Ed McKechnie

Experience: Transportation, Railroads, Appropriations, Coalition Building, Taxation, Federal Funding Policy


Ed McKechnie is 32-year veteran of public policy and the railroad industry, having risen to leadership roles in both state government and the short line railroad industry. In 2018 he retired from a distinguished career as an officer and shareholder in Watco Companies, having served in top executive positions in government affairs, marketing, business development and global strategy. During his tenure at Watco he helped grow the firm’s revenue from about $50 million a year, when he joined the company in 2000, to more than $1 billion a year by 2018.

McKechnie was an integral part of the mergers and acquisitions team at Watco, and he spent considerable time working with the seven Class I Railroads in development of a wide range of joint projects and business opportunities. While at Watco, he led the development of public policy for the short line railroad industry at the federal level. As a Board Member of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association he drove efforts to enact into law the “45G” Railroad Maintenance Tax Credit and to create the Short Line Safety Institute, an independent organization dedicated to short line rail safety.

McKechnie has held numerous political offices in the state of Kansas. Following appointment by the Governor and confirmation by the Kansas Senate he served from 2010 – 2012 on the Kansas Board of Regents. This is the governing body of the six Universities of Higher Education in Kansas, also having responsibility for the coordination of all post-secondary education in the state. He served as Chairman of this body from 2011 to 2012, and Vice Chairman from 2010 to 2012. He was appointed to the Kansas Bio Science Authority in 2007, a position confirmed by the Kansas Senate, where he served as Treasurer of the organization, chaired the Governance Committee, and was on the investment committee that led Kansas’ efforts into diversifying the economy into the Bio Science Industry. He spent 10-years in the Kansas Legislature, from 1991-2001, with expertise in Appropriations, Transportation, Utilities and Education. He represented the Third District and served as Caucus Chair, Minority Whip and was a leader on Appropriations and several Select Committees. He currently serves as a member of the USD 250 Pittsburg Community Schools Board of Education.

He began his career working for Governor John Carlin in 1986 in Topeka in Constituent Services and as an aide to Congressman Dan Glickman in Washington, D.C. in 1987. He holds a degree in Communications from the Pittsburg State University in 1986,