'Each Day Is Surreal': Union Pacific Craft Professional Finds Home on the Railroad

J'Raud Mock Main Image placeholder | MR

From left, Richard Zientek, Union Pacific senior director-Public Affairs; Tarsha Jackson, Houston City Council member; and J’Raud Mock, Union Pacific yardperson.

Growing up in Houston, J’Raud Mock was used to seeing Union Pacific trains passing by in the background without giving them too much thought.

“Now I tell my youngest siblings, whenever you see a train – I could be on it,” he said.

Mock, a yardperson in Union Pacific’s Settegast Yard in Houston, joined the railroad nearly one year ago.

“Each day is surreal to me, being in the vicinity of Union Pacific,” he said.

Mock, seeking a stable job, attended a job fair held by BeSuccessful, a program launched by Houston Council Member Tarsha Jackson to improve residents’ quality of life. There he connected with Union Pacific's Ken Kuwamura, manager-Talent Acquisition, who kept in close communication through the hiring process and beyond.

“It’s been a good experience from the beginning,” Mock said. “My family was ecstatic before I even completed training. For me to have a career without going to college, it makes my entire family proud. I appreciate all the support and faith my family has in me. They kept pushing me forward to elevate my state of being.”

J'Raud Mock profile secondary image | MR

J'Raud Mock, Union Pacific yardperson in Houston's Settegast Yard.

Without a vehicle, Mock took the bus to work every day while in training. Now, through his hard work and determination, he’s obtained his own vehicle and has a goal of purchasing a home for his mother.

Mock likes going to work every day and being around his teammates.

“I enjoy the remote-control operations,” he said. “It’s a cool system. I also like working in the bowl, getting the trains together. There’s a lot of opportunity with Union Pacific, and I can see myself being in the locomotive engineer’s seat one day and retiring from here.”

Mock shared his success story at a recent BeSuccessful event, where Union Pacific was honored with the ‘Most Valuable Partner’ award for supporting the organization’s workforce development initiative through the railroad’s Community Ties Giving Program.

This partnership, including efforts by Kuwamura and Richard Zientek, senior director-Public Affairs, has led to Union Pacific hiring eight individuals from the BeSuccessful program, with more in the application process.

“I appreciate Union Pacific giving J’Raud a chance to have meaningful employment,” Jackson said. “There are many other young men and women in my district who are much like J’Raud. They just need someone to give them a chance. They are ready to work hard, to contribute. This is what BeSuccessful is about, giving people opportunities so they can improve their lives, and UP is one of our best partners in this effort.”

Outside of work, Mock enjoys writing poetry, playing basketball and watching movies.

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