Kansas Conductor Is Always Doing Something Extra

OCTOBER 2023 – It’s hard to say if it’s his years of experience, his work ethic, or a bit of both. But Kevin Schoenhofer, a conductor/engineer for the South Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad (SKOL), just seems to know the extra things to do without being asked.

That’s the observation of Conductor Todd Callahan, who’s worked for five years alongside Schoenhofer, who is going on his 23rd year at Watco.

“He’s always doing something extra for the company,” says Callahan. One example: Upon learning of a local railroad club event, he rearranged his personal schedule to volunteer to help with passenger train rides on Watco’s SKOL in Chanute, Kansas.

Another of the extras Schoenhofer pursues regularly is cleanup duty.

“He’s always vacuuming when he gets free time,” says Callahan. “We don’t even have to have a cleaning crew” at the Chanute depot.

Besides tidying the depot, Schoenhofer attends to the crew truck, staying a little after his shift to vacuum and wipe it down. And he doesn’t overlook the locomotives. “He makes sure they’re all cleaned up,” Callahan notes.

In addition to his cleanliness, Schoenhofer is organized. He makes sure cars delivered to customers are not only the required cars but also are in the order that he knows the customers prefer. “He just does that to be helpful to customers,” says Callahan. “He knows it’s easier on them.”

He helped SKOL customers a few years ago when Watco was temporarily without some of its software for car spotting, tracking, and tracing. Fortunately for the SKOL, Schoenhofer maintains paper records in a filing cabinet, and Callahan believes Schoenhofer’s backup files were a big reason why the SKOL operations were largely uninterrupted.

Callahan is impressed at Schoenhofer’s all-around commitment. He says: “Even after nearly 23 years, he still has this level of dedication to the company and shows initiative. Nobody tells him to do it; it’s just something that he does.”

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