Gregory Aziz and the Failing Railcar Industry

Railroads are a failing industry. Everywhere you look around North America there are sidings with old and dysfunctional rail cars that have been sitting and accumulating rust for years. The number of trains on the rails has decreased, and several railroads that were alive 50 years ago are nothing but a name in the history books now. So why would anyone purchase a supplier to a failing industry? One man named Gregory James Aziz did just that, and his decision has him laughing all the way to the bank.

 

Gregory J. Aziz first got into the business world when he joined his family’s company, Affiliated Foods, in the early 1970s. He soon showed the world that he was a force to be reckoned with, and he turned Affiliated Foods from a domestic purveyor of foodstuffs into an international powerhouse in the industry. Gregory James Aziz made deals with exporters from South America and parts of Europe to bring in new and exotic offerings for his customers. With his skills in sales, he was able to find several new customers in the United States and Canada that would pay top dollar for Affiliated Foods’ premium products. He grew this company, and he was about to bring his expertise in this area of business to a new venture.

 

In 1994, Greg Aziz purchased a failing railcar manufacturer located in Hamilton, Ontario. National Steel Car had been around since 1912. Through that time, it had gone through several restructurings, name changes, acquisitions, and other changes that had left it stripped of cash and without any clear direction. Aziz was about to change all that.

 

Knowing that this company was able to attract top engineering talent, he focused on the engineering aspect of the industry. Aziz wanted to create lightweight, efficient, and safe freight cars for his customers. With several industrial accidents at the front of the mind in the early 1990s and 2000s, safety and regulatory compliance were at the top of the list for most customers.

 

Aziz also funneled cash into capital projects and new initiatives at the manufacturing facility. He grew the plant capacity by nearly 300 percent in only a few years and hired an additional 2,000 workers to handle the increased demand. Now, National Steel Car is one of the last railcar manufacturers still around. While other companies focused on cutting costs, Gregory James Aziz knew that creating quality railcars is what would bring the customers in, and he was right. Thanks to his leadership, National Steel Car has never been better, even though it is in a “failing” industry.

 

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Gregory Aziz The Miracle Man of Freight Cars

The world knows very little about the fascinating Mr. Gregory J Aziz, the President, Chairman, and CEO of National Steel Car, a leader in railroad freight car engineering and manufacturing. While the company has been in existence for over 100 years, Greg Aziz, an economics graduate of Western University, has more recently taken the helm in 1994 to provide exceptional railcars for the world’s train use.

 

Gregory James Aziz was born in 1949 in London, Ontario. After gaining his education at Ridley College and moving on to graduate with an economics degree from University of Western Ontario he joined his family in their wholesale food company in 1971. It was called Affiliated Foods and in its 16 years of business became a global importer of fresh foods to all of the United States and Eastern Canada.

 

In the late 80’s through early 90’s, Greg Aziz relocated to New York and began working on a variety of investment banking opportunities. This brilliant career move allowed him to raise funds to purchase National Steel Car from Dofasco by the year 1994. He knew from the onset that he wanted to restore the once great Canadian company to its previous glory and transform it into the world’s foremost railroad freight car maker.

 

Using his remarkable business acumen, Gregory Aziz increased the businesses already strong engineering proficiencies, incredible team-building skills, and the substantial capital and human investments to enlarge its manufacturing abilities from 3,500 freight cars a year to 12,000 freight cars by 1999, a short five years from the time of purchase. Even more amazing, employment shot from 600 people to over 3,000.

 

Much in thanks to Gregory James Aziz and his remarkable business intuition, National Steel Car is the leader in all of North America in new freight car innovation and manufacturing year after year. It is the only company of its kind to be certified ISO 9001:2008. It has held this honor for more than 18 years. It has also won the TTX SECO highest quality award consistently since 1996. One thing is for certain. Mr. Gregory Aziz has found his calling and the world of freight cars is better and safer for it.

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