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Case Study 1 - Railroad Rebuilds Safety Culture, Reliability

Successes & Research

Spotlight: Published Articles


Strengthening Reliability in High Hazard Industries: Reconciling Tensions for Impact (click to download)

Rebuilding Reliability: Strategy and Coaching in a High Hazard Industry (click to download)

Profile: OmniTRAX, Inc. is one of the largest short-line railroad companies in North America and is based in Denver, CO. It started in 1986 with one short-line RR (Great Western Railway of Colorado - GWR) and now operates 21 RRs in the United States and Canada.

OmniTRAX had moderate growth through August 2013, when Kevin Shuba was hired as CEO to take the organization to the next level.

Shuba brought ELP on board in January 2014, and this OmniTRAX-EL partnership aligned quickly on building and improving their safety culture. Drawing on ELP’s revolutionary methodologies, we also sparked a step-wise improvement in reliability across their entire railroad system.

Process: Upon arrival, ELP launched its proprietary Strategic Performance Management (SPM) process. Unparalleled within high risk/high hazard industries, they began with a robust Needs Analysis. Armed with this nuanced and sophisticated understanding, ELP developed customized coaching lesson plans and tools to enhance the behaviors to help Shuba not only meet, but exceed, his vision and mission.

ELP continued to partner with Shuba and key OmniTRAX leaders to develop individual and aligned One Page Strategic Plans. From this strong foundation, ELP provided each leader with an executive coach helping them focus and deliver on their One Page Plan.

ELP provided one-on-one (and team) coaching and real-time feedback while working with a large number of leaders during this major transition.

Culture-shaping values, S.H.O.R.T values, were developed over the course of the OmniTRAX – ELP partnership.

Station Performance

S.H.O.R.T. values:

  • Safety
  • Honesty & Trust
  • Ownwership
  • Respect & Value Our People
  • Teamwork


  • FRA Reportable Train accidents decreased by 45%.
  • FRA Reportable Injuries improved by 22%.
  • Incident costs reduced by 23%.
  • >16% average increase in EBITDA past three years.
  • Operating Ratio improvement every year for past 4 years.
  • A more engaged workforce and leadership team, feedback rich culture.

But they are just getting started! OmniTRAX continues its meteoric growth trajectory. Look no further than their newly formed line of business, OmniTRAX Energy Solutions, which leverages their efficient rail operations to provide frac sand directly from the mine to the wellhead, providing extremely cost-effective resources to support America’s energy demands.

Case Study 2 - Creating an Operations Led Organization

Profile: Case 2 is the largest electrical generating facility with two of the three largest generating units in New England producing steady output of 2020 MWe. This facility was suffering from a range of serious performance problems, including a reactivity event in early 2011 and a series of missteps, including poor training interventions at the site level.

To address critical performance problems, ELP initiated cross-unit behaviors, inspiring a more engaged workforce and leadership team, improved the learning orientation of plant personnel, and drove Refueling Outage budgets and schedules to industry standards.

Process: ELP launched its Strategic Performance Management (SPM) system including one page simplified strategic plans for key leaders at the station as well as other ELP standardized protocols that included stakeholder management and regulatory analysis services.

Serious sanctions for the reactivity event in February 2011 were avoided.

Outage planning tools surrounding leadership and teamwork behaviors resulted in one of the best Refueling Outages in the last 10 years. The results from ELP's combined regulatory analysis and communication training enabled the station to pass a high-risk Training Review Board at the Institute for Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) in 2012.

Case Study 3 - Improving Station Accountability

Profile: Case 3 is a PWR that provides electricity to over 750K homes. Several single-point equipment vulnerabilities from poor equipment maintenance and low equipment reliability contributed to a series of plant trips that cost them millions.

Leaders of the company engaged ELP to improve alignment and develop strategies that strengthen accountability and improve ERI and INPO scores. In addition, executives needed more evidence that a second reactor under construction, Unit 2, was aligned and integrated within the station.

Process: ELP launched its Strategic Performance Management (SPM) system and developed one page simplified strategic plans for key leaders at the station. All plans were linked horizontally and vertically, and better alignment and focus were immediate results.

A thematic coaching intervention involved 12 discreet Leadership Lesson Plans. ELP integrated the Site Communication specialist and OD/HR contact. Existing communication channels and HR mechanisms (performance evaluations) were the catalyst to improvement.

Case Study 4 - Work Management: The Ultimate Team Sport

Profile: Case 4 is a PWR that enjoyed a long period of high performance, until a serious event shook the confidence of the entire station. After the event, the station tried several approaches to get the performance back on track but were unsuccessful.

Station PerformanceAt a station that relied heavily on relationships to get work done, the stress of this period exposed several significant process gaps resulting in industry oversight. Senior managers did not communicate effectively with each other and were not aligned. Engineering, Operations, Work Management and Maintenance departments drifted apart, resulting in silos.

Process: ELP partnered with the station to develop individual and aligned one-page strategic plans for key leaders at the station. The result was a step-change in behavior that restored horizontal and vertical alignment.

The station went from 4th to 1st quartile performance. Online planning and scheduling led their fleet. A recent Refueling Outage was one of the best in history, getting back on-line two days early.