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Tomeka Watson Bryant Becomes First Black Woman To Head A Short-Line Railroad In US

Tomeka Watson Bryant Becomes First Black Woman To Head A Short Line Railroad In US
Tomeka Watson Bryant



In May, Tomeka Watson Bryant, a great softball player at Elon University, became the first Black woman to lead a short-line railroad in the United States.

Watson Bryant is the general manager of the New Orleans Public Belt (NOPB), according to Elon University, handling the daily duty of ensuring the short-line railroad is assisting its clients in keeping their products and materials moving.

Bryant followed in her father’s footsteps, who worked in the railroad sector for 41 years for CSX. Watson Bryant had spent the previous five years as the sales and marketing manager, supervising business development and customer service.


Her new role at the NOPB requires her to oversee and provide daily guidance for 18 managers and 174 employees.

“We wake up every day knowing the work we do is important,” Watson Bryant said. “But my number one priority is making sure all the women and men on our front lines are making it home safely.”

The NOPB transports goods to and from the port of New Orleans and other local enterprises. Watson Bryant began her career as a train conductor and worked her way up to her present leadership position, where her daily responsibilities include meetings, decision-making, forecasting, and coaching other managers.

“Our workforce feels comfortable with me because I’ve been here. They’ve seen my growth and all the ups and downs throughout my career, and they’ve supported me through it. I’m blessed and appreciate that,” she said.

According to Bryant, her experience as a top student-athlete at Elon, where she was the program’s first All-American player and the first Elon student-athlete to achieve All-American honors since the university transitioned to Division I, prepared her for the responsibilities with NOPB.

She was recognized into the Elon Hall of Fame last year.

“The work ethic it takes to be a student at Elon has definitely helped me in becoming a general manager,” Bryant said. “From an academic standpoint and an athletic standpoint, I was pushed and challenged. In my day-to-day job now, I get pushed and challenged, so I definitely think my experience at Elon had a really big impact on my career and success.”





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Written by How Africa News

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