Careers at Union Pacific
Union Pacific’s mission is to work for the good of its customers, shareholders, and communities.
In 1862 Union Pacific Railroad was incorporated in the United States through an act of Congress called the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. The law ordered the construction of railroads from the Missouri River to the Pacific as part of a war measure. It was built westward from Council Bluffs, Iowa to meet the Central Pacific Railroad line, which was built eastward from San Francisco Bay.
The two lines were connected at Promontory Summit, Utah, establishing the first transcontinental railroad in North America. Over the next several decades, Union Pacific expanded by acquiring several other railroads, most notably the Western Pacific, Chicago & North Western, Southern Pacific, Missouri Pacific, and Missouri-Kansas-Texas.
In 1880 the firm was reorganized as the Union Pacific Railway. However, it declared bankruptcy at the height of the Panic of 1893, and in 1897 it reverted to being Union Pacific Railroad. In 1969 Union Pacific Corporation was incorporated in Utah to serve as the parent firm for Union Pacific Railroad and its sister company Southern Pacific Rail Corporation. Its main competitor is now BNSF Railway.
Benefits at Union Pacific
Business model of Union Pacific
Union Pacific has a mass market business model, with no significant differentiation between customer segments. The company targets its services at firms in almost any industry that need to transport their goods. That said, its customers can most commonly be found in the agricultural products, automotive, chemicals, coal, and industrial products sectors.
Union Pacific offers three primary value propositions: accessibility, risk reduction, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by offering a wide variety of options. It provides transportation services for one of the most diversified ranges of commodities in the industry, including chemicals, coal, consumer products, food and food products, forest products, grain and grain products, government, intermodal, metals, minerals, waste, and automobiles and parts.
The company reduces risk by maintaining high safety standards. It has developed and is in the process of implementing its Positive Train Control (PTC) system, which involves multiple technologies working together to manage and monitor train movements. The technologes include GPS, antennas, satellites, locomotive and base station radios, and telecom and signal elements. Thus far, the company has equipped over 3,200 locomotives with the system. Union Pacific also reduces risk by having strong security measures. It maintains a comprehensive security plan that features four levels of alert status, each with countermeasures. It also operates its own force of over 250 police officers.
The company has established a powerful brand due to its success. It has the largest railroad network in the United States, with its franchise covering 23 states across the western two-thirds of the country. It serves several of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers, operates from all major Gulf Coast and West Coast ports to eastern gateways, connects with Canada's rail systems, and is the only railroad serving all six major Mexico gateways. It serves 10,000 customers and operates the largest diesel-electric fleet in the country. Lastly, it has won many honors, including the following:
- Recognition as one of 100 Most Trustworthy Companies In America by Forbes
- Recognition as one of America's Best Employers by Forbes
- Recognition as one of Fortune's Most Admired Companies
- Recognition as one of Military.com‘s 2016 Best Companies for Veterans
- The Logistics Excellence Awards from Toyota Logistics Services
Union Pacific’s main channel is its direct sales team, which is divided into six groups based on commodities. The company promotes its offering through its website and social media pages.
Union Pacific’s customer relationship is primarily of an automated nature. The company provides its services without a need for significant interaction with customers.
That said, it does offer the option of a dedicated Shipment Quality team and an Industrial Development group, which offer specialized services involving site and location analysis for business development.
Union Pacific’s business model entails designing, developing, and delivering its services to customers.
Union Pacific’s key suppliers are two unspecified domestic firms that provide it with high horsepower locomotives. It also utilizes two steel producers (one domestic, one international) for a large percentage of its rail purchases, as well as suppliers for fuel and various materials and services.
The company’s website features a section called “Supplier Resources” that includes helpful tools, including an eBusiness glossary, a “Supplier Excellence Manual”, and answers to common questions.
Union Pacific’s main resources are its physical resources, the most important of which is its rail network, which includes 32,084 route miles (it owns 26,064 miles and operates on the rest through trackage rights or leases). It also depends on its collection of over 8,500 locomotives and over 66,863 freight cars.
Moreover, it operates the Harriman Dispatching Center, its primary dispatching facility, in Omaha, Nebraska. Lastly, it depends on train drivers and customer service personnel.
Union Pacific has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation. Its biggest cost driver is compensation/benefits for staff. Other major drivers are cost of services and materials, cost of fuel, and cost of equipment, all variable expenses.
Union Pacific has two revenue streams:
- Freight Revenues – Revenues generated through fees paid by customers for the transport of freight or other materials. Sales vary with volume (carloads) and average revenue per car (ARC).
- Other Revenues – Include revenues generated by subsidiaries, from commuter rail operations, accessorial revenues (earned when customers retain equipment owned or controlled by Union Pacific or when it performs extra services such as storage or switching), and miscellaneous contract revenues.
info: Lance M. Fritz earned an undergraduate degree at Bucknell University and a Master‘s degree in Management at Northwestern University. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer, VP of Operations, and VP of Labor Relations at Union Pacific.
info: Eric L. Butler earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MSIA at Carnegie Mellon University. He previously served as Chief Marketing Officer, General Manager - Industrial Products, and General Manager - Automotive at Union Pacific.
info: Rhonda S. Ferguson earned an undergraduate degree in Engineering at Northwestern University and a JD at Case Western Reserve University. She previously served as VP, Corporate Secretary and Chief Ethics Officer at FirstEnergy Corporation.
info: Robert M. Knight, Jr. earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Kansas State University and an MBA at Southern Illinois University. He has held several positions at at Union Pacific, including SVP of Finance and General Manger – Energy.
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