L. E. Peabody & Associates, Inc. (1989-1997, 2011-present) -- Ms. Nielsen has over twenty-five (25) years of experience developing and directing studies analyzing the rail transportation industry. Many of these studies were directed toward cost reduction, profitability analysis, maximum rate reasonableness determinations and contract negotiations.
Ms. Nielsen has developed various aspects of stand-alone cost evidence in several Surface Transportation Board (STB) proceedings dealing with the calculation of maximum reasonable rail transportation rates for rail shippers. These include variable costs of service, traffic assignments, and development of rail routes using railroad timetables and track charts.
Ms. Nielsen provided operating analysis in support of contract negotiations and is very skilled in development of computer models and database management. She also developed estimates of SAC results for a variety of rail shippers to aid in contract negotiations. Ms. Nielsen participated in the development and implementation of negotiation strategies to assist rail shippers in achieving rate and service improvements working in partnership with transportation companies.
Previous Related Experience – Ms. Nielsen managed an organization with a $1.5 million annual budget. In addition, she has planned, directed and performed financial and economic analyses and prepared reports for railroads, shippers, Associations, state governments, the Department of Transportation Secretary and Inspector General, the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and other public organizations concerned with transportation and related economic issues. These analyses include financial assessments of intercity passenger rail programs, operational and cost analyses, assessment and valuation of potential short line properties, evaluation of equipment utilization, competitive market analyses and evaluation of going concern value.
American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (2007 – 2011) – Ms. Nielsen managed the staff, created monthly financial reports to assist with tracking revenues and expenditures and for informing the Board of Directors. She also mechanized the budget process and developed and implemented office operating procedures to streamline activities and improve the utilization of personnel.
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Department of Transportation, Office of the Assistant Inspector General for Competition and Economic Analysis (DOT) (2002 – 2007) – As the Chief, Program Development Division with the FRA, Ms. Nielsen directed the development of a new process, required by the FY 2006 Appropriations Act, to identify the capital and maintenance expenditures by Amtrak on the Washington-New York City-Boston Northeast Corridor. The analysis required input and cooperation from Amtrak and eight commuter railroads with significantly different accounting systems and differing fiscal years. Ms. Nielsen tracked Amtrak’s financial and operating performance and cash flow forecasts for incorporation in weekly updates and monthly meetings of the Amtrak Board of Directors. While at DOT, Ms. Nielsen analyzed and evaluated the effectiveness of intercity passenger rail programs and produced a report to Congress incorporating these analyses and recommendations for reporting changes to improve future results. (Assessment Report on Amtrak's 2003 and 2004 Financial Performance and Requirements, November 2004).
Parrish, Blessing & Associates, Inc. (1999 – 2002) and Snavely King Majoros O'Connor & Lee, Inc. (1997 – 1999) – Ms. Nielsen specialized in economic analysis and evaluation of transportation sourcing alternatives including a presentation to the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation concerning potential intermodal alternatives to deal with increasing container traffic on Virginia’s highways. Ms. Nielsen presented Verified Statements to the STB regarding interest applicable to lost profits and trackage rights payments. Ms. Nielsen also organized and reviewed site location options and conducted negotiations for a new production facility requiring inbound and outbound rail services.
Ms. Nielsen received a BA in English from the University of Southern California in 1980 and has taken graduate level courses in Accounting and Transportation Economics at George Mason University.
Ms. Nielsen attended Leadership in a Democratic Society at the Federal Executive Institute in 2005. She has also taken the following courses while with the DOT; Strategic Public Leadership, Basic Governmental Auditing, Creativity and Innovation (MCI), Managing Auditor’s Writing, Audit Quality and the Audit Process.
Ms. Nielsen is an active volunteer for At Home in Alexandria, a local “village” organization providing services and social opportunities to Alexandrians over 55 years old (athomeinalexandria.org). Ms. Nielsen served as co-chair of the membership committee for several years and as Treasurer for the organization between 2014 and 2018.