Black History Month at Greenbrier



February is Black History Month or African American History Month, an annual celebration and recognition of achievements by African American individuals. From the construction of the transcontinental railroad in the 19th century to the manufacturing and maintenance of railcars today, Greenbrier recognizes the vital role Black Americans have played in the development and growth of the rail industry.

This Black History Month, we also recognize and highlight some of our African American employees who have gone above and beyond to make our company and community a better place.

Spencer Ashie-winns, Manager, Stress Engineering

Spencer is responsible for analyzing and validating engineering designs before they are offered to the industry. This role requires the highest level of technical abilities, knowledge and expertise. There is immense pressure to make executive decisions and meet demanding deadlines. He is required to produce complete and accurate deliverables, which are scrutinized by industry experts and government officials. Regardless of the pressure, Spencer brings an incredible amount of joy and professionalism to the workplace. He is always willing to help with social events, fantasy football leagues and anything else to make someone’s day better.

Spencer is passionate about his work, upholds his morals and values, and is always willing to listen and help others succeed. Spencer shouldn’t just be a mentor and role model to the engineering team; he should be one to all employees of Greenbrier.

Spencer Ashie-Winns

Sanford Cunningham, Paint Shop Superintendent

Sanford is known for always having the most contagious smile on his face, no matter who he is around or what kind of day he is having. He consistently goes above and beyond to be a great supervisor and a great person. He exemplifies strong leadership skills and provides solid support to his team. He also sets a great example for the employees at the manufacturing facility level, as well as in the community. Sanford is a dedicated volunteer with local organizations. He is an exceptional employee and individual who inspires all people around him!

Sanford Cunningham

Altwan Evans, Plant Manager-San Bernardino

Altwan is always willing to accept a challenge, present it to his team and assist until the project is complete. He continuously helps his employees grow and develop new skills, investing time to establish a strong team. Altwan collaborates closely with the safety team to ensure safety always remains a core value at the production facility. He has integrity, compassion for others and strong leadership skills. Greenbrier is fortunate to have him on board!

Altwan Evans

Vernon Free, Machine Operator

Vernon is a machine operator at the Kansas City wheel shop. When not operating machinery, Vernon can be found walking through the shop to ensure Greenbrier’s core value of safety remains the facility’s number one priority. Anytime he or another employee discovers a safety concern, Vernon is quick to take action and find a solution. Vernon goes above and beyond his regular job responsibilities to keep his colleagues safe when on the job. He is the true meaning of a leader because he is passionate about his work, willing to help others, and remains safety oriented.

Vernon Free

Mike Gile, Plant Manager-Chicago Heights

Mike does everything in his power to take care of the customer without jeopardizing safety, quality and business results. Caring about his employees, Mike looks after his team members like all leaders should. He works hard to keep everyone safe and assists with career development and growth. This equates to a win for Greenbrier, Chicago Heights and the employees.

Michael Gile

Kevin Hawes, Paint Shop Operations Manager

Kevin takes pride in each railcar’s paint job. He consistently interacts and updates his leadership team, ensuring that the facility stays on top of Greenbrier’s core values of safety and quality. He takes care of the team on the shop floor, providing assistance and guidance where needed to ensure the group’s success. As a member of Greenbrier’s Diversity & Inclusion Strategy Committee (DISC), Kevin has been instrumental in the IDEAL training in Paragould.

Donna Tyner, DEI Lead

Donna has made a huge contribution to Greenbrier with the implementation of the IDEAL program and the work she has put into fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace environment. Donna inspires many with her positive attitude and commitment to cultivating a sense of belonging. Her compassion and kindness help employees and peers feel welcome and included here at Greenbrier. Thank you, Donna, for your commitment to IDEAL and Greenbrier. We wish you a happy retirement!

Donna Tyner

Fred Watkins, Greenbrier Paragould Paint Shop Superintendent

What does the railcar manufacturing industry mean to you? 

Rail is the heartbeat of America. It allows customers to ship and receive products all around the world. During the times when gas prices surged and the river was too low for barge use, the railroads kept on rolling. Greenbrier has given me a stable place of employment and allows me to provide a comfortable living for myself and my family. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, we were identified as essential workers, which allowed us to continue to provide goods and services to all parts of the world.”  

Fred Watkins

Tracy Scott, Corbitt Manufacturing Operator 2

What does the railcar manufacturing industry mean to you? 

The rail industry provides a means to transport our foods, automobiles, (things we order online and express shipping.) It is also a form of effective transportation for travel including subways, trolleys, and elevated trains. In Detroit where I am from, we refer to these as “people movers” which is popular in downtown.”

Tracy Scott

Marcel Parker, Corbitt Manufacturing Operator 2

What does the railcar manufacturing industry mean to you? 

The rail industry has provided me with a good job and a great environment to work in.”

Marcel Parker