Depot Trips with Dad
by Mike Francis
Alfred Francis, track laborer and grandfather of Mike Francis, team leader - billing services, National Customer Service Center,stands with his MoPac section gang in Charleston, Mo., in the 1940s.
Mike Francis, team leader - billing services, with his father, Ted Francis, at Ted's retirement from his role as manager - Customer Billing in 1985.
I've always had an interest in trains since I was a child, playing with model railroads, and railroading runs in our family, with a 120-year legacy.
It began with my grandfather, Alfred Francis, in the days of steam. He started as a track laborer with the MoPac in 1923, in Fisk, Mo. In 1940, he was promoted to section foreman, and in 1965, he retired after 42 years of service.
My father, Alvis "Ted" Francis, also started his career with the MoPac, as a station clerk in Charleston, Mo., in 1945. He left for almost two years, to serve in the U.S. Navy during WWII, but once he completed his military tour, he came back and worked as a station clerk in Sikeston and De Soto, Mo., and then as chief clerk/cashier in Cairo, Ill. When he retired after 40 years of service, he was the manager – Customer Billing.
When I was growing up, sometimes my dad would take me to the depot on Saturdays, and eventually, I came to work for the Missouri Pacific in Dupo, Ill. In the early '70s during college, I worked summers as a trackman, carman helper and machinist helper.
After graduation, I worked four years in Operating and Transportation, and then 20 years in Revenue Accounting in St. Louis. Now, I'm the team leader-billing services in the National Customer Service Center.
Union Pacific's 150-year history shows that we're an important part of our country, and it's a great privilege to work for such a successful railroad.