ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Alaska Railroad (ARRC) Chief Engineer / Vice President of Engineering Tom Brooks announces plans to retire in May, when 25-year railroad project and engineering veteran Clark Hopp will succeed Brooks as head of ARRC’s Engineering Department. Hopp is already familiar with many railroad stakeholders, given 12 years with the Alaska Railroad. He joined ARRC in 2001 as a capital projects manager, and in 2003, he became Manager, Civil Projects. In 2011, Hopp was promoted to Director of Special Projects, overseeing the two mega rail extension projects — Port MacKenzie Rail Extension and Northern Rail Extension, Phase One.
Before joining ARRC, Hopp worked for Transystems Corporation, a nationwide engineering consulting firm based in Nebraska. From 1995 to 2001, Hopp provided project management services to Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and Union Pacific (UP) railroads. He earned a degree in Construction Engineering Technology from Iowa Western College and completed additional engineering coursework at the University of Nebraska.
The Alaska Railroad Engineering Department is responsible for a variety of critical functions at the railroad — engineering and design of railroad facilities and infrastructure, capital project management, maintaining tracks and bridges, administering grants, and interfacing with railbelt communities, agencies and utilities. “If our Engineering Department were separated from the railroad, it would still be one of the largest businesses in Alaska in terms of personnel and resources. It takes a talented individual to lead such a diverse business,” said ARRC President & CEO Chris Aadnesen.
Brooks joined the Alaska Railroad in 1986 as the Engineering Office Supervisor. The next year, he was named Manager, Civil Engineering, marking the first of several promotions during a 27-year career. In 1991, Brooks
became Chief Engineer, a title he has held ever since. In 2005, Brooks added executive duties as Assistant VP of Projects, and in 2010, he rose to VP Engineering.