Our Executive Management team has decades of experience working for and with the largest North American railroads, as well as short line and industrial operators. This experience allows us to provide operational and safety excellence together with long term value for our customers.
Founder and Chairman, Northern Plains Group of Companies
Gregg Haug started Northern Plains Railroad (NPR) in 1997. Since that time, he has negotiated the purchase of three additional lines from BNSF and managed the startup of each. Together, these projects total nearly 500 miles of railroad. During the past 10 years, Mr. Haug developed NPR subsidiary companies that provide contracting services to the rail industry; including track construction, locomotive leasing and repair, and intra-plant switching. In addition, Mr. Haug has led NPR’s expansion into rail car repair, which grew to three facilities. Between all these services, Northern Plains Rail Services (NPRS) annually handles more than 45,000 rail cars. Mr. Haug worked to expand NPRS to Canada, so that Canadian Northern Plains Rail Services (CNPRS) now offers all these same rail products throughout Canada. Mr. Haug held management and executive positions at Canadian Pacific Railway and the Soo Line Railroad prior to starting the NPR. He began his rail career over 30 years ago in Chicago with the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad. Mr. Haug has an MBA from the University of Chicago. He has a Civil Engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin, and is a licensed Engineer.
President, Northern Plains Rail Companies
Jesse Chalich was appointed President for the Northern Plains Rail companies in 2014. In this role, Mr. Chalich oversees the day-to-day operations of each NPR company. He is accountable for the overall direction, operations and marketing of Northern Plains Railroad, together with NPRS’s US-based service offering. Mr. Chalich is an original employee of the NPR, starting as a conductor in 1997-and rising successfully through the ranks taking on positions of increased responsibility ever since. Railroading runs in the Chalich family, Mr. Chalich is a 4th generation railroader, following his father and grandfather. Mr. Chalich is a graduate of the Railway Management Program at Michigan State University. In 2014 he was recognized as one of the “20 Rising Stars” in the rail industry by Progressive Railroading. He is also currently serving on the Board of Directors for The Canadian Heartland Training Railway Services and the American Association of Railroad Superintendents.
Superintendent Contract Services, Northern Plains Rail Services
Dan Watson began his railroad career in 1994 with the Duluth Missabe and Iron Range Railway (DMIR). During the first decade of his career, Mr. Watson trained as a car mechanic and worked several positions in the mechanical department. From 2004 to 2012 Mr. Watson worked for the Canadian National Railway (CN) which purchased the DMIR. During this time he transferred to the transportation department and held several positions including Assistant Trainmaster, Trainmaster and Divisional Manager serving the iron ore industry in northern Minnesota. In 2011 Watson was awarded a CN “Presidents Award of Excellence”. He was also Co-Chair of the Transportation Department Safety Committee, and became a certified Locomotive Engineer, Conductor and Hearing Officer for all Disciplinary Investigations held in Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. In October 2012, he joined the team at Northern Plains Railroad as Manager Industrial Switching later being promoted to Superintendent Industrial Switching. Mr. Watson graduated from the Michigan State Railway Management Program in 2015. He now has direct management responsibility for NPRS Complete Track Works division, and our Industrial Switching services in the US.
SHAWN I. SMITH
President, Canadian Northern Plains Rail Services and Senior Vice President, Northern Plains Rail Companies
Shawn Smith has over 35 years of experience in the North American railroad industry. He began his career with Canadian National Railways, serving in both operations and marketing/customer service positions. He has maintained a lifetime interest in railroading and is a member of the American Association of Railroad Superintendents, the Canadian Railway Club and the Lexington Group. He currently serves on the boards of Alberta Midland Railway Terminal Ltd., The Canadian Heartland Training Railway Services Inc., and Alberta Prairie Railway. He spent 18 years in the regional and shortline industry in both Canada and the United States as an operating employee, supervisor, and senior executive. Following his tenure as a senior executive in the regional railway business Mr. Smith spent six years at Canadian Pacific and serving in the executive position of General Manager, Strategic Network Development and Interline Management. In 2013, Mr. Smith left CP to begin his own railway consulting practice, and joined the NPR group that same year.
Superintendent Mechanical Car, Northern Plains Rail Companies
Mr. Partridge started his railroad career in 1979 in Winnipeg at Canadian Pacific Railway’s Weston Shops where he entered into a railway carman apprenticeship program. After working over 10 years as a carman in all areas of a general car shop and train yard inspection, he accepted work as a relief Assistant Car Foreman leading into a management position, working in all areas at CP as a Wrecking Foreman, Car and Locomotive Planner, Process Manager of Car Repair and Train Servicing, Process Manager of Locomotive Maintenance and Servicing, Service Area Manager for US Mechanical, and Superintendent and Director of Mechanical-Car. Mr. Partridge holds a certificate in Transportation and Distribution Management and the professional Six Sigma Green Belt designation from Six Sigma Canada. In 2013 Mr. Partridge was hired as Superintendent of Mechanical Car for Northern Plains Railroad (NPR) and Northern Plains Rail Services (NPRS) companies. He is responsible for the car repair and inspection operations across the companies, ensuring car work is performed efficiently, safely and in accordance to OSHA, Transport Canada, Federal Railroad Assoc., Association of American Railroads and NPR and NPRS regulations and standards.