Employee Spotlight: Brandon Bader
We sit with Brandon Bader, Assistant Manager of Motive Power West, to discuss his experience working for Northern Plains Railroad since 2014.
Q. What is your job title at NPR, and what does your job entail?
A. My title is Assistant Manager Motive Power West. I ensure that the west NPR locomotive fleet is in optimal condition and up to FRA specifications. I also ensure that NPRS customers in our western territory have adequate scheduled maintenance, and fully operational locomotives at their facilities.
Q. When did you start working at NPR?
A. I first started working for Northern Plains Railroad during the summer of 2014.
Q. How did you find out about the job, and why did you want it?
A. Growing up, I looked up to my father and his ability to fix anything, and I guess I wanted to be able to fix anything as well, so in 2014 when I was 18 and of legal age to work on a railroad I decided I would try and take on the mechanics of a locomotive – which is more advanced than construction equipment or things such as semi-trucks.
Q. What are you most proud of in your career?
A. I am most proud of my personal advancement within the company over the years, which I accomplished with the help of some great mentors.
Q. What are you most excited about for the future?
A. I would say I am most excited to see how big our locomotive service/sales and leasing business will continue to grow, and how our NPRS operating area will expand over the coming years.
Q. What is the best part of your work week or day?
A. Monday mornings, when I come to work and begin to troubleshoot locomotives by putting the puzzle pieces together, and get to teach employees things I have learned.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
A. I would say I really enjoy troubleshooting locomotive issues with employees and mentoring them to help improve their mechanical abilities.
Q. What does your average day look like at NPR?
A. 0630 we start flexing and stretching, along with a morning discussion and job briefing of the day; 0700-0900 I review emails, check order statuses. 1000 I reach out to customers and schedule services and repairs, and the rest of the day I help mentor and direct work flow through the shop and on the road.
Q. Where are you from? What is your hometown?
A. I was born in Minot, ND, which is 27 miles south of Lansford, ND, which is where I was raised.
Q. Did you always know you wanted to work for a railroad?
A. I always had a feeling I wanted to work on locomotives. I worked on semi-trucks for a bit and it was not much of a challenge, and I didn’t find it very interesting. But once I started working for Northern Plains Railroad, and I became more familiar with locomotives, I found that I had made the right choice.
Q. What do you enjoy doing away from work?
A. Outside of work I am an avid fisherman and hunter. I enjoy fishing for all species, whether it be in a boat or on the ice. I also enjoy hunting deer, waterfowl, and upland game.
Q. Do you have any great memories from your career so far?
A. My greatest memory was when we received the NPR 7278, which had broken windows, a missing window, a bad engine, a broken compressor, and most of the cab components missing, a traction motor missing, wiring ripped out, and birds and raccoons living in it, and I was told we were going to do a complete overhaul. Seeing how beautifully it turned out once we were finished made me feel like nothing is impossible in the world of locomotive overhaul and maintenance.