I first talked with Michael Ward in the late 1990s; he'd been with CSX and its predecessors for 20 years, and he came across as a down-to-earth, to-the-point guy. A forward-thinking problem solver. Ward had risen through the railroad's ranks, and over the course of the next 15 years, he would rise even higher: He was named president in 2000, and chairman and CEO in 2003. Since then, Ward has guided CSX through some difficult stretches and prepped the Class I for the rail world to come: new energy realities, new freight patterns, new service strategies. It's that guiding, that prepping, that problem solving that prompted us to name Ward this year's winner of the Railroad Innovator Award, which recognizes an individual's outstanding achievement in the rail industry. As mentioned in my April issue column, he will receive the award at our annual RailTrends® conference, which will be held Nov. 19-20 in New York City. Hope to see some of you there. And: Congrats, Michael. We'll definitely see you there.