U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins Tours Brown Industries in Lawrence, Kansas
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
by: By Lindsey Collins
Section: 2015 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 to begin the process.
Lawrence, KS – On November 9, U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-02) joined National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association (NRC) member – Brown Industries, LLC – for a tour of their facility.
Mr. David Price, CEO of Brown Industries, LLC
Mr. Dane Jennison, President of Brown Industries, LLC
Mr. Stuart Seeger, Director of Rail at Brown Industries, LLC
Mr. Brett Agnew, Plant Manager at Brown Industries, LLC
Mr. Ryan McCune, President of ASM Engineering Consultants
Mr. Mike Murphy, Business Development Leader at Bartlett & West
Ms. Kate Webb, Controller at Coreslab Structures
Mr. Jerry Darnaby, Insurance Broker, Cretcher Heartland
Ms. Lindsey Douglas, Director of Northern Region Public Affairs, Union Pacific
Ms. Diane Stoddard, Assistance City Manager, City of Lawrence
Mr. Lee Modesitt, District Representative for Congresswoman Jenkins
Ms. Lindsey Collins, VP of Grassroots Advocacy at the NRC
Mr. David Price gave an overview of Brown Industries and their current operations. Brown is a manufacturer of cargo vans and HyRail Maintenance of Way equipment headquartered in Lawrence with a satellite plant in Henderson, CO. Brown builds approximately 750 custom trucks per year, 10 percent of which are sold directly to Kansas-based clients.
Brown was founded in 1946 in Spokane, WA, and moved to Lawrence in 1975. In 2008, Brown added a rail division. Since 2013, the company has nearly doubled in revenue and has added almost 20 new employees. The Lawrence plant employs 72 people.
The Congresswoman and guests went on a walk-through of Brown’s facility at which Brown builds track inspectors, heavy duty track inspectors, material handlers, and custom rail equipment. Brown’s engineers fit trucks with Hi-Rail gear to meet or exceed Federal Rail Administration regulations. Their Material Handlers have crane lift capacities from 4,500 to 16,000 pounds, and boom lengths ranging from 22 to 30 feet. Custom crane trucks can lift up to 138,000 pounds with boom lengths of 140 feet.
“It was great to tour Brown Industries and hear first-hand from folks about their priorities so that I ensure they are my priorities,” said Congresswoman Jenkins. “Small businesses like Brown Industries, and so many others in the rail industry world, are part of the lifeblood of Kansas and American economies. I am proud to champion their cause in Washington through items like my Railroad Rehabilitation and Investment Act legislation promoting the 45G tax credit. I will continue to fight to ensure that these rail industry businesses have the opportunities they need to grow and compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”
Attendees thanked Congresswoman Jenkins for her leadership regarding an extension of the 45G tax credit, which leverages private sector investment in rail infrastructure by providing a tax credit of 50 cents for every dollar spent on track improvements. The congresswoman introduced the Short Line Railroad Rehabilitation and Investment Act of 2015, also known as H.R. 721, in February. The bill already has over 50 percent co-sponsorship in the House with 246 co-sponsors. H.R. 721 would extend section 45G of the tax code which expired at the end of last year.
Congresswoman Jenkins is serving her fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was reelected by her colleagues to again serve as the Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference during the 114th Congressional session, making her the fifth-highest ranking member in House Republican Leadership. Congresswoman Jenkins serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, the chief tax writing committee in the House of Representatives, on both the Health and Trade Subcommittees.