Distinguished Member Award

The Railway Applications Section (RAS) is able to serve our profession through the contributions of volunteers. Although contributions from everyone are appreciated, some volunteers’ contributions have far-reaching impact. Their impact has had a profound influence on RAS’s direction and inspires others to follow in their footsteps. The RAS Distinguished Member Award is given to recognize such individuals.


The Distinguished Member Award will consist of a plaque containing the name of the award and the recipient’s name and organization. Additional wording (such as a brief description of contributions) is optional.

A press release will be prepared and submitted to OR/MS Today, given to the INFORMS Marketing Department for distribution, and sent to railroad industry publications. The railroad industry publications will help to raise awareness of the DM Award beyond INFORMS membership.


The Distinguished Member Award is given to long-time contributors and supporters of RAS. Eligibility requires:

  • RAS membership for 10 or more years
  • Contributions to the theory or practice of OR/analytics for railways
  • Contributions to RAS in at least three of the following areas:
    • Elected RAS Officer
    • Assisted in different non-elected RAS activities, including but not limited to: cluster chair, roundtable chair, newsletter editor, award committee, etc.
    • Served as RAS session chair, presenter, or invited speaker
    • Supported RAS programs either by leading or sponsoring
  • Contributions to RAS and the profession shall be of a long-lasting nature

NOTE: This award does not have to be presented every year and can be awarded to acknowledge noteworthy contributions.

Nomination Process

All Distinguished Member Award nominations must specify:

  • Who is nominating (name, affiliation, and contact information)
  • Who is being nominated (name, affiliation, and contact information)
  • Nomination letter body
    • Why is this person worthy of this award?
    • Why are their contributions long-lasting?
  • A list of contributions to RAS:
    • Elected RAS positions held
    • RAS volunteer efforts
    • History of RAS membership
    • RAS presentations/roundtables/sessions
    • Other RAS contributions
  • Any contributions to the theory or practice of OR/analytics for railways

Each nominating person will be notified by the Committee Chair that the nomination was received.  The nominees will not be notified that they are being considered, and the full list of nominees will not be known outside of the award Committee.

The name of the Distinguished Member Award recipient will be publicly announced at the INFORMS Annual Meeting. 

Award Committee

The Distinguished Member Award Committee shall be chaired by the Immediate Past Chair of RAS. If the Immediate Past RAS Chair is unavailable to serve, then the current RAS Chair will select a replacement Distinguished Member Award Committee Chair.  The Distinguished Member Award Committee Chair shall be responsible for appointing new members to the Committee, and the appointments must be approved by the RAS Chair. The Committee will be composed of 5 to 7 members, all of whom must be current members of RAS.

The Committee Chair is suggested to recruit the previous five award winners to serve on the committee. The Committee Chair may supplement this group as needed, and should attempt to include at least one (1) officer, one (1) industry professional, and one (1) academic representative.

The Committee shall not have more than one member who belongs to the same organization, except in the following cases:

  1. The Immediate Past RAS Chair and the current RAS chair belong to the same organization.
  2. A member of the committee changes organizations to that of another committee member during the nomination and selection process.

Appointment to the Distinguished Member Award Committee is for two years. Terms shall be staggered so that approximately half of the committee changes each year and the other half remains for continuity. New Distinguished Member Award Committee members shall be selected and approved by July 1. In the event that a committee member backs out, the Committee Chair will work to find a suitable replacement.


  • Formation of the award committee (finalized by July 1st )
  • Call for nominations (on or before July 1st)
  • Final date for nominations (August 1st)
  • Award committees final decision (September 1st)

For more information please refer to the RAS Policies and Procedures document.

Distinguished RAS Members


RAS Distinguished Member


Roger Baugher (TrAnalytics, LLC)


--Not awarded--


--Not awarded--


Kamalesh Somani (CSX Railway)


Dr. Mike Gorman (University of Dayton)


Dr. Pooja Dewan (Burlington Northern Santa Fe)


Dr. Dharma Acharya (GE Transportation)


Dr. Clark Cheng (Norfolk Southern)


Carl Van Dyke (TransNetOpt)


Ravi Ahuja (Innovative Scheduling and University of Florida)


Ajith Wijeratne (Norfolk Southern)