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EGI-backed RailUSA taps Wilson as president and CFO

RailUSA LLC, a freight railroad and rail services holding company, has appointed Barbara Wilson as president and chief financial officer. Previously, Wilson was president of Wells Fargo Rail. RailUSA is backed by Equity Group Investments.


BOCA RATON, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–RailUSA, LLC, an independent freight railroad and rail services holding company, has named Barbara Wilson, a 26-year veteran of the railroad industry, President and Chief Financial Officer, overseeing all commercial, operational and financial functions. The company also announced the promotions of Charles “Hank” Hankerson to Vice President of Operations, and David Pope to General Manager of its Florida Gulf & Atlantic Railroad.

Previously, Barbara was the President of Wells Fargo Rail, the largest rail equipment operating lessor in North America. In this role, she managed more than $8 billion in assets and led a 215-person team in growing the business 3x through acquisitions. Earlier in her career, Wilson served as Chief Financial Officer for Helm Financial Corporation, an independent locomotive and railcar operating leasing company.

“Barbara’s expertise in strategic planning, financing, acquisitions and integrations in the rail sector, along with her strong reputation and relationships throughout the industry, are a great value add for RailUSA,” said Evan Harwood, RailUSA Board Director and Managing Director at Equity Group Investments (EGI), the lead investor in the company.

In Hankerson’s new role as Vice President of Operations, he oversees day-to-day operations, including oversight of railway operations and commercial growth at both of RailUSA’s rail lines — Florida Gulf & Atlantic (FGA) and Grenada Railroad. Hankerson joined RailUSA last year as General Manager of FGA. Previously, he was the Superintendent of Operations at Canadian Pacific Railway in Ontario. He spent the bulk of his early career at Norfolk Southern Corporation, serving in a number of operations leadership roles, the last of which was Terminal Superintendent. At both companies, Hankerson oversaw all areas of operations, including safety, mechanical and engineering, service and manpower levels, accident investigations, and hiring/training.

Pope, who joined RailUSA in early 2019, has transitioned from Assistant General Manager of FGA and is now responsible for all operational and commercial aspects of RailUSA’s FGA line. Previously, Pope served as Division Manager for RJ Corman Railroad in Kentucky. His earlier career included roles as General Manager of Genesee & Wyoming in Connecticut; General Manager of RailAmerica; and Superintendent of Operations, Piedmont Division, of Norfolk Southern Corporation. Pope has more than 20 years of experience in rail operations expertise.
Trevor Costilow, who started his rail career at Grenada Railroad in 2011, will continue to oversee the Grenada Railroad’s commercial and transportation operations as General Manager.

“We have a robust team and strong platform,” added Harwood. “Our goals are safety, great service, and growth. Our vision is to align best-in-class run railroads with management that is solely focused on North American short line and regional rail lines. Combined with a well-capitalized owner partnership and a marketplace with numerous opportunities, we are very well positioned for growth.”

About RailUSA
RailUSA is an independent freight railroad and rail services holding company headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida. The company is majority-owned and controlled by Equity Group Investments (EGI), the private investment firm of Sam Zell, and other EGI-led investors. International Rail Partners, a group of veteran rail operators, is also an investor in the company. RailUSA owns and operates two short line/regional railroads – Florida Gulf & Atlantic Railroad, which runs between Baldwin, FL, and Pensacola, FL, and Granada Railroad, which runs between Memphis, TN, and Canton, MS. For more information visit

About Equity Group Investments
Equity Group Investments (EGI) is the private investment firm founded by Sam Zell 50 years ago. Based in Chicago, EGI invests opportunistically across industries and geographies and throughout the capital structure. Current portfolio investments are in transportation and logistics, energy, waste and infrastructure, manufacturing, communications, healthcare, agribusiness, insurance, and real estate. EGI provides flexible capital and employs an engaged ownership approach to maximize the potential of its investments. For more information on EGI, visit