The Association of American Railroads (AAR) presented Railway Association of Canada’s Andy Ash with the 2023 Holden-Proefrock Award for career achievement in the area of hazmat safety and announced 27 recipients of the 2022 Non-Accident Release (NAR) Grand Slam Awards. The awards are given annually to individuals, shippers and railroads operating in hazardous material fields.

For more than 45 years, Andy Ash was committed to keeping goods moving and Canadians safe. From his early time in Canadian National’s mechanical department, he was focused on maintaining safe operations through Canada’s “Chemical Valley” in Sarnia, Ontario. Ash took those lessons to the Railway Association of Canada when he joined in 1999 and developed the RAC Dangerous Goods Team, which supports RAC members in safely moving hazardous materials.

Ash traveled across Canada to train first responders to manage a rail emergency safely. He also was central to developing one of the world’s leading rail emergency response training courses held each year in Maple Ridge, British Columbia.

Recently retired, Ash reflected on his long career and railroads’ high responsibility to act quickly and effectively in the rare instance of an emergency. He said, “If you have an accident… you’ve got to get it right the first time. You don’t get a second chance.”

The Holden-Proefrock Award is named in honor of Roy Holden, a former AAR employee and an innovator in tank car design, damage assessment and safety, and Art Proefrock, a former Hulcher Emergency Services employee who pioneered hazardous materials transportation emergency response.

The NAR Grand Slam Award is presented annually to companies that are exemplary shippers of hazardous materials. An award winner must have been recognized by at least four Class I railroads and have had zero non-accident releases involving their shipments the previous calendar year. A hazardous materials non-accident release is an unintentional release of a hazardous material while in transportation but not involving an accident.

The 2022 NAR Grand Slam Award was presented to:

  • Archer Daniels Midland Company
  • BP Products North America
  • Cargill Inc.
  • Cenovus Energy Marketing Services LTD
  • CF Industries Sales LLC
  • Chemtrade Logistics Inc.
  • Cornerstone Chemical Company
  • Elbow River Marketing Ltd.
  • ERCO Worldwide
  • ExxonMobil
  • Green Plains Inc
  • Gunvor USA LLC
  • INEOS Oligomers USA LLC
  • Inter-Chem
  • Kemira
  • Keyera Corp
  • Koch Fertilizer and Koch Methanol
  • Messer LLC
  • Methanex
  • NGL Supply Company LTD
  • Nouryon Chemicals LLC
  • PBF Holding Company LLC
  • Reagent Chemical & Research, Inc
  • Targa Resources Corp.
  • Valero Energy
  • Westlake Corporation