Innovators In The Industry: Gregory Aziz

For anyone in the railcar business, Gregory James Aziz has become somewhat of a household name. Major railroad tycoons have not been around for the greater part of the last century, but sometimes a person like Greg Aziz comes around that innovates in the industry and helps to save a failing company.


Gregory J. Aziz started in the business world after he graduated with an Economics degree from Western University in Ontario. His family owned a food distributor in Canada, and after he graduated from school he went to work there. Affiliated Foods did not have the best balance sheet in the business at the time, and it was very much a local business. However, Greg quickly found that he had a special skill for building small businesses and bringing them into the forefront of their respective industry. After 16 years of working at Affiliated Foods, Aziz had grown the small distributor into a distributor with customers all over North America. He had even grown the supply chain for Affiliated into South America and Europe.


After a short stint in investment banking in New York, Aziz wanted to try something different. He wanted to take on a challenge. He wanted an opportunity to continue to let his business skills shine. Using his windfall from a major investment he undertook, he purchased National Steel Car in 1994. National Steel Car was a medium-sized manufacturer of rolling stock and freight cars, such as grain hoppers, oil tankers, and boxcars. However, in the early 1990s, the railroad industry had hit a slump, and many questioned his decision to buy the company. He soon showed these naysayers how wrong they were.


Aziz’s first order of business was to create a new mission for the company. After years of changing hands, management did not have any clear long-term goals to work towards. Aziz made sure that the company now focused on creating quality, long-lasting railcars, and he focused resources on engineering and design. He also created several capital projects at the company, and he eventually increased the production capacity of the business by nearly 300 percent. To work with this increased capacity, Greg Aziz hired nearly