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At Your Service

Put Jim Porterfield's specialized knowledge to work for your organization.

Fund Raising: "From Soot to Soufflé," a presentation supported by PowerPoint illustrations, a handout, and a railroad China and memorabilia display, traces the history of rail dining - from road-kill to award-winning high cuisine - and concludes with a Question/Answer session. Best when accompanied by a rail-themed dinner, which can be customized to a specific railroad or region, and a book signing. Organizations that have offered this program include:
• The B&O Railroad Museum
• New York Central Railroad Museum
• Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
• Reading Railroad Historical & Technical Society
• Passenger Train Historical Society
• Steamtown

Other topics for which talks are available:
• Railroad Fiction: Telling the Railroader's Story
• Romance of the Rails: Why People Love Trains
• The Railroad Police: Crimes along the Right-of-Way

Tours: Organizing and/or hosting rail-themed excursions for the following organizations:
• Holiday Vacations: Host for pre-established rail tour itineraries across the Western United States and in British Columbia.
• American Orient Express: Host and guest speaker for numerous trips in various regions of the United States and Canada, including regularly accompanying this private luxury train's Los Angeles-Seattle Pacific Coast Culinary Explorer excursions.
• Penn State Alumni Association: Organized and accompanied a "Romance on the Rails" Washington-Chicago excursion on Amtrak for Valentine's Day weekend.

Conferences, Institutes and Other Activities:
• Penn State Altoona: Organized, marketed and hosted the annual 3-day Railroad Heritage Conference (1998-2005), with each year's conference devoted to a different topic and held at differing locations. Unique features included speakers customized to the annual topic, rail-themed dinners, and an evening film festival featuring movies exploring a specific aspect of railroad history or culture.
• Amtrak Culinary Advising Team: Prepared and narrated a 30-minute video outlining the history of rail dining and exploring why passengers place importance on their rail dining experience for Amtrak's in-house culinary training and menu development program.
• Tourist Railway Association, Inc.: Organized and moderated a panel discussion entitled "Dining Cars Finally Make Money - For You," exploring the ways successful dinner train operations help railroad museum and excursion operators raise funds.
• American Association of Private Railway Car Operators: A presentation on the importance of food preparation and service to the overall travel experience for those who charter private rail cars for business or personal use.
• Amtrak National Train Day: Created the content and acquired the illustrations used in the May 8, 2010 culinary exhibit and cooking demonstrations offered in Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles. This content is now part of the "Food on the Move" exhibit at Johnson & Wales University's Culinary Arts Museum.
• Penn State Conferences and Institutes: Seminars on business planning for bed-and-breakfast owners, customer relationship management for field managers, social styles communications techniques, and similar management and marketing topics.

• Railfan & Railroad Magazine: Contributing Editor responsible for "On the Menu," a monthly column about rail dining, and features on railroad artists and historic sites.
• Journeys for a Railroad Tourist: Circle Leader for a website that is part of Gozaic, a service of Heritage Travel, an affiliate of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
• Television: Guest appearances on TV Food Network, WPSU to do cooking demonstrations during fund-raising, and numerous other local and regional programs as an interview subject.
• Radio: Interviews on "Fresh Air with Terry Gross," "Let's Talk Travel with Sandy Fenton," and other regional and local broadcasts.

Consulting: A diverse background in publishing, entertainment, and advertising, as well as marketing consulting to computer, electronics, insurance, and manufacturing firms, includes developing marketing plans, reviewing grant proposals, and creating program content.

For more information, or to discuss a specific program, contact the author at