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 14 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 79 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 and National Railway Equipment Corp.

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.

Paul Bastone

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Bastone serves as Chief Financial Officer of International Rail Partners LLC. Prior to joining IRP in 2021, Mr. Bastone was a business consultant working for the CEO & principal shareholder of a major US truckload carrier and freight broker from 2019 to 2021. Prior to this, Mr. Bastone was a managing director and Global Co-Head of Transportation Investment Banking at J.P. Morgan where he spent twelve years building and managing coverage groups in New York, Moscow and London. He joined J.P. Morgan in 2005 from Bear, Stearns & Co. where he spent eight years in New York building a top-tier transportation banking group from the ground up. In his 20+ years as an investment banker in the transportation sector Mr. Bastone originated and executed a broad range of global M&A transactions and raised billions of dollars across equity and debt capital markets globally. A native of New York City, Mr. Bastone holds a B.A. from Middlebury College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

James Howarth

Chief Commercial Officer

Mr. Howarth has over 49 years of railroad experience. He began his railroad career as a locomotive engineer at the Delaware Otsego Corporation. He later held marketing management positions at the Delaware and Hudson Railway and CSX Transportation.  As Vice President at CSX, Mr. Howarth ran two different business units, as well as later serving as Vice President – Merchandise Marketing. After retirement from CSX, Mr. Howarth served as Vice President – Business Development for the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway. In addition, he served on the Board of Directors of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association and currently serves on the Boards of three regional railroads. In 2016, Mr. Howarth founded Railsense LLC, where he serves as the Managing Member, providing consulting services to all areas of rail transportation.

Mr. Howarth received his B.A. and M.B.A. degrees from the State University of New York.

Robert Schellig

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.

Bennett Marks

Financial Consultant

Mr. Marks is a Financial Consultant at International Rail Partners LLC (IRP).  Mr. Marks served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer with IRP from 2013 to his retirement in 2021. Prior to his position with IRP, Mr. Marks served as Executive Vice President and Chief ·Financial Officer of two other railroad companies, Patriot Rail Corp. and RailAmerica, Inc. (NYSE:RA).  At Patriot Rail, Mr. 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, led quality control review teams and instructed at numerous national and local training sessions.

An inactive/retired 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.

Angel Gajardo


Mr. Gajardo serves as a South America Consultant to International Rail Partners LLC. He has over 30 years of experience managing railroad and financial companies in Latin America. He held high-level management roles at Ferronor railroad in Chile, Banco Bice and Citibank in Chile and NM Rothschild & Sons in Mexico.  His expertise includes strategic planning, transportation operations, railroad management, business development, organizational restructuring, investment analysis, commercial banking, leasing, factoring, cross-border financial structuring, M&A, project finance and bond issuance. As CEO of Ferronor from 2001 to 2004, he was responsible for all railroad operations and management of a major regional railroad operating a system of 1,400 miles running 40 trains per day carrying over 8 million metric tons per year on routes from Argentina to Chile across the Andes. Mr. Gajardo also acted as a consultant to Patriot Rail Corp. in South America developing new business and acquisition opportunities.

During 2019, as manager and senior engineer of a private contractor to BHP in Chile, Mr. Gajardo lead a team that successfully implemented the truck to rail transportation of 75,000 tons/year of scrap from BHP (Minera Escondida) to Baquedano using 12 trains per month. In 2020 the project was expanded to include backhaul of spare parts totaling 36,000 tons/year from Baquedano, significantly reducing costs and increasing supply chain efficiency for BHP. During 2020, Mr. Gajardo lead the team that advised BHP (Minera Escondida) in the assignment of a 20-year contract to transport supplies (sulfuric acid, diesel, chemicals), finished products (copper concentrate, copper cathodes, scrap) and miscellaneous cargo by rail.

Mr. Gajardo holds a Civil Industrial Engineering degree from the Universidad de Chile.