Kerby Vulgamott

Director of Transit Operations | Amsted Rail
Granite City, Illinois, USA

From personal development to building a business

Kerby Vulgamott began his career in 1998 through Amsted’s Cooperative Education Program (“co-op”), which gives college students the opportunity to combine academic programs with relevant work experience at an Amsted business and prepare them for future leadership positions in the organization. Through the co-op, Kerby was exposed to various manufacturing problems, functions, and processes to advance his career – and he found a home at Amsted Rail.

24 years later, Kerby is now building a brand-new business within Amsted Rail’s Granite City foundry as the Director of Transit Operations. As primarily a provider of freight rail components, Amsted Rail’s venture into transit is both exciting and challenging. For Kerby, the daily challenges are one of his favorite aspects of working in the rail industry.

“Every day is different,” he says. “There are always new obstacles to overcome with a lot of brilliant people.”

A culture of ownership

Over the years, Kerby has contributed to his teams with his abundance of experience in operations, safety, health, and personal development. He credits his personal success to his mentors at Amsted Rail who have guided him through his career, as well as the overall culture of the company. Kerby describes the culture as collaborative and family-like.

“If you have a question, you have immediate access to anyone higher up in the company,” Kerby explains. “No one here is above another, no matter their position or title. Everyone is there to help one another.”

Another contributing factor to the culture, Kerby says, is Amsted’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Because employee-owners have a stake in the business, they are motivated and passionate about their projects, knowing that their contributions to the company mean they are gaining that success as well.

Paying it forward

Throughout his career, Kerby has had the pleasure of seeing employees he has helped hire or once mentored go on to run their own operations. Now going on to lead the new transit team, he has the opportunity to watch newer individuals coming into the industry begin to grow.

“I am most excited to successfully execute the Granite City transit project because I think it is a pivotal program that the team can pass onto the next generation of Amsted workers.”