Rails to the Future, a grass roots organization dedicated to upgrading state owned railroad infrastructure west of Chamberlain, announced new leadership to build upon the successful Chamberlain to Presho railroad upgrade project. New board members, Andy Rankin of Draper and Randy Englund of Pierre, will serve as chairman and vice chairman, respectively. Past chairman, Steve Halverson, will remain involved as liaison to the South Dakota Department of Transportation. Bryan Jorgensen, former secretary/treasurer will focus on economic development on the Chamberlain to Presho segment. For continuity, Bill Ferguson remains on the board and will serve as secretary/treasurer and registered agent.
Steve Halverson said, “In order to achieve our goal of bringing heavy rail to Murdo, we need leadership from Jones County.” A survey of Jones County businesses pointed to Andy as a dynamic and energetic leader. He was elected unanimously at the annual membership meeting January 26, 2015, along with Randy Englund, the retired former Executive Director of the South Dakota Wheat Commission. His experience at the Wheat Commission, Randy developed excellent relations with farmers and businesses throughout the region. His experience with rural development financing and banking brings depth to the project. A group of volunteer citizens have joined behind Chairman Andy Rankin. Halverson commented, “They are heavily motivated to see heavy rail to Murdo and are working to identify business projects in their region.”
About Rails to the Future: Rails to the Future is a South Dakota Domestic Nonprofit Corporation dedicated to the upgrade of state owned railroad infrastructure west of Chamberlain SD, for the purpose of enhancing the social, economic, and general welfare of the citizens of the region. It is funded by donations from individuals and businesses, grants from government entities and other nonprofit organizations. It solicits pledges of matching funds for specific projects. It has applied for IRS recognition as a 501(c)(3) public charity.