Many see the railroads as a dying industry. New trucking companies and logistics outlets are springing up everywhere, and fewer people are using trains to transport their goods. The truth of the matter is, however, that there are now fewer rail companies in existence, and these companies are able to corner the market and make higher profits while providing a service that few trucking companies are able to match. One of the most influential players in the North American railroad industry is Gregory James Aziz.
Greg Aziz has always been a player in whatever industry he has been a part of. After graduating from college, he joined Affiliated Foods, a company owned by his family in Canada. He spent 16 years improving their processes and drastically growing the bottom line of the company through expanded distribution. Aziz has also shown that he has the ability to take a poor investment and turn it around. After leaving Affiliated Foods, he spent his time in New York with investment bankers, working with the market and making his portfolio grow every year.
Gregory J. Aziz’s most groundbreaking moment, however, was when he decided to purchase National Steel Car, a purveyor of rolling stock for railroads, from Dofasco in 1994. This purchase was a huge risk for Aziz. There had already been rumors that the industry was a dying one, and that many companies would soon go under. Greg Aziz did not see this as a detriment, but a challenge. He wanted to show the world that just because you are facing obstacles does not mean there is a way to overcome them.
In his first several years as CEO and Chairman at National Steel Car, James Aziz made several changes. NSC had gone through several acquisitions and leadership changes in the past, and because of this, there were often legacy missions and goals that were being mixed. There was not a clear vision of where the Company was supposed to go, or how they could get there. Aziz changed this and made his vision clear. James Aziz wanted to focus on National Steel Car’s ability to engineer the best products and ability to sink capital into several processes to build the Company up and increase sales. This strategy worked.
Based on his new strategy, Aziz increased NRC’s labor force from just 600 to over 3,000, and he was able to increase capacity from just under 3,500 rail cars per year to over 12,000. Gregory J. Aziz knows how to make companies work, and he will continue to use his business acumen and know-how to improve whatever industry in which he chooses to work.
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