Environmental Recognition

On Earth Day 1994, Union Pacific presented the first annual "Chairman's Environmental Award." The award was established to recognize a Union Pacific Railroad employee demonstrating outstanding environmental awareness, leadership and responsibility.

The Chairman's Environmental Award winner represents Union Pacific as its nominee for the Association of American Railroads' (AAR) John H. Chafee Environmental Excellence Award.  One nominee is selected from among all participating railroads for the prestigious award.

The Chafee Award is given to those who exhibit outstanding stewardship of the environment. The award is named for John H. Chafee, a four-term U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, and a noted environmentalist. Sen. Lincoln Chafee, son of the man for whom the award was named, has presented the award to recent recipients.

** represents AAR winners

Chairman's Environmental Award Winners

  • 2022: Grace Olsen, General Director Locomotive Engineering & Quality, Omaha, NE
  • 2020: None due to coronavirus pandemic
  • 2019: Jeff Nantkes, Manager II Mechanical Maintenance, Angleton, TX
  • 2018: Michael McAndrews, Director Mechanical Facility and Equipment, Omaha, NE 
  • 2017: Stephen Cheney, Director Structure Design & Environmental, Omaha, NE
  • 2016: Milton Dempsey, General Foreman, Fort Worth, TX
  • 2015: Mark Lutz, General Director - Fuel, Omaha, NE
  • 2014: Tim Smith, Manager of Structure Projects - Engineering, Pueblo, CO
  • 2013: Tom Kennedy, Manager - Mechanical Engineering - Locomotive, Omaha, NE
  • 2012: Ben Crandall, Foreman General, Salt Lake City, UT
  • 2011: Michael Iden **, General Director, Car and Locomotive Engineering - Melrose Park, IL
  • 2010: Michael Canevit, Materials Supervisor, Bloomington, CA
  • 2009: Chuck Kunkel, Sr. Manager, Research and Development, Omaha, NE
  • 2008: Patrick O'Leary, Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator - San Antonio, TX
  • 2007: Debra Schafer **, General Director, Maintenance of Way - Environmental, Omaha, NE
  • 2006: Dennis Sullivan, Carman, DeSoto, MO
  • 2005: Wayne A. Kennedy **, General Director, Fuel Conservation - Continuous Improvement, Omaha, NE
  • 2004: Tom Franklin **, Mgr. Mechanical – Locomotive, North Little Rock, AR
  • 2003: Kent Denkers, Mechanical – Locomotive, Omaha, NE
  • 2002: Gary Biggs, Maintenance Supervisor, Fort Worth, TX
  • 2001: Tim Kraus, Water Serv. Lead Man, San Antonio, TX
  • 2000: David Simpson, Foreman General, Hermiston, OR
  • 1999: Audrey Butler, Material Supervisor, Pocatello, ID
  • 1998: Dennis Sullivan, Carman, Desoto, MO
  • 1997: Mitch Dugger **, Work Equipment Supervisor, Fairdealing, MO
  • 1996: Carl Leroy Lachance, Manager Car Maintenance, Desoto, MO
  • 1995: Richard Jacobs **, Locomotive Shop Foreman, Ft. Worth, TX
  • 1994: David Hartley, Car Foreman, Desoto, MO
  • 1993: Ben Crandall, Car Foreman, Salt Lake City, UT


Other Awards

See our Building America Report for information on other Union Pacific environmental awards.