US Congressman Mac Thornberry Tours Rocla Concrete Tie, Inc. in Amarillo, TX
Thursday, October 20, 2016
by: By Lindsey Collins

Section: 2016 NRC Grassroots Events

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The NRC's grassroots program was created to invite United States Congressmen to visit NRC member facilities and construction project sites. These visits give the Members of Congress firsthand knowledge of the rail industry and demonstrate how rail contractors and suppliers are positively affecting the rail industry and the local and national economy. If your company is interested in hosting your Congressman for a visit, please contact Lindsey Collins at to begin the process.
Amarillo, TX – On October 3, Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-TX-13) joined National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association (NRC) member – Rocla Concrete Tie, Inc. (RCTI) – for a tour of their facility in Amarillo, TX.
Attendees included:
Mr. Brett Urquhart, Vice President of Business Development, RCTI
Mr. Eliseo Bandala, Executive Vice President, RCTI
Mr. Jesus Vargas, Amarillo facility Operations Manager, RCTI
Mr. Paul Simpson, Deputy District Director, Office of Congressman Mac Thornberry
Ms. Lindsey Collins, VP of Grassroots Advocacy at NRC
Brett Urquhart gave an overview of RCTI and their current operations. RCTI is the leading manufacturer of prestressed concrete railroad ties in the United States. RCTI began producing ties in the United States in 1987. With the opening of the Denver, CO manufacturing facility, RCTI became the largest supplier of concrete ties to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. Shortly thereafter, in 1990, Rocla opened its second facility in Bear, DE to accommodate the upgrades to the Northeast Corridor for Amtrak’s Acela Train. To meet the demands of America’s Class I railroads and the increased use of concrete ties for transit projects, the Amarillo facility was opened in 1999. RCTI also has plants in Portsmouth, OH, Fort Pierce, FL, Tucson, AZ, and San Jose Iturbide, Mexico.
Mr. Urquhart led a tour of the facility where he walked Congressman Thornberry through the process of manufacturing concrete railroad ties. Mr. Urquhart also explained the impact that a growing national railroad network for both freight and passenger rail has on jobs around the country, including the various Rocla Concrete Tie facilities as a supplier to these networks. The Amarillo facility manufactures products using local raw materials suppliers and services, as well as employing a local workforce of up to 80 employees.
“I was glad to learn more about the work and products at Rocla,” said Thornberry. “The care and precision which goes into making these high quality ties used in rail construction across the country is impressive. We certainly appreciate the jobs and economic activity Rocla contributes to our area.” 
Congressman Mac Thornberry was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994. He serves as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, the first Texan of either party to hold this position. He previously served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Budget Committee, Resources Committee, and the Select Committee on Homeland Security.
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