Kayla Sudds started her Union Pacific career in late 2021, but she has a decade-long reputation to uphold.
Her mother, Rolette Sudds, has been rock-solid as a brakeperson in Strang, Texas, since 2012. The eldest Sudds has garnered the respect of her colleagues, known for being a hard worker and someone they can rely on to do a great job.
“There’s a little pressure because my mom has made a good name for herself,” Kayla Sudds said. “I have to live up to it.”
The mother-daughter duo is a rare sight on the railroad, where female workers make up 5.3% of Union Pacific’s total workforce. Their generational story is even rarer.
“When I found out Kayla wanted to come out to the railroad, I was a little surprised and excited that my baby would be working with me,” Rolette Sudds said.
Union Pacific is celebrating trailblazers like the Sudds as it focuses on doubling female representation to 11% by 2030 as part of its diversity, equity and inclusion goals to better reflect the communities it serves.
“I think there should be more women out here,” Kayla Sudds said. “They probably have this image in their head of people swinging hammers, but it’s not like that at all. It’s a lot of attention to detail, being careful, all things women are good at.”
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As railroad volume increases, Union Pacific needs qualified candidates now more than ever.
Both Kayla and her mother encourage anyone curious to learn more and apply at UP.jobs.
“If a woman was to come to me and ask about having a career at UP, I would let them know it’s not hard physically. Anybody can do this job out here,” Rolette Sudds said. “We’re a team and everyone looks out for one another. I mean this because my own daughter works for the railroad.”