Gary O. Marino

Chairman & CEO, Managing Member

Mr. Marino founded International Rail Partners LLC in 2012 to pursue the acquisition and operation of domestic and international railroads, as well as other rail-related support businesses worldwide. Prior to founding IRP, Mr. Marino served as Chairman, President and CEO of Patriot Rail Corp. He founded Patriot Rail in 2005 and directed its growth, including its acquisition of 13 railroads across the United States. In June 2012, Mr. Marino consummated the sale of Patriot to SteelRiver Infrastructure Partners. Prior to founding Patriot, Mr. Marino co-founded RailAmerica, Inc. (NYSE:RA) in 1985 and served as its Chairman, President and CEO for 20 years prior to his retirement in 2004. Under his leadership, RailAmerica became the world’s largest short line and regional railroad company. In addition to managing a company with more than 2,800 employees, Mr. Marino directed the merger and acquisition activities of the company and was successful in consummating and integrating 32 acquisitions with a purchase price totaling more than $750 million. Under his direction, RailAmerica acquired 75 railroads in 5 countries and operated more than 15,000 miles of rail lines with assets in excess of $1.2 billion and revenues of more than $500 million. In 2002, he accomplished the listing of RailAmerica stock on the New York Stock Exchange. Earlier in his career Mr. Marino spent more than 15 years in the commercial banking and venture capital finance industries.

A native of New York, he received his BA degree from Colgate University and his MBA from Fordham University. From 1966 through 1969, he served as an officer in the United States Army. In addition, Mr. Marino served on the Board of Directors of the Association of American Railroads.

J.D. Ventrcek


Mr. Ventrcek serves as President of International Rail Partners LLC.  Mr. Ventrcek has 43 years experience in the railroad industry including 24 years with the Union Pacific and its predecessors. He has held various railroad management and senior management positions in Operations and Corporate Development including President and Chief Operating Officer of Weyerhaeuser’s Railroad Division and later, Senior Vice President Corporate Development with Patriot Rail Corp.

Mr. Ventrcek has served as President of the Oklahoma Short Line Association, President of the Arkansas Short Line Association, President of Arkansas Operation Lifesaver, board member of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), board member of the American Railway Development Association (ARDA) and Chairman of the Rail Advisory Committee for the State of Louisiana along with various other non-profit, civic and professional organizations.

Mr. Ventrcek received his degree in Economics from the University of North Carolina. He served with distinction in the 101st Airborned Division in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968.

Bennett Marks

Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Marks is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of International Rail Partners LLC. Prior to his affiliation with IRP, Mr. Marks served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of two railroad companies, Patriot Rail Corp. and RailAmerica, Inc. (NYSE:RA). At Patriot Rail, Mr. Marks also served as a member of its Management Committee from its inception in 2005 until its sale to SteelRiver Infrastructure Partners in 2012. During this time, Patriot Rail grew from a start-up to the owner/operator of 13 railroads throughout the United States. At RailAmerica, where he served from 2000 to 2002, Mr. Marks developed and implemented the financial framework of the Company as revenues grew from $130 million to $450 million. Before entering the railroad industry, Mr. Marks served as EVP and CFO of five publicly-held and privately-owned companies in the health care, manufacturing, distribution and telecommunications industries. Mr. Marks also has 21 years of experience in public accounting, including 10 years as an audit/client services partner with KPMG where he was an Associate SEC Reviewing Partner and the Administrative Partner in charge of the West Palm Beach, Florida office. He served a rotation in the firm’s National office, lead quality control review teams and instructed at numerous national and local training sessions.

A licensed CPA in Florida and New York, he has held leadership positions in a variety of community, charitable and professional organizations. Mr. Marks received his degree in Accounting from New York University.

