When you join MARS you are joining a network of rail shippers and their carrier partners and can tap into this network of your peers to gain valuable knowledge, connections and more member benefits. Qualifications for all memberships are listed in the by-laws.
MARS predecessor organization started meeting in 1924 to solve transportation difficulties experienced by rail freight customers. Initially railroads were not allowed to be members but were available to assist in problem solving. In 1968 MARS became the first region to allow railroad membership. MARS continues to serve as a popular and effective forum for resolving important issues in rail freight transportation. Today, MARS is often called the premier rail shippers organization and stands out as the best conference value for rail freight executives to attend. MARS membership is a valued credential.
MARS meets in January and July each year providing top quality speakers addressing a variety of topics of interest to rail freight decision makers, as well as a chance to meet hundreds of others in the industry. In addition, MARS hosts several subject specific break out sessions. The most cost effective conference available.
The agendas at the MARS conferences feature noteworthy executives from all segments of business that affects rail freight, addressing the most current subject matter.
MARS membership is made up of officers and decision makers of rail customers, railroads and suppliers of rail freight oriented goods and services. MARS conferences have the highest attendance of the rail shipper’s associations with recent meeting registrations running close to 500 in July to 800 in January. Meetings are organized to provide plenty of networking time with phone app and hardcopy attendance lists, with contact info, to assist in meeting the right people.
MARS’ Bernard J. Thomas Scholarship Program is available to children and grandchildren of active members. Each year the program makes scholarship awards of up to $2500 to the top qualifying candidates applying for a scholarship. Scholarship criteria are outlined in the Scholarship section of the website.
Through participating in MARS organizational activities or through a wide variety of sponsorship opportunities MARS provides a great deal of recognition at our meetings as well as on our website.