Mike Garcia portrait
Feb 21, 2018

Symposium Continues with the Internet of Things at BNSF Railway

FVCC’s 2018 Honors Symposium continues February 27 with “The Internet of Things at BNSF Railway.” Mike Garcia will discuss what happens when a railroad with more than 150 years of history joins the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution. Free and open to the public, all Honors Symposium lectures begin at 7 p.m. in the large community room in FVCC’s Arts and Technology building.

Garcia is a director in Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s (BNSF) Modern Business Intelligence and Mechanical Systems department.

According to Garcia, BNSF is utilizing industrial IoT technologies to transform the inspection and maintenance of more than 32,500 miles of track, 8,000 locomotives and two million railcars. BNSF is supplementing manual track inspections with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, preventing derailments of railcars through the use of remote sensors, and tracking the movement of containers inside of rail yards with the use of smart cameras. The use of advanced analytics and big data platforms allows information gathered from thousands of remote sensors to be used to enable predictive maintenance for engineering and mechanical assets. Garcia will discuss how BNSF is using IoT to improve the safety, reliability and efficiency of its network while also considering the impact to employees and their career development within the company.

Garcia has more than 15 years of experience in technology leadership positions across several industries, including energy, retail and transportation. He holds an M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.S. in Computer Science & Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington.

The Honors Symposium continues a tradition of bringing thoughtful public discussion regarding current hot-topic issues to the Flathead Valley and is funded in part by Humanities Montana, the Kalispell branch of the American Association of University Women, FVCC Alumni and Friends, and the Theodore Chase Endowment Fund.

Subsequent lectures in this year’s Honors Symposium include:

March 6: “Technology and China’s Rise to Great Power” presented by Dr. Karen Adams, chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Montana, and; “Haunted by the Cyber Ghost: National Cybersecurity Policy and Transatlantic Collaboration” presented by Dr. Eva-Maria Maggi, professor at the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona and at the Department of Political Science at the University of Montana.

March 13: “Cyborg Senses: On the Cusp of a New Era in the Philosophy of Perception” presented by Dr. Brian Keeley, philosophy professor at Pitzer College in Claremont, California.

March 20: “Computers, Automation and the Human Future” presented by Nicholas Carr, journalist, Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times bestselling author.

For more information, visit or call symposium organizer Dr. Gerda Reeb at (406) 756-3889.