Team Member Is on Track to Train Others

June 2022 — Barely a year into his role, Car Repairman Ed Zyhowski is well on his way to becoming a peer trainer for one of Watco’s largest railroads.

Zyhowski came to Watco’s Wisconsin & Southern Railroad (WSOR) in January 2021 having most recently worked as an asphalt laborer. He has caught on quickly to railcar repair and is sharing that knowledge with other newer teammates.

“Although he’s a newer team member himself, Ed has been taking all the newer team members under his wing and helping them progress,” said WSOR Superintendent of Railcar Derek Nyman. “Ed was not asked to do this; he took it upon himself, as he was able to catch on quickly. He’s kind of in the middle of the pack of new hires but has really caught on to the job. He’s taking these guys and showing them better ways of doing things or explaining the billing, showing them repairs – he’s leading them by example.”

Nyman said Zyhowski’s desire to learn is evident by his attention to detail. “We have an AAR (Association of American Railroads) book, which is how we bill and learn repairs. He’s always reading through it. If he’s unsure, he asks really good questions.”

Based on what Nyman reports, it’s a good thing Zyhowski is studying up, because “he’s told us he wants to learn as much of the job as he can so he can become a peer trainer.”

It seems he’s off to a good start. Besides delving into details and mentoring, Zyhowski is willing to put in extra work. His normal shift is a 10-hour day, Monday through Thursday, but he sometimes joins the weekend workers who inspect railcars. “He’s always volunteering to take on extra days,” noted Nyman. “He’s been known to take both Saturdays and Sundays. If we’ve got a guy who can’t work on the weekend, Ed’s one of the first to say, ‘Hey, I’ll take it.’”

Nyman says the WSOR is always looking for peer trainers who are good role models, people who come to work on time, work safely, and lead by example. Those on the path to peer trainer are tested to ensure they meet Federal Railroad Administration and in-house apprenticeship requirements.

By all accounts, Nyman thinks Zyhowski has the right stuff. “He’s really a good team member to have on board.”

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