She Wears Steel-Toed Boots:
TRACY DELEON, IDMC
INTERVIEW: Tracy DeLeon
President and Owner of International Decal Management Corporation
Question: What is your current position/title? How long have you worked for the railroad?
Answer: I am currently the President and Owner of International Decal Management
Corporation. We are a supplier of decals and distribute AEI tags and reflective to the Railroad industry. I have worked in the Rail industry since 1989.
Question: Briefly describe your day-to-day activities.
Answer: I manage sales, marketing, accounting, manufacturing, ordering and distribution. (I
also take out the trash and vacuum the floors
Question: What led you to choose a career in railroading?
Answer: In 1989 I was a few years out of college working as a Paralegal for a nursing association. I received a call from a head
hunter who asked if I would be interested in a position with a railcar leasing company. The rest is history. The company was small, but grew very large, so I had to wear many hats. Before electronic readers—yes, I’m that old--a person (a man) would stand and write down the railcar number, then it would be typed into a teletype machine. [When it came] across our teletype machine, I would retype in the information for billing and tax purposes. I also handled the Lessee contracts and movement of railcars between Lessees and to/from the repair shop.
Question: What do you love most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Answer: I love my customers and the people that I work with in the industry. You make lifelong friends working in rail. I also
love that the job is different very day; rail is very fast-paced and challenging.
Question: What personal characteristics and/or people have contributed most to your success and how?
Answer: Many people have mentored me along the way - just by keeping me sane and giving me good advice when I was ready
to be done with it all. In my 25 plus years I have encountered very few negative people - and it’s always nice to come to work with all of that positivity.
Question: With national attention so focused on the treatment of women in the workplace, have you faced challenges and
obstacles as a woman working in a predominantly male industry? If so, how did you respond to them?
Answer: Of course there are challenges being a woman in this industry, more so back in the eighties. I can honestly say that I
have not felt that men held me back. There were, of course, the few that thought you were there to bring them coffee or take notes but I’ve been fortunate that I have usually felt my opinion and my work mattered and was taken seriously. When I was younger, I probably did not handle things the way I should have and ignored probably more than I should have but times were different then. Men would not get away with some of the things that went out back in the late 80’s early 90’s.
Question: Women have come a long way since the days of the telegrapher and the Harvey Girl. What are your hopes for
women in the future of railroading? Where do you see the greatest opportunities?
Answer: I think the possibilities for women in rail are endless. Women can do anything on the railroad - there is no reason why
not. Women are engineers, designers, mechanics, welders etc. As well, women have certainly advanced in the office as well. A woman could easily run a railroad or multiple roads!
Question: What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in railroading?
Answer: Advice - work hard. You do sometimes have to work twice as hard for ½ the recognition but I think some men even
face that. Jobs are more competitive now and you want to stand out. Hard work sometimes goes unnoticed by who you think you want to notice it - but rest assured someone is watching and your value will be recognized.
Question: Please feel free to share any other stories or information you'd like us to know about your experience as a woman
Answer: I have so many wonderful stories. Rail for me has been a fabulous career. I’ve met great people and I’ve learned so
much about the transportation industry, our government (I am on the RSI board and sit in on the Political Action Committee meetings). Every job is going to have its challenges - I’ve been fortunate that those challenges have been few and far between in the rail industry and that there was always someone to help me through them.
Interview conducted via email in March 2018.