Greendale Resident Named President of East Troy Electric Railroad

At the age of 23, Ryan Jonas is the youngest certified operator and president in the history of the organization.

The East Troy Electric Railroad has announced the appointment of Ryan Jonas of Greendale as president of the railroad and Bernie Van Dinter as chairman of the board.

At the age of 23, Jonas is the youngest certified operator and president in the history of the organization. 

“It’s an honor to serve as president of the East Troy Electric Railroad,” said Jonas. “I’m looking forward to doing my part in leading the railroad into its 106th year of consecutive operation. I also hope to introduce the railroad to young adults interested in historic trains and those that have an affinity for maintaining the past so it can be shared with future generations.” 

The not-for-profit railroad, one of only three electric interurban railways in the U.S. that have maintained electric operations for over 100 years, continues to be operated and managed by a legion of volunteers committed to the operation and preservation of historic trolleys and interurban railcars.

Jonas is the assistant director of technology at Messmer Catholic Schools in Milwaukee. He was previously a network technician for the Greendale School District.

Jonas was the recipient of the Youth Service to the Church award from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in 2009. Jonas has served as a volunteer at the East Troy Electric Railroad for the past six years holding a variety of leadership roles including director and assistant director of operations, dinner train manager, director of technology, webmaster and train operator.

Van Dinter, 79, has been a volunteer at the railroad since 1994. He has previously served as the organization’s director and secretary and has spearheaded numerous campaigns including fundraising, membership development and the reconstruction of four highway crossings. Van Dinter’s professional career includes 40 years at the Wisconsin Electric Power Company.  He currently resides in Greendale.

“Ryan has done a tremendous job since he came onboard six years ago,” said Van Dinter.  “We’re looking forward to welcoming other young adults that are interested in ensuring the longevity of the museum and playing a pivotal role in one of Wisconsin’s more unique attractions.”

For more information on the East Troy Electric Railroad, visi www.easttroyrr.org.

rosie o January 23, 2013 at 01:05 AM
Ryan is wonderful! Never have I known such an energetic, knowledgeable man--ready to help and do whatever. He will go far!
RyansFan January 23, 2013 at 02:15 PM
There are so many ideas I have for the railroad that I know Ryan will be able to accomplish. First, when it is deer hunting season, I would like one of the trains painted blaze orange and allow hunters onboard as the train could make an excellent deerstand. I would also like one car to continuously play "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum and maybe Ryan could even have lead vocals! I heard he sings like an angel! Maybe another car can play "Crazy Train!!" Let's fill one of the cars with water and make it into an aquarium. I know the trains are electric so we can fill the water with electric eels in the spirit of electricity. I think that Ryan should dress up as a clown and then have a dunk tank into the aquarium car!! Also, we can dress one BIG train up as a shark and dress a little train up as a scuba diver and run them into each other!!! Yes!! I think we all know who'd win that one! Ryan is the greatest conductor since Fredrick "Earl" Caleworth and is always full of humor, smiles, and starshine. President of the railroad today... PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD TOMORROW!!!!
Donna Ouellette January 24, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Congratulations Ryan!!!
Anonymous Resident January 26, 2013 at 02:02 AM
Lorie, Since when does proposing to your girlfriend and taking off for a religious retreat constitute being a good president? Our country's president goes on vacation at a moments notice sometimes. I know Ryan, and I would be willing to bet that these events were not spur of the moment and were planned. I wish Ryan the best and say good job. Your hard work is paying off


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