Teammate Takes Initiative as a Mentor

February 2022 — We’ve all been in that place where some information the instructor taught that day just did not click. We wished someone could make everything clear. 

During training at the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad, that someone was Adam Pope. It was the last day of a four-day training session, and the lesson was on air brakes. “It was obvious that one person was struggling a bit, with the overwhelming amount of information being presented,” says Matt Budda, Lead Locomotive Mechanic, who was in the class. Budda was impressed with how Pope aided the Watco newcomer. 

Their class had reached a hands-on portion of training, and the students were waiting while the instructor and a couple of seasoned teammates “broke” some equipment in order for the students to figure out what was wrong and fix it. “Adam seemed to have a strong grasp of the information being taught and took the reins,” Budda says. While everyone was waiting, Pope, a Locomotive Mechanic, approached the team member to help. He’d only been at Watco for seven months. “Adam took him aside. It was discreet, and it was welcomed.

“Seeing him do that, I was taken aback. It’s a side of Adam I never really saw. He’s a mentor.”

Budda continued to commend Pope.

“Adam went beyond what he had to do, not just to explain the schematics to him, but actually take the one-on-one time and show him the components on the locomotive and make a difference, to help him see and understand exactly what was going on with the lesson.

“He even gave him copies of extra resource information for the field. A majority of the class was just standing around waiting, but Adam made the most of the downtime to share some knowledge that will help the career of a new team member, from another railroad, flourish.

“Kudos to Adam Pope. We could use a few more like him.”

Read about others like Adam who are making a difference at Watco and beyond. See more stories