Center’s Board Elects New Leadership

The Center for Railroad Photography & Art’s twelve-member board of directors has decided, with unanimous votes, who will guide the organization following the end of founder John Gruber’s presidency on March 1. The board named Scott Lothes as president and executive director, the latter a position he has held since August 2011. The board also created a new position, chairman of the board, to which it elected T. Bondurant “Bon” French. Gruber, who will remain on the Center’s board and active in several projects, said, “Bon French’s support of the Center has been an inspiration. He is dedicated to railroad photography and understands the Center’s mission. He is highly qualified to serve as the Center’s first chairman of the board.”

French, who joined the Center in 2002 and its board in 2009, brings a wealth of business, financial, and cultural knowledge to the organization’s leadership. Bon manages the Chicago-based investment firm, Adams Street Partners. In addition, he serves as a trustee of Northwestern University, as a member of the Kellogg Graduate School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board, and on the board of the Chicago History Museum. An active railroad photographer, he has photographed more than 650 different railroads in the United States and Canada. French commented, “I am pleased to continue to help the Center grow and prosper in any way I can. It is marvelous how many different talents we have on the board.”

Lothes joined the Center’s staff on a part-time basis in 2008 and has steadily taken on more responsibilities. He is an award-winning photographer and widely published author, with more than 300 photographs in print and 40 bylined articles to his credit, including many in Trains and other railroad magazines. At the Center he has also proved his remarkable skills as an executive. Lothes said, “The Center is on a great path thanks to John Gruber’s vision and dedication, the loyalty of our members, and the board’s strength and support. I am grateful for their confidence and look forward to a bright future.”

Over the course of the past few years, the Center has enjoyed a robust expansion in both scope and practice. The coming “Faces of Chicago’s Railroad Community: Photographs by Jack Delano” exhibition at the Chicago History Museum represents a substantial advancement in the Center’s efforts to showcase the role of railroad photography in public history. In addition, another outstanding “Conversations about Photography” conference is slated for Lake Forest College this April 12-14. Educational, inspirational, and entertaining, the conference remains the highlight of the year for many railroad photographers.

The Center continues to thrive and evolve as a vibrant, nationally recognized organization, looking ahead to many years of continued success in promoting the incredible wealth of visual arts and images associated with railroading. We look forward, as well, to the continued support of our many colleagues, members, and fans.

The Center’s board of directors has elected Bon French as Chairman of the Board and Scott Lothes as President and Executive Director. Lothes (left) and French are shown addressing the crowd at Conversations about Photography 2012, the Center’s annual conference. Photographs by Steve Crise.