Notice: Annual Business Meeting, Industry Speaker

If things were different, you would have had the opportunity to shake hands with Ray Starling on Oct. 28 in Orlando.

As it is, you have the opportunity to hear his thoughts on what shortline industry executives most need to watch in 2021 as the political and economic dust settles on 2020.

The Association will send an email invitation to join a Zoom meeting at 10:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, Oct. 28.

The 60-minute session will include the Association’s annual business meeting, including remarks from Association President Janea Danuser and First Vice President Matt Westendorf and the election of directors to the board.

Most of the session will be dedicated to Starling’s presentation and questions from attendees.

Starling joined the White House staff in 2017 as special assistant to the president for agricultural policy. In 2018, he became chief of staff for USDA’s Sonny Perdue. He returned to his home state of North Carolina in 2019 to serve as general counsel to the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce.
Starling grew up on his family farm in North Carolina, an experience he characterized as having the greatest influence on his life.

Starling plans to offer no-nonsense insights on the issues that will demand shortline manufacturers’ attention as we move beyond the 2020 election and COVID-19. He will let us know what industry issues are keeping him awake at night.

Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions during the Zoom session but are encouraged to submit questions in advance. Email Kristi Ruggles at

Because the annual business meeting is virtual, the Association intends to handle the nominating process in advance of Oct. 28.

If you would like to nominate someone for a director’s seat, contact Mike Kloster for more information. Kloster is chairman of the Nominating Committee for Directors. His email address is Other committee members are Don Landoll, Marc McConnell, and Ric Kirby.

Directors are central to the Association’s work of identifying legislative priorities, growing membership, raising visibility, and stewarding the Association’s resources.

The elected directors’ three-year terms begins Oct. 28.