Safety Vanguard: Bayson Oxuzidis Trailblazes Path at Union Pacific

Bayson Oxuzidis with Jim Vena and Eric Gehringer | L

The 2023 J.C. Kenefick Safety Award winner Bayson Oxuzidis with, from left, Chief Executive Officer Jim Vena; Bayson’s wife, Jennifer; and Eric Gehringer, executive vice president-Operations.

Under the harsh gaze of the Sonoran sun, one leader’s approach to safety is as relentless as the desert heat itself. That quiet force is Bayson Oxuzidis, a dedicated Union Pacific rail car technician of more than 18 years.

Known for his innovative spirit and team-oriented philosophy, Oxuzidis has been recognized with the railroad’s highest individual honor, the J.C. Kenefick Safety Award.

“It’s a big deal,” said Oxuzidis. “But there’s a bunch of good people in this department, so it’s a win for us all.”

His off-duty contributions and commitment to the peer-to-peer program have sparked a change within the greater Los Angeles Service Unit. Though difficult to quantify, the results can be felt by teammates on the shop floor.

Bayson Oxuzidis accepts Kenefick Award at 2024 Leadership Conf. | L

Bayson Oxuzidis gives his acceptance speech at the 2024 Leadership Conference in Omaha.

“I know it’s working because I can tangibly see it,” said Gary Jenkins, manager-Mechanical Maintenance. “The team is interacting more, and morale has improved.”

“I think everybody feels like he’s putting Tucson, Arizona on the map,” said John Garcia, fellow rail car technician. “It’s a different culture here, the team is a whole lot tighter.”

Under Oxuzidis’ watch, the Tucson team designed a special peer-to-peer lottery.

Crew members draw lottery balls linked to a specific work task. These tasks range from routine cleanups, like picking up empty water bottles and trash bins, to more comprehensive checks like inspecting fire extinguishers and conducting safety walkthroughs.

The randomness of the draw ensures no task is overlooked and everyone contributes. For 100% task completion each month, the team earns a free lunch from management and a chance to win prizes.

“Every spin of the lottery ball, every small task we complete, it all adds up,” Oxuzidis said. “These little wins are building blocks to create a stronger and safer environment for us all.”

This collective effort echoes the railroad’s core mission: to make sure everyone goes home safe.

For the crew in Tucson, this means thinking of safety as a shared commitment.

“It’s contagious,” said Josh Dominguez, manager-Mechanical Maintenance. “He’s created a culture where everyone helps each other whenever they can.”

Amid his achievements, Oxuzidis remains grounded by the unwavering support of his family. Their pride in his accomplishments underscores the personal sacrifices and dedication behind his success.

“I’m very happy my family supports me in this way,” he said. “Their pride in my work is what keeps me grounded and drives me forward.”

2023 J.C. Kenefick Safety Award finalists:

  • Roger Martinson, conductor, Transportation Northern Region
  • Charles Carr, brakeperson, Transportation Southern Region

2023 Kenefick Award Winner: Bayson Oxuzidis

Bayson Oxuzidis has been recognized with the railroad’s highest individual honor, the J.C. Kenefick Safety Award.

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