Welder Earns Degree through Union Pacific-UNO Partnership, Graduates with Honors

Large | Thomas Frey on the University of Nebraska Omaha Campus

Welder Thomas Frey on the University of Nebraska Omaha campus.

Welder Thomas Frey’s first three years with Union Pacific have been fast paced, as his work and home lives kept him moving. While Frey’s Houston Engineering gang travels the system, his three college student children and a fiancé keep him on his toes. But always up for a challenge, Frey decided to add one more thing to his plate – turning his associates into a bachelor’s degree.

Medium | Main Image: Frey and Schulz

Thomas Frey, welder (right), pictured with Dr. Steve Schulz, associate professor-Supply Chain Management, UNO, at the 2022 University of Nebraska Omaha Student Honors Convocation.

“I was told about UP’s Educational Assistance Program when I hired on,” he said. “Then I read about UP’s partnership with UNO on the employee website, paying all tuition up front and waiving all fees. I decided to take advantage and go back for my bachelor’s.”

With assistance from University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) advisors and professors, Frey says he was set up for success from the very start.

“The process was simple, the UNO-UP concierge helped me sign up and transfer my transcript,” he said. “Being able to take classes completely online was the most beneficial aspect. My academic advisor helped me set goals and focus on what needed to be done to graduate.”

Frey’s hard work paid off. On May 13, he graduated with honors from UNO, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in supply chain management. He also earned a spot as the 2022 Logistics and Supply Chain honoree during the UNO Student Honors Convocation ceremony.

Medium | Thomas Frey and his fiance visit UNO for Student Honors Ceremony

Frey and his fiancé visit the University of Nebraska Omaha campus for the Student Honors Convocation ceremony.

“I put in a lot of time and effort; being recognized makes me feel good about my decision to go back to school,” Frey said. “My kids have gotten tired of hearing about my award already.”

Ultimately, Frey plans to leverage his degree for new opportunities inside the railroad.

“I really enjoy working for UP, it’s a great place to work,” Frey said. “I hope to be able use my degree and experience to work my way into the supply chain side of the business. From obtaining resources and materials to keep the trains moving on the Engineering side, to hauling freight for customers on the Transportation side – UP is all about supply chain.”

Frey recommends the program for fellow UP employees.

“It’s a great UP benefit, and a good way to give yourself more opportunities within the company,” he said. “It’s never too late to finish what you started. I started taking college classes way back in 1998. Twenty-four years later, I can now say I am a college graduate.”

Congratulations to UP's Educational Assistance Program graduates:

2022 Graduates
  • Ryan Broeckelmann, senior manager-Train Operations, Master of Business Administration
  • Carter Collins, project engineer, Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Chris Ferrell, locomotive engineer, Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies
  • Steven Foresman, manager-Operating Practices, Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies
  • Thomas Frey, welder, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Brannon Golightly, lead machinist, Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies
  • Matthew Herting, manager, Loup Logistics, Master of Business Administration
  • Christopher Hitt, senior consultant-Logistics, Master of Business Administration
  • Benjamin Kirby, manager-Marketing, Master of Business Administration
  • Jovonna Lacy, senior corporate auditor, Master of Business Administration
  • Opeyemi Makinde, analyst, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Management Graduate Certificate
  • Jestina Matulka (Retzlaff), manager-Accounting, Master of Business Administration
  • Laura Sastoque, senior corporate auditor, Master of Business Administration
  • Christopher Schmitt, staff corporate auditor, Master of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Sara Sims, manager-Transportation Planning, Master of Business Administration
  • Fang Bin Zheng, manager-Accounting, Master of Business Administration
2021 Graduates
  • Mohammad Al-Huneidi, senior project engineer, Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Andrew Dziuda, manager, Marketing and Sales, Master of Business Administration
  • Randy Groh, associate systems engineer, Master of Business Administration
  • Melissa Harding, representative trainee-Risk Management, Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies
  • Josh Hick, manager, Marketing and Sales, Master of Business Administration
  • Simon Hjelm, general director-Transportation Planning and Schedule, Master of Business Administration
  • Dominika Jedinak, senior analyst, Finance, Master of Business Administration
  • Renee Layoun, manager-Locomotive Maintenance, Master of Business Administration
  • David Lounsberry, manager, Crew Management Services, Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies
  • Miti Mareddy, manager-Mechanical Systems, Master of Science in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence Graduate Certificate
  • Connor Mele, manager, FInance, Master of Business Administration
  • Daniel Meyer, senior consultant-Logistics, Master of Science in Management Information Systems
  • Laura Pollack, senior manager-Environmental, Master of Business Administration
  • Cody Poteat, manager, Marketing and Sales, Master of Business Administration
  • Casey Schmitz, project engineer, Master of Science in Cybersecurity
Union Pacific and UNO Educational Assistance Program

Searching for a tuition-free education? Union Pacific’s Educational Assistance Program provides employees with the opportunity to further their skills and knowledge in partnership with the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and other higher education institutions.

Full-time employees choosing to study with UNO are offered a variety of advantages, including waived registration fees and accelerated admission, as well as the choose-your-pace opportunity to take singular courses for professional development or to earn a degree.

Interested in starting a career at Union Pacific? Visit up.jobs to learn more!

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