Team building

Ross Sterling and Allen Klingenberg, who work at BNSF Railway in Augusta, took advantage of a great opportunity to both give back to their community and teach their workers some invaluable skills in fun ways.
They assembled 40 workers. Some were from Sterling’s signal department, which handles electrical work and circuitry. The others were with Klingenberg, who is the Road Master and heads the away maintenance and track department.
The two groups worked together to assemble 10 bikes, all of which were getting donated back to the community through the Boys and Girls Club of America.
It wasn’t business as usual when assembling these bikes, though.
“We decided to do some team building, because our guys work together out in the field a lot,” Sterling said. “We wanted something that would improve communication, team effectiveness, morale.”
They worked in groups of four, but everyone had his own unique set of circumstances.
“We gave them all different handicaps to work through different challenges,” Sterling said.
One employee was in charge, but he could not touch any tools or the bicycle itself. His job was solely to enforce safety rules, read the instructions and handle the briefing.
Another worker was blindfolded. He could touch the bike and use tools, but he had to operate purely by listening and following instructions closely.
The last two members of the team had a different hand made unavailable to them, so they had to work together as they had to rely on each other to get the job done.
“We’re in different crafts, if you will, but each project requires both teams to be there at different points of the day,” Klingenberg said. “This (project) was to communicate and solidify our family value that we have. We want them working together as a family. We want them communicating, talking. So we introduced different obstacles.”
They, of course, worked within safety protocols, but each team had to talk about how to overcome random obstacles.
At the end of the day, they produced 10 bikes, five for boys and five for girls. Jordan and Ed, two directors from the Boys and Girls Club of America, shared a success story of one of their kids and said they would be getting one of the bikes to give to a child. It’s moments like this that make the whole project worth it for Sterling and Klingenberg.
BNSF Railway is a national company with 42,000 employees and operates in 28 states, as well as three Canadian properties. They have several locations in Kansas, including nearby ones in El Dorado, Winfield and Mulvane.