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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Dick DeVos’s Devotion to Positively Changing the Trajectory of Future Generations

Quality education is an important tool for positively changing the future of America. It equips the future generations with the right tools to have a go at the famed American Dream. At the core of giving future generations a good and fairer shot at a better life in the future is charitable organizations and donations by philanthropic individuals such as Richard “Dick” DeVos. Together with his family, Dick DeVos has donated millions of dollars towards better quality of life causes with education receiving significant focus. DeVos and his family have contributed up to $139 million to support various charitable activities making the family one of the top contributors to charitable causes. This is part of the combined $1.33 billion that his family has contributed to charitable activities over the years. Last year, the family contributed up to $11 million. This was double the amount the family contributed to support philanthropic activities the previous year.

 

 Dick DeVos and his family are committed to bringing reforms in the education sector in the United States. This has seen a significant portion of their charitable donations directed towards supporting organizations that are committed to this cause. The family’s commitment to provision of quality education has also seen it channel most of these funds towards financing the education of various needy students. He has partnered with his wife, Betsy DeVos, to overhaul the current public education system, which they believe is not effective due to its uniform approach. Their work has primarily been concentrated in Michigan where they have led efforts aimed at ensuring that children receive the best education marked by improved performance. It is a pro-choice ideology, which seeks to replace the current one-size-fits-all model with various options including charter schools.

 

Career and Personal History

 

Dick DeVos has dedicated his life and career to championing for causes that he believes will have greater positive impact to the society. He has extensive career as a company extensive working not only for his family-owned businesses but also in other organizations. In 1984, he joined Amway International, which was cofounded by his father, Rich DeVos. He served as the vice president of the organization for six years between 1984 and 1990. He was later appointed to serve as the company’s chief executive officer for nine years between 1993 and 2002.

 

For decades, Dick DeVos and his family has devoted their efforts towards changing not only the Michigan state laws but the country by extension. He has focused on key aspects of societal development including funding the building of hospitals and changing of state education and labor laws. He championed for the right-to-work policy, which has radically changed the labor industry in Michigan. The former Orlando Magic chief executive and Northwood University graduate has also vied for Michigan governorship twice while also donating significantly for the Republican Party’s candidates.