Crossing at deadly train wreck site has warning signals

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The railroad crossing where a train carrying Republican lawmakers struck a trash truck Wednesday is equipped with two advance warning signs, two roadway gate arms, two mast-mounted flashing lights and a bell to warn of an approaching train.

Those details are included in a U.S. Department of Transportation Inventory Form dated Jan. 3 describing the warning system at the crossing near Crozet, Virginia.

According to the report, three freight trains pass through the intersection during the day and two at night, on average. The report says passenger trains don’t go through very often – an average of less than one per day.

The maximum speed for trains crossing the intersection is 60 miles per hour.

One accident report filed by CSX Transportation in 1999 said a train hit a vehicle that was stuck between the rails at the crossing. No injuries were reported, but there was damage to the train’s engine and the vehicle, which was driven by a 70-year-old woman who got out of her car before the train hit.

But  man who lives near the railroad crossing said the crossing arms have not been working correctly.

Benny Layne said the truck landed on his property Wednesday after it collided with the Amtrak train near Crozet, Virginia.

Layne told The Associated Press that he has recently seen lines of cars stopped at the crossing, with the crossing arms lowered even though no train was approaching. He said motorists would get out of their cars to help guide other motorists around the malfunctioning arms so they could cross the tracks.

Layne says he has seen the arms stay down for hours. He also says he saw a man examining the crossing arms this week.

CSX Transportation owns the tracks where the crash occurred. Buckingham Branch Railroad leases the tracks and is responsible for maintenance, signaling and traffic dispatching on the line.

A spokeswoman for Buckingham said she was not aware of any problems with equipment at the crossing but referred questions to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the crash.

The post Crossing at deadly train wreck site has warning signals appeared first on WTOP.

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Rob Carey of GDIT Talks About the Importance of Practical Experience in Cybersecurity

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By Renee Brown Small, CEO, Cyber Human Capital, and Contributing Editor, CyberCapital.us Blog

“You don’t have the ability to make sound decisions until you’ve had some experience under your belt.” – Rob Carey, Vice President, Cybersecurity, Cloud and UC Solutions, General Dynamics Information Technology

Carey v2Some of the questions fresh graduates who want to enter into cybersecurity are: “Where should I start?” and “What’s the best experience I can get?” Rob Carey of General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) addresses these questions and gives further insight into what he, and those like him, look for in future cybersecurity professionals.

Rob Carey started in the United States Navy as an undersea weapons systems engineer before he was transferred to the Department Navy’s Chief Information Officer office, where one of his first jobs was to roll out smart cards. He became the CIO himself in 2006, held the post of principal deputy chief information officer from 2010 until his retirement in 2014, and at present is the vice president of Cybersecurity, Cloud and Unified Communications Solutions within the Global Solutions Division of GDIT. As such, he is presently concerned with a wide range of cybersecurity concerns.

Rob remarks that part of his present work involves cloud computing, particularly where cybersecurity affects those using cloud computing. As an example, Rob remarks that, while accessing a commercial cloud computing environment from a government location and then doing what one needs to get done in that environment may sound simple, but the reality is that it is not. In addition, Rob is presently setting up a lab designed to evaluate various cyber tools and determine how well these work in a given environment, allowing GDIT to propose solutions to the government, rather than merely riding on what is already commercially available.

When asked who are the best candidates for his team, Rob looks at a candidate’s experience level. His people are very much in touch with present technologies and know how security operation centers operate. Rob notes that the best person for the job isn’t necessarily the candidate with a Master’s degree in electrical engineering, but could be someone who has a particular approach to solving the problem at hand and who has some technical knowledge of cyber. A candidate having real-world experience is very important to him and his team, as it is those kinds of security professionals who understand how things work in the real world. He notes that he is looking for people who have had experience in security operations centers, as the actual hands-on experience gained from working there is necessary for designing systems, which is a part of what his department handles.

Along with running his department, Rob is presently doing his part in helping the next generation of cybersecurity professionals gain practical experience, as he is sponsoring half a dozen senior students at George Mason University, helping them out with a class project that involves creating a framework to work on a cybersecurity matrix and to evaluate cybersecurity.

At present, GDIT is looking to expand as it changes the way it engages its customers, both in the United States government and in the cyber industry, and Rob notes that being part of the growing team that he’s presently handling would be a great opportunity.


Renee Brown Small is the author of Magnetic Hiring: Your Company’s Secret Weapon to Attracting Top Cyber Security Talent and CEO of Cyber Human Capital, an HR consultancy that specializes in innovative ways companies hire and keep cybersecurity talent. Download a free copy of her book here. Brown Small is contributing editor of the CyberCapital.us blog.

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Victim in fatal Fairfax Co. fire identified

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WASHINGTON — Fairfax County fire officials have confirmed the identity of the man who died in a house fire Monday morning.

The Fairfax County Fire Department said Wednesday that 64-year-old Charles Petrello died in the fire in the 4100 block of Mount Echo Lane.

Firefighters were called to the single-story house in the Greenbriar section of Fairfax County at about 10:40 a.m. Monday. Fire officials said smoke was showing from one of the bedroom’s windows when they arrived and one of the men, who lived in the house, had managed to escape and was waiting for firefighters in his front yard.

Fire crews extinguished the fire and located Petrello’s body inside.

