Ron Birkelbach Brings Global Advanced Train Control, Systems Integration and Project Management Expertise to HDR

Ron Birkelbach
Ron Birkelbach

Ron Birkelbach has joined HDR to lead our advanced train control systems practice.

Working from our Pittsburgh office, Birkelbach will collaborate with clients and multidisciplinary teams to support the development and management of transit and rail systems projects in North America and around the world. 

“As new challenges arise in mass transit, it is our responsibility as consultants to develop new concepts and ideas to help our clients meet those needs,” said Birkelbach. “Our advanced train control practice works with our clients to determine the best approach, control system architecture, and solutions to meet their needs for safe, cost-effective and efficient operations.”

Throughout his 30-plus-year career, Birkelbach has developed deep expertise in transportation signalling and systems, systems/facilities integration and project management. Starting at a large system supplier, he worked with General Railway Signal (now Alstom) and spent many years in South Korea developing signalling and control systems for the Korean National Railway. He moved on to a signalling firm where he had the opportunity to work on major automated people mover systems for airports, including Miami DPM, Sea-Tac Airport APM, and Frankfurt Airport APM. Birkelbach also served as a systems integrator for the New Jersey Transit River Line and as chief engineer for a large communications-based train control urban rail transit project.

Prior to joining HDR, Birkelbach led the Americas region at a large signalling and turnkey systems supplier, responsible for projects in North and South America, Germany and United Kingdom.

“Ron is a preeminent transportation systems specialist with a unique background in advanced train control and integrated project delivery,” said Rail and Transit Systems Director Rick Schmedes. “He has many years of experience with state-of-the-art transit technologies and has developed a unique perspective from the supplier and consultant side of projects. Ron is applying his knowledge of managing systems aspects on several important transit projects and greatly strengthens our design and project management capabilities in the systems arena. In his relatively short time with HDR, Ron has already been engaged on the signature Ontario Line Subway Program in Toronto.”

Ron holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and music performance from Texas State University.