The 2022 Railroad Person of the Year, Mike Mowen, is a third generation railroader who worked for five different railroads over his 41-year career. From his start as a yard clerk in Durand in 1976, he held many titles and positions, advancing from clerical work to administration, union representative and training and development.
By the early 1980s, Mowen had attained the position of Assistant Supervisor of Station Services and was responsible for overseeing all the clerical positions in Durand, Bay City and Saginaw. Later that decade, as the work from Durand was being transferred to Flint, he was instrumental in the transfer and assembled an operating procedures manual for that transition. He also served as local representative for the Transportation Communications Union while in Durand. After the closure of Durand, Mowen hired in with the Central Michigan Railway as a consultant to assist in the start of operations of that new company and eventually landed in Tawas City where the Detroit & Mackinac Railway was based. Once again, he was elected as Local Chairman of the TCU, representing the D&M clerical workers, until the time the D&M Railway was sold.
Mowen took a hiatus from railroading and pursued other ventures at this time. He was a motel owner, property manager, Harbormaster, real estate salesman and manager of a bowling establishment. He also held the title of President of the Tawas Bay Tourist and Convention Bureau, held a seat on the Tawas City zoning board, was an officer in the Tawas Coast Guard Auxiliary, and was active with the Knights of Columbus and the Kiwanis Club.
Returning to railroading took Mowen to Chicago, again with Grand Trunk Western and their merger with Illinois Central gave him more opportunities for advancement. He spent time as a tower operator/train dispatcher before being promoted to trainmaster and moving back to Michigan. Eventually, he was tasked with setting up the system for the public to use that identifies every RR Crossing with location and phone numbers to call if there is a problem. That system is still in use today.
Retiring in 2017, Mike and his wife, Cindy live in Ovid and are active in their church in several roles. They are proud parents and grandparents and are currently getting ready to build their retirement home.