible for initiatives that ensure Watco has the right assets in the right locations and in the right condition. In addition, he oversees the design and construction of industrial projects for Watco and customers as well as the implementation of technology solutions. Nick joined the Watco team in 2014. He received a bachelor’s degree in plastics engineering and a master’s degree in business administration from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas.

Andy Nielsen

Executive Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer

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Andy Nielsen joined the Watco team in 2015 as Vice President of Accounting and Finance and has held various financial positions in the company since that time. In his role today, Andy has accountability over all accounting functions, tax, daily cash management, risk management, and procurement. He led the professionalization and management of Watco’s annual capital plan and plays an integral role in the execution of acquisitions and investments. Prior to joining Watco, Andy was a divisional Chief Financial Officer at a global manufacturing, distribution, and technical solutions company. He began his career at KPMG, is a certified public accountant, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Kansas State University.

Rick Baden

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

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Rick Baden serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Watco. A certified public accountant with more than 30 years of experience in accounting, corporate finance, operations, and business leadership, Rick oversees company finance and  treasury operations. He is on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas board of directors and serves as a member of the Pittsburg Economic Development Advisory Committee. Before coming to Watco, Rick served as President and Chief Financial Officer of a $100 million plastics manufacturer based in Pittsburg, Kansas. Rick graduated magna cum laude from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Ed McGuire

Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer

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As Watco’s Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, Ed McGuire secures capital and assists in capital spending to help customers transform and grow their business. Ed joined the leadership team in July 2015 as Executive Vice President of Strategic Planning. He worked for 30 years in investment and corporate banking, most recently with BMO Capital Markets, working with transportation-based companies on mergers and acquisitions, debt financing, and raising equity capital. Ed also worked for three years in BMO’s Real Estate Capital Markets group, covering various real estate opportunity funds and real estate investment trusts. Prior to BMO Capital Markets, Ed was Chief Financial Officer at a privately held Chicago-based equipment leasing company and worked at Banque Nationale de Paris and Continental Illinois. Ed earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from the University of Iowa and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

How Our Company Began

Seeing opportunity in the newly deregulated railroad industry, Charles R. “Dick” Webb and his wife, Kaye Lynne, leveraged everything they had and purchased a locomotive. With eight team members, they started an industrial railcar switching operation in DeRidder, Louisiana, in 1983.

Their son, Rick Webb, joined the company full time in 1984, and together they added a railcar repair shop and a short line railroad. Later, the Webb family expanded into material handling and storage, transportation project design and development, and other aspects of moving commodities and products.

Besides laying the groundwork for Watco’s integrated services, Dick fostered an entrepreneurial spirit and instilled values of humility, fairness, and respect for others that endure today. The company still proudly serves its first client in Louisiana, as well as many others.

Rick built upon his dad’s vision as Watco’s Chief Executive Officer from 1998 to 2018. His focus and commitment to helping our customers succeed was a driving force behind the innovation and tremendous growth at Watco. Today, Watco serves customers across hundreds of locations in North America and Australia. Rick continues to lend his considerable expertise and insight to the company and industry. He serves as Watco’s Executive Chairman and as a member of the board of directors for the National Industrial Transportation League.