Chair, Board of Directors
Bob Bryant is founder of the Buckingham Branch and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Bob started his railroad career in 1953 as a messenger for the C&O Railway in Richmond, Virginia. He worked his way up through the C&O and its successor railroads finally retiring as Market Manager, Planning & Analysis for CSX in Baltimore in 1987. In 1988, together with his wife Annie, he founded the Buckingham Branch and was instrumental in establishing the BB's customer and commodity base and in bringing the right people into the organization to ensure its success. Bob has very much enjoyed his over 60 years in the railroad industry and remains active in the management of the company and continues to provide the vision and the principles that guide the Buckingham Branch. When not railroading, Bob enjoys working on the farm.
Vice Chair, Board of Directors
Annie Bryant is Vice Chair of the Buckingham Branch Board of Directors. She was a career educator and teacher prior to co-founding the Buckingham Branch with Bob Bryant in 1988. In her early days with the railroad she helped set up the accounting and financial systems, handled freight agent and customer service responsibilities, and like everyone else in the early days, did whatever was needed to help run the railroad. She remains active in the corporation and is an inspiration to all Buckingham Branch employees. When not at the railroad, Annie enjoys helping with the farm and spending time with her grandchildren.
Chief Executive Officer and Corporate Treasurer
Mark Bryant is the Chief Executive Officer and Corporate Treasurer of the Buckingham Branch. He has been with the BB since its inception and knows the railroad inside out having worked in all major areas of the business including Transportation, Track, Mechanical, Safety, Customer Service, Information Technology, Accounting & Administration, Finance, and Corporate. Mark's personal interests in the railroad include social and environmental responsibility, business ethics, and the human side of railroading.
Lois Bryant Frank
Lois Bryant Frank serves as the Corporate Secretary of the Buckingham Branch Railroad. She works primarily in matters related to corporate governance and business strategy. Lois’ personal aspiration in the railroad is maintaining the integrity that the Bryant Family has created and upheld in running its business.
Steve Powell is President of the Buckingham Branch. He joined the BB in 1998 and advanced quickly becoming Senior Vice President in 2009 and advancing to President in 2011. Steve oversees all aspects of railroad operations including transportation, engineering, accounting, and administration. He is also integrally involved in strategic planning, finance, and marketing, and in maintaining cooperative relationships with partner railroads, government entities, and the communities we serve. Steve earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech. When not railroading, Steve enjoys farming and spending time with his family.
Board of Directors
Gale Wilson serves as a member of the Board of Directors. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President of the Buckingham Branch. As Senior Vice President, he oversaw customer relations, business development, train operations, rail traffic control, and locomotive maintenance. Gale joined the BB in 2004, advanced to Vice President in 2009, and Senior Vice President in 2011 until he retired in 2017. Prior to joining the Buckingham Branch, Gale served in the U.S. Army, including service in Viet Nam, then worked for more than 25 years in management in the poultry industry, and later served as General Manager of the Shenandoah Valley Railroad. Gale lives in Rockingham County, Virginia and in his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife Debra and is an avid fisherman and motorcyclist.
Director of Finance and Administration
Philip Lachniet is the Director of Finance & Administration for the Buckingham Branch. Philip joined the BB in 2011 and has oversight of finance and accounting, information technology, human resources, compliance, safety and training. Prior to joining the BB, Philip served as Controller at American Press in Gordonsville, Virginia. He received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Liberty University. He is a Certified Public Accountant and when not railroading enjoys sports and spending time with his family.
Superintendent of Operations
Bill Mitchem is the Buckingham Branch’s Superintendent of Operations and directly supervises train crew operations, rail traffic control and locomotive maintenance. In 1990, after a four year tour in the U.S. Air Force as a helicopter mechanic, Bill began his railroad career with the Indiana Rail Road Company in Indianapolis, Indiana. With the Indiana Rail Road, Bill worked both in mechanical and transportation services. In 1994 Bill took a job opportunity with Conrail at the Big Four Yard in Avon, Indiana as a locomotive machinist. After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Goshen College, in Goshen, Indiana, Bill continued to take on more challenging roles with Conrail and eventually with CSX in Richmond, VA. In 2010 Bill joined the Buckingham Branch family and has held a number of positions in both the mechanical and transportation departments. In his non-railroading time Bill enjoys spending time engaged in outdoor activities with his wife and three daughters.
Gary Smith is the Chief Engineer at the Buckingham Branch and oversees all aspects of track, structures, and signals. Although Gary has been with the BB since its beginnings, he officially came onboard in 2000 as the Supervisor of Maintenance of Way & Engineering. Through the years, Gary has served in many invaluable roles advancing to Chief Engineer in 2017. Prior to the BB, Gary served in the US Air Force and has previous railroading experience with the Southern Pacific Railway Co. and CSX. In his free time, Gary enjoys spending time with his wife, children, and grandkids.
Manager of Human Resources
Julie joined Buckingham Branch in early 2019 as the Manager of Human Resources. Prior to joining us, Julie held the position of Human Resources Manager with Arc of New York, Allegany Chapter, until 2014, when she accepted the role of Human Resources Manager with Allegany Rehabilitation Services in addition to her role at Arc. In 2015, she received her degree in Business Administration from SUNY Herkimer. In 2018, Julie was employed with the State of Virginia until she joined the Buckingham Branch family. In her spare time, Julie enjoys spending time with her family and her dogs.
Manager of Sales & Marketing
Brian Freeman serves as Manager of Sales & Marketing. He oversees customer relations, business development, and pricing. Brian joined BB in March of 2017. His railroad career began shortly after graduating from Virginia Tech in 2000. His professional experience includes various marketing and sales positions with Norfolk Southern, Ohio Central Railroad System, and Genesee & Wyoming. In his free time, Brian enjoys sports and outdoor recreational activities with his wife and three boys.