Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough for Track Inspector
April 2022 — When it comes to Christopher “Todd” Droddy, his teammates at the Louisiana Southern Railroad (LAS) can’t say enough good things about him.
Hired as a track laborer in 2013, Droddy moved up to foreman and eventually track inspector of the LAS. His latest promotion has given him the chance to shine, according to Droddy’s direct supervisor Judson Rogers. “Todd has really progressed over the years and does an excellent job for his team. He takes ownership and pride in everything he does,” Rogers said.
LAS General Manager Blake Smith agrees with Roger’s assessment. “Todd is the definition of a success story. He knocks it out of the park as a track inspector,” Smith said.
So, what makes Droddy different? To start, he proactively takes on projects, even if it falls outside his scope of responsibilities. Most recently, he painted all the switch stands and clearance points on the railroad. Now both are easily recognizable to all regardless of the time of day.
“The conductors and I never have to ask Todd to do something; he just does it,” LAS Trainmaster Brett Norris said. “He makes work easier for the transportation crew. His dedication is evident through his work and the way he acts.”
Droddy is known for his attention to detail. As a track inspector, he regularly assesses all parts of the LAS. From checking elevation and ties to making repairs, Droddy not only keeps the track compliant with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) but takes an extra step.
Despite each rail having space for four bolts, FRA regulations only require the installation of two. The FRA may not deem all four bolts necessary for safe operations, but Droddy does. Now each rail on the LAS has all four bolts installed thanks to his dedicated efforts. Smith best describes Droddy’s work ethic with: “Good enough is not good enough for Todd.”
His positive attitude rubs off on the entire LAS crew. That’s because Droddy doesn’t just deliver orders; he also follows through by helping with repairs. According to LAS Car Repair Manager Aaron Porter, younger teammates respect Droddy because he’s walked in their shoes before.
Porter said, “Like a lot of these younger guys, Todd joined the LAS unsure of his long-term goals. With a little guidance and trust, he’s developed into a wonderful leader. He overcomes any negativity with ‘come on, let’s get this job done.’”