Greenbrier Celebrates Women’s History Month


Tue, Mar 23, 2021 05:36 PM


Women's History Month

Women’s History Month commemorates women’s past, present and future contributions to society and has been observed every year in the United States since 1987. Historically, women’s contributions have been underemphasized in all spheres, including workplace settings such as rail manufacturing. While women have been employed with the railroads since the 1800s, some of the first positions available to women were as registered nurses and “stewardesses” in passenger cars. Over the ensuing decades, roles for women expanded as additional opportunities became available.[1] Greenbrier was formed in 1985 and is proud to offer competitive opportunities for women to start and grow their careers at our locations across the globe.

Spotlight: Brooke Smith, Human Resources Coordinator, Greenbrier Marmaduke

Greenbrier seeks to recognize its many accomplished female employees during Women’s History Month. We participated in a Q&A session with Human Resources Coordinator, Brooke Smith. Brooke started at Greenbrier Paragould in 2013 as a welder and moved into an office role at Greenbrier Marmaduke over the following years. She is respected and cherished by her colleagues and through her role in HR helps make Greenbrier a great place to work.  

“Brooke is a calm constant during a year of chaos and change in the world. She makes everyone feel very glad to be part of the Greenbrier family.”

     - Samantha Brandon, Human Resources Generalist

What motivated you to become a welder? How did you discover those skills?

I was at a difficult point in my life, having to start over, and knew I needed a job making more money. I had never done anything like it before and knew absolutely nothing about it. I started weld school and shared my story with the instructor. I let him know that I was very determined and would learn the trade if he would just give me a chance. He didn’t give up on me even though I took longer than other students to graduate. I actually became a decent welder and learned to enjoy it, but my long-term goal was to get a position in the office.

What motivated you to make the switch to HR? Those are two incredibly different career paths. How was the transition?

I always knew I wanted an office position, but I was willing to be patient and put in the hard work until an opportunity arose. After being a Production Assistant/Maintenance Clerk, I became an Administrative Assistant to the Director of Manufacturing and then to the VP of Manufacturing. In 2020, in the face of a pandemic as well as a reduction in production, I was approached about assisting HR. For the sake of job security, I gladly accepted the offer. This quickly turned into a full-time position along with keeping some of my administrative duties. I am so thankful for the opportunity and continue to remain grateful that I was able to maintain my career during such a trying time.

What was your favorite thing about welding? What is your favorite thing about your current position?

My favorite thing about welding was learning something completely new and foreign to me and being pushed out of my comfort zone. My favorite thing about being an HR Coordinator is being able to help our employees; plus, I am a part of an amazing team.

What does IDEAL mean to you? How do you see these values portrayed at Marmaduke?

I think the IDEAL commitment is an amazing opportunity to show what we stand for as a company. At Marmaduke, we value hard-working, ethical employees, regardless of your age, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status or religion.


Spotlight: Brandy Blazer, Exterior Sprayer, Greenbrier Paragould

We participated in a Q&A session with one of our talented exterior sprayers, Brandy Blazer. Brandy has worked at Greenbrier Paragould for five years. Her work is vitally important to the manufacturing process, as painting is one of the final steps to get our railcars on the tracks. 

How did you know you wanted to become a painter? How did you discover those skills?

My husband was a painter. He helped me understand the process. I was intrigued in painting by the technicality and hard, honest work.

What brought you to the rail industry?

My father has worked for the company for 16 years and he has climbed the ladder to become an operations manager. I wanted to follow in his footsteps.

What is your favorite thing about your current position at Greenbrier Paragould?

My fellow employees. They treat me as an equal, which helps me rise to the occasion.

Anything else you would like to add?

Greenbrier is a great place to work to support your family. No matter your size, age, gender or anything else, if you set a work-related goal, they will give you the chance to achieve it.

During Women’s History Month and all-year-round, we are proud to employ such a talented and dedicated workforce in each of our locations worldwide. Thank you for all you do for Greenbrier and the freight rail industry.

Greenbrier GIMSA | Monclova, Mexico

Greenbrier Maxion | Hortolândia, Brazil

Greenbrier AstraRail | Arad, Romania

Greenbrier Wagony Świdnica | Świdnica, Poland

Corbitt Manufacturing | Paragould, Arkansas 

[1] BNSF News Update March 2021