Jeffery Votteler Chairman
Local Number: 1597
Jeff Votteler’s family roots have been firmly planted on the railroad for over a half century. His father started as a switch tender and then became a conductor brakeman. He served 41 years of service, while holding multiple positions as a local officer. He spent the last 15 years of his career as a SMART General Chairman of GO-065. His brother Chris has been a railroad conductor for 25 years and has also held a position as local secretary for three terms.
It was a natural fit for Votteler to become a railroader, through his father and older brother he quickly learned that a strong union was critical to the working man. He watched as his father spent endless nights working on pending investigations, Public Law Boards and contract negotiations. He understood that you must participate and work hard for the union to be successful.
Votteler started his journey at Metra as a tower operator on the Rock Island Division in early 2000. He made a transition to the Belt Railway Company of Chicago in 2003, where he is currently employed. He started as a switchman, then became a Yardmaster, hump conductor, and a certified RCO operator. He also serves as a SMART member on the railroad’s safety committee.
Votteler’s family has always been a strong proponent of union workers rights and in 2005 he decided to run, and was elected, for Alternate Legislative Representative of Local #1597. While holding office as Alternate LR, Votteler was elected to and served as Local President until he decided to take the Legislative Representative role in 2009. He served as the Local #1597 Delegate to the SMART International Conventions in 2011, 2014, & 2019.
In 2016 Votteler was nominated and elected by the Illinois SMART Legislative Representative Delegates to fill the role of Vice Chairman of the Illinois Legislative Board. In 2020 at the Quadrennial Re-Organizational meeting, Votteler was nominated and elected as the Chairman of the Illinois legislative Board, where he currently holds the role of Chairman.
Votteler currently resides in Oak Forest with his Wife Diane, and daughter Skylar.