12/20/2021 (Monday) [PDF Version]
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The Surface Transportation Board today announced that, upon the appointment and Senate confirmation of Karen Hedlund, Board Member Ann Begeman’s last day at the agency was Friday, December 17, 2021.
Board Member Begeman joined the STB on May 2, 2011. She served as the Board’s Acting Chairman and Chairman from January 2017 until January 21, 2021, when President Biden designated Martin J. Oberman as Chairman. Her second five-year term expired on December 31, 2020, and by statute, she remained at the Board to serve her holdover year. On Thursday of last week, the Senate confirmed STB nominee Karen Hedlund and on Friday, the President appointed Ms. Hedlund to replace Ms. Begeman.
Ms. Begeman’s tenure has been marked by her commitment to working with her Board Member colleagues and Board staff to improve the agency’s accountability, transparency, and timeliness. Key initiatives include amending the Board’s ex parte communication regulations to allow more open dialogue between stakeholders and the Board, reforming the Board’s rate review processes to ensure that all shippers – including those with smaller disputes – have access to rate review, addressing concerns related to railroad practices and policies regarding demurrage and accessorial charges, and overseeing administrative improvements to help modernize the agency. She also ensured that the Board closely monitored rail service across the national network, enabling the Board to quickly address service challenges as they arose. Ms. Begeman was recognized as a Railway Age Women in Rail award recipient in 2020.
“I want to express my deep appreciation to Ann for her leadership and dedication to the Board, both as Chairman and as a Member,” said Chairman Oberman. “Ann has shown dedication, leadership and innovation, and the beneficiary of all her persistent advocacy has always been the public. I will miss having Ann as a colleague and wish her continued success as she enters the next phase of her career.”
“We will greatly miss Ann’s wit, knowledge, and insightfulness at the Board,” said Board Member Patrick Fuchs. “Her work ethic and dedication are unmatched. During her highly productive tenure as Chairman, Ann made the agency more accessible, responsive, and collaborative. She is a tireless champion of good government, and her leadership will have long-lasting benefits. I am immensely appreciative of Ann’s service to our country.”
“I am grateful to Ann for her many years of service and her success in leading the Board,” said Board Member Michelle Schultz. “The insight afforded by her vast experience in transportation policy has been invaluable to me since I joined the Board.”
“It’s always hard to say goodbye, especially to someone who has left such an indelible mark on the Board,” said Vice Chairman Robert Primus. “The Board has greatly benefited from Ann’s service and our nation’s rail network is better because of it. Ann leaves behind an amazing list of accomplishments, including the establishment of the Rate Reform Task Force, the establishment of the Demurrage rule, and laying the groundwork for Final Offer Rate Review. Personally, I remain grateful for her willingness to help me navigate through my inaugural year on the Board and regret the fact that because of COVID, our time together was mostly virtual. I wish Ann nothing but the best in her future endeavors.”