One of my favorite things about working for a railroad is being part of an industry that is vibrant and integral to the economic development and environmental health of our country. There is something about the tradition of the railroad that inspires confidence, especially as we are investing billions of dollars into its future.
Both of my parents were CSX employees, and I have been immersed in railroading for as long as I can remember. I joined the company 23 years ago as a transportation analyst, and I now manage train operations for our entire 21,000mile network as the company’s chief transportation officer. In addition to having a passion for the business, I have learned that perseverance, strong principles and teamwork are critical to success.
I consider myself lucky to have grown my career at a company where my personal values align with the corporate culture. One of our shared core values is“ generating the right results in the right way.” How you get where you’re going is as important as the destination. Upholding an ethical standard is the right way to get results, and living this tenet has helped my career progress in a meaningful way.
I have had the privilege to work with people at all levels of the organization, which has taught me that a team-focused approach creates a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Some of my favorite moments in my career have happened during challenging times when everyone pulled together to work toward a common goal. For example, the “Out of the Park” initiative, launched in 2005, brought the entire operations department together to improve our service delivery for customers. The program was a success in teamwork and created a process that we still use today.
My path to success was not something that I mapped out with specific timelines or titles to achieve along the way. Instead, it was forged by doing my absolute best in each position I held, sharpening my skills and learning the business from the ground up. For me, success is driven by loving what you do and never backing down from professional challenges. New opportunities are always 90 percent exciting and 10 percent terrifying – the real gains come from embracing the uncertainty and using it as motivation to learn and grow.