When you think of a profession that helps save lives, engineering doesn’t immediately come to mind. But countless people have been kept safe thanks to Larry Kelterborn's work as an engineer specializing in rail travel.
An internationally respected expert in the design, operation and safety of passenger rail, Kelterborn was a key player in developing the first U.S. federal passenger rail equipment safety standards following a number of fatal accidents in the North American passenger rail industry in the mid-1990s.
“Larry’s achievements have saved lives and protected railcar passengers from death and injury from accidents,” said Robert Lauby, Deputy Associate Administrator for Regulatory and Legislative Operations for the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Kelterborn also led discussions that laid the foundation for North American high speed rail.
“Railcar designs, crash energy management systems, window glazing and other safety systems all reflect Larry’s dedication and skill,” according to Lauby. “His efforts are sprinkled throughout FRA’s federal regulations and exist in virtually every rail car manufactured today.”
Kelterborn started building an international reputation back in 1982 when he founded Burlington, Ontario rail consultancy, LDK Engineering. Over the years, LDK’s projects included high speed rail in Texas and Florida, Amtrak’s express trains, as well as designs and consultation for the Euro Tunnel and Transport Canada. When U.K.-based Interfleet Technology was looking to develop a North American presence, the company turned to Kelterborn, acquiring LDK in 2007. Through his past roles as Interfleet’s President and Senior Advisor, and his current work as an independent consultant, Kelterborn has continued to influence the design of rail travel.
A seasoned world traveller with numerous career highlights, Kelterborn can nevertheless recall his Sheridan years vividly. Most notably, he credits his experience as a Sheridan student-athlete with shaping his future. “The lessons I learned through varsity athletics about leadership and teamwork are fundamental to my professional and personal development. I wouldn’t be who I am today without Sheridan,” Kelterborn says.
The relationships he formed at Sheridan, both as an athlete and a student, have lasted a lifetime. Kelterborn met his future wife, Jill at the college, as well as colleague, James Forbes. Forbes and Kelterborn inspired each other to pursue engineering degrees before the idea of joint college-university programs was common.
Larry Kelterborn is a 2015 Ontario Premier’s Award nominee in the Technology category. The Premier’s Awards honour one outstanding Ontario college graduate in each of six categories annually.