Joe Bencivenga

Sr. Vice President - Finance | EVP Finance & Strategy - RailUSA

Mr. Bencivenga serves as EVP – Finance & Strategy of RailUSA and Senior V.P. of Finance for IRP. He brings a 35 year background in leverage financing, mergers & acquisitions, global capital markets and restructuring. He possess extensive real-world experience in corporate governance, management, start-ups, and operational challenges through numerous board appointments in a wide spectrum of industries. Mr. Bencivenga held senior positions at Drexel Burnham, Salomon Brothers, and Lehman Brothers. He first worked with this management team when he was at Barclays Capital and helped them raise $100 million. He has been raising capital for Short Line railroads since 2000. Mr. Bencivenga received his MBA – Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University – Madison, New Jersey

Robert Schellig

Sr. Vice President – General Counsel

Mr. Schellig has over 42 years of transportation industry experience in the regulatory compliance, government relations, acquisitions and divestitures, contract administration, and litigation areas, including 5 years as Vice President-Law at Patriot Rail Corp. For 14 years he was a senior executive in the executive and legal departments of Canadian National Railway. Mr. Schellig served as Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the Lapeer County (Michigan) Prosecutor’s Office. He was also in private practice for several years, specializing in corporate and regulatory law for short line railroads and transportation-related companies. Mr. Schellig received his Juris Doctor degree, with Honors, from Michigan State University (Detroit College of Law) and a B.A. from Albion College in Michigan.

Jack Conser

Rail Operations Consultant

Mr. Conser has 42 years of short line and Class I railroad operating, marketing and senior management experience. He comes from a long line of railroaders with his father, grandfather and uncle serving in train service. Currently, Mr. Conser is a rail industry expert specializing in analysis of prospective railroad purchases and the start-up of newly-acquired railroads. Formerly he was with RailAmerica, Inc. for 11 years, with his last position as Senior Vice President – Operations. In that capacity, he managed 42 individual short line railroad operations, led labor negotiations for over 300 employees, and conducted due diligence and supervised the start-up of railroad operations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Chile. Mr. Conser joined RailAmerica in 1992 as Vice President and General Manager of RailAmerica’s first railroad. Mr. Conser started his railroad career with the Reading Railroad, and later moved to the New York Central, the Penn Central, the Providence and Worchester, and Genesee and Wyoming in various management and operating positions.

Phil Larson

Rail Operations Consultant

Mr. Larson currently serves as Manager – Corporate Development at IRP. Mr. Larson has over 40 years of experience in managing short line freight railroads, as well as passenger operations with Amtrak, where he retired as General Manager of Amtrak’s Empire District in Albany, NY where he was responsible for over 1,000 miles of track, 500 employees and 26 passenger trains per day. He began his career as a brakeman on the Norfolk & Western Railroad, and has since held various mid and senior management positions on the Penn Central, Canadian National and Wheeling & Lake Erie railroads, and at Amtrak. Since retiring from Amtrak, Mr. Larson worked as an independent consultant specializing in training personnel in various railroad operating functions. He also conducts safety audits and is a certified engineer. Mr. Larson has a BS degree in Education, and is a third generation railroader.

Graham Claytor, III

Rail Operations Consultant

Mr. Claytor started his railroad career on the track gang at a short line railroad on the Virginia Peninsula, moving on to the diesel shop, train operations and yardmaster. He worked for a regional railroad and a Class I as an operating officer in various positions before moving to Southern Pacific to head up Plant Rationalization (selling, leasing and abandoning railroad lines). He then moved to RailAmerica, Inc. as Vice President Operations and Senior Vice President International. He has been consulting on a variety of domestic and international projects since 2002. Mr. Claytor developed international operations with the economic analysis, bid and purchase of Ferronor, a 1,200 mile Chilean railroad, and managed its transition from a government-owned entity to private company as Chief Operating Officer and later Director. Mr. Claytor also implemented heavy haul service modifications for a five million ton iron ore task for Ferronor, and planned and began a new nitrate inter modal movement near Baquedano, Chile.