Who is Midwest & Bluegrass Rail?
MBR was formed in 2019 when our partners saw an opportunity to combine resources to form a full service rail company with a unique approach. Our executive team has over 90 years of collective experience in the rail industry, with the ability to identify, acquire, market, develop, and efficiently maintain and operate railroads.
Midwest & Bluegrass Rail is focused on acquiring multiple regional and short line railroads in the next 48 months by utilizing existing contacts and developing new partnerships with industry leaders.
To Acquire or Partner with Regional and Short Line Railroads in North America.
Avory currently serves as a Managing Member of Midwest & Bluegrass Rail, LLC. Avory manages the day to day operations and serves as the Firm’s Chief Investment Officer. Before founding Midwest & Bluegrass Rail, LLC, Avory served as the Chief Financial Officer of Midwest Pacific Rail Net and Logistics and Railroad Materials Salvage, Inc. where she had an active role in underwriting new acquisitions, as well as participated in the development and preparation of short-term and long-range plans and budgets based upon broad organization goals and objectives. She also provided management oversight for all areas of the business, including industrial development, sales and marketing, finance and accounting, operations, and corporate affairs. Avory has over 10 years of experience in the railroad industry and has been involved in transaction totaling over $240 million.
Jerry Darnaby serves as Director of Business Development and Risk Management for Midwest & Bluegrass Rail. In addition to this role he also serves as Vice President – Rail for Truss, LLC where he specializes in business development and risk management for the rail industry. During his time at Truss, LLC he manages the insurance and risk management programs for many short line railroads, railroad contractors, railroad industry suppliers, and locomotive and railcar repair facilities. Over the past 10 years he has been actively involved in many railroad related associations including the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, National Railroad Contractors Association, American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association, and many state and regional railroad related associations. Through his involvement in the railroad industry he has developed trusted long term relationships and partnerships within the railroad industry. He has also been involved with lobbying efforts on behalf of the rail industry, both nationally and statewide.
Dustin currently serves as the Chief Commercial Officer for Midwest & Bluegrass Rail and is responsible for leading all the marketing and commercial efforts. Prior to joining MBR, Dustin served in many roles in sales, operations, and commercial development in both short line and class I railroad companies. Dustin’s most recent position was Director of Commercial Development for R.J. Corman Railroad Company where he was responsible for managing the commercial development team and daily operations. He oversaw all strategic planning and budget management and increased sales revenue for the railroads by 11% in six short months. During his time at RJ Corman he also managed 80+ customer accounts in nine states with approx. 80,000 carloads. He also held positions as General Manager and Division Manager for RJ Corman, along with starting in the industry as a conductor/Train Master for CSX and M.O.W. contractor for Norfolk Southern.
Michael Williams currently assists with business development and acquisition valuation for Midwest & Bluegrass Rail, and is the President of Railroad Materials Salvage, Inc. (“RMSI”), a railroad contracting and supply company, as well as the owner of Midwest Pacific Rail Network and Logistics (“MPRL”) and various other companies in the railroad industry. He entered the railroad industry in 1980 and formed RMSI in 1984. He started acquiring short line railroads in 2002, and his short line companies now operate over 900 miles of short line railroad. Additionally, Mike has companies focused in railroad construction, and railroad equipment repair and manufacturing. He remains heavily involved in the management of each of his companies. Mike has been involved in transactions in the railroad industry totaling over $900 million. He has been involved in short line railroad acquisitions, Class I acquisitions, the buying and selling of rail and other track components, railroad rehabilitation, and NLV appraisals of rail lines as well as many other aspects of the industry.
Brian Miller currently serves as Chief Operations Officer. Brian held various roles overseeing major railroad operations with both short line and Class I railroad companies. Brian brings over 25 years of experience to the group and has been in previous positions that include President of RJ Corman Railroad Company where he managed 11 short line railroads in nine states with 200 employees, and nearly 1000 miles of track with 80,000 carloads. In this role he also developed and executed annual operating and capital budgets, oversaw three distribution centers in two states that focused on transloading and storage for local customers, and assisted in obtaining funding from state/federal government for track, bridge and crossing improvements and rehabilitation.
Derrick currently serves as the Chief Engineer for Midwest & Bluegrass Rail and is responsible for leading the Maintenance of Way efforts. Prior to joining MBR, Derrick served in many Engineering Management roles at CSX and RJ Corman Railroad Company. Derrick’s last position at CSX was Assistant Division Engineer of the Appalachian Division. Derrick joined RJ Corman in 2015 as Assistant Division Engineer. Derrick served in many roles while at RJ Corman in engineering, operations, sales and commercial development. He oversaw MofW operations for both railroads and switching companies in the Northern Region. He was also part of the team to develop a scope for funded and capital projects. In his operating role he assisted in developing annual operating and capital budgets, developed service scorecards and managed the railroads P&L. While in his commercial development role he was responsible for ~60 clients accounts and grew revenue by 5% during his first year in the role. Derrick’s most recent employment was with Valvoline LLC at their HQ in Lexington, KY. He was part of their Procurement team with the main responsibility of buying Valvoline’s different modes of transportation (truck, rail, intermodal, bulk and small parcel). He was also the decision maker in many of the Logistics’ day-to-day assessments. He was able to save them approximately ~$2 million in freight during his first year and another ~$300k in demurrage/assessorial costs. Derrick received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Union College.