Investigators said the fire, which was caused by “improperly discarded smoking materials,” started in a bedroom. The department did not provide any specifics about the smoking materials.

Homicide detectives are continuing to investigate Petrello’s death, and are awaiting more analysis from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The post Victim in fatal Fairfax Co. fire identified appeared first on WTOP.

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Exclusive: I-66 toll construction to take down 2-year old high-tech traffic management system

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WASHINGTON — The two-year-old high-tech system that allows the Interstate 66 “red X” lanes to be opened outside of rush hour will be taken down within the next 12 months, WTOP has learned.

The active traffic management system, which includes digital signs over each lane on a stretch of about 12 miles of I-66 just outside the Capital Beltway, cost $39 million. Work began in 2013; the system was first activated in September 2015.

Construction on two HOV or toll lanes in each direction between the Beltway and Gainesville is set to ramp up this spring, and that will disrupt the system.

VDOT plans to turn the system off within the next year, Megaprojects Director Susan Shaw said.

“We do anticipate that will occur in the next six to 12 months, and prior to that we will want to get some word out about how that’s going to happen and how that will work in the corridor,” she said.

During four years of construction of the toll lanes, which will be free for cars with three or more people and an E-ZPass Flex, the private companies building and running the lane are required to keep lanes open in the peak direction during rush hour.

When the project is completed, permanent shoulders will replace the “red X” lanes that are opened to traffic in the peak direction during rush hour. Since the active traffic management system launched, the lanes are also often opened at other times when traffic builds.

“We’re working through how best to transition away from that,” Shaw said.

“We will impact the foundations and the signs and structures fairly early in the construction process, and so it’s dealing with how do we manage that and how do we still keep traffic moving,” she explained.

VDOT installed the traffic management system knowing that it could be torn out in just a few years, since project planning was well underway when Interstate 66 toll lane plans more seriously moved forward.

“We already had a contractor who was underway; much of the equipment had been purchased although it wasn’t in place, and so we made a conscious decision to move forward with that, not fully knowing the timing of … the larger outside-the-Beltway project, and recognizing that we were in a very constrained corridor that had a lot of congestion,” Shaw said.

Most of the equipment is specific to the I-66 corridor and can’t be shifted to another highway or portion of I-66.

“We felt like even with a short-term use of that, there was still a very large public benefit to continue with that project,” Shaw said.

The post Exclusive: I-66 toll construction to take down 2-year old high-tech traffic management system appeared first on WTOP.

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Rob Carey of GDIT Talks About the Importance of Practical Experience in Cybersecurity

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By Renee Brown Small, CEO, Cyber Human Capital, and Contributing Editor, CyberCapital.us Blog

“You don’t have the ability to make sound decisions until you’ve had some experience under your belt.” – Rob Carey, Vice President, Cybersecurity, Cloud and UC Solutions, General Dynamics Information Technology

Carey v2Some of the questions fresh graduates who want to enter into cybersecurity are: “Where should I start?” and “What’s the best experience I can get?” Rob Carey of General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) addresses these questions and gives further insight into what he, and those like him, look for in future cybersecurity professionals.

Rob Carey started in the United States Navy as an undersea weapons systems engineer before he was transferred to the Department Navy’s Chief Information Officer office, where one of his first jobs was to roll out smart cards. He became the CIO himself in 2006, held the post of principal deputy chief information officer from 2010 until his retirement in 2014, and at present is the vice president of Cybersecurity, Cloud and Unified Communications Solutions within the Global Solutions Division of GDIT. As such, he is presently concerned with a wide range of cybersecurity concerns.

Rob remarks that part of his present work involves cloud computing, particularly where cybersecurity affects those using cloud computing. As an example, Rob remarks that, while accessing a commercial cloud computing environment from a government location and then doing what one needs to get done in that environment may sound simple, but the reality is that it is not. In addition, Rob is presently setting up a lab designed to evaluate various cyber tools and determine how well these work in a given environment, allowing GDIT to propose solutions to the government, rather than merely riding on what is already commercially available.

When asked who are the best candidates for his team, Rob looks at a candidate’s experience level. His people are very much in touch with present technologies and know how security operation centers operate. Rob notes that the best person for the job isn’t necessarily the candidate with a Master’s degree in electrical engineering, but could be someone who has a particular approach to solving the problem at hand and who has some technical knowledge of cyber. A candidate having real-world experience is very important to him and his team, as it is those kinds of security professionals who understand how things work in the real world. He notes that he is looking for people who have had experience in security operations centers, as the actual hands-on experience gained from working there is necessary for designing systems, which is a part of what his department handles.

Along with running his department, Rob is presently doing his part in helping the next generation of cybersecurity professionals gain practical experience, as he is sponsoring half a dozen senior students at George Mason University, helping them out with a class project that involves creating a framework to work on a cybersecurity matrix and to evaluate cybersecurity.

At present, GDIT is looking to expand as it changes the way it engages its customers, both in the United States government and in the cyber industry, and Rob notes that being part of the growing team that he’s presently handling would be a great opportunity.


Renee Brown Small is the author of Magnetic Hiring: Your Company’s Secret Weapon to Attracting Top Cyber Security Talent and CEO of Cyber Human Capital, an HR consultancy that specializes in innovative ways companies hire and keep cybersecurity talent. Download a free copy of her book here. Brown Small is contributing editor of the CyberCapital.us blog.

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