Alumni Honoree: Keith T Decosta

Keith T. DeCosta received his associate degree in Science/Rail Engineering Technology from Gateway Community College in 2018. He was hired by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) as a signal maintainer helper in the Communications and Signaling Department. In this position, he helps install signal-related components, relays, central instrumentation houses, track switch machines, color light signal assemblies, grade crossing systems and signal system/positive train control interfacing equipment. He also is involved in excavation to prepare for signal system direct burial cables; power cables; and the splicing, repair and terminations of buried cables.

Since joining Amtrak, Keith has achieved several qualifications: roadway worker protection, AMT 2, fall protection, forklift operation, and rigging. He is set to enter Amtrak’s two-year signal maintainer training program, which will qualify him as a signal maintainer responsible for upkeep and proper operation of the signal system within a specified track section of Amtrak’s Northeast Division territory.

Before pursuing a career in railroad engineering technology, Keith amassed 20 years’ experience as an automotive and truck repair technician, earning certification as an ASE

Master Technician and State of Connecticut emissions test inspector.

Keith’s love of “all things mechanical” goes beyond his professional career. He has volunteered at the Shoreline Trolley Museum, where he lends his expertise to many aspects of maintaining and constructing the track and signal system. This has included everything from installing replacement signal system wiring to bending tight radius in new rail in the trolley yard, to service and repair of machinery and equipment used in construction. He also gives back to the community as a volunteer member of the Branford Fire Department, Short Beach Hose Hook & Ladder Co. 4. Additionally, he was instrumental in securing a donation of used Amtrak signal equipment to Gateway’s railroad technology program, where it helps current students train for careers in that field.

He and his wife Darce have three children: Justin, Bela and Francesca. He enjoys watching his family grow and attending his stepsons’ football games and wrestling tournaments. He also makes time for his hobbies, including travel, hiking and collecting vintage lightbulbs and glass insulators.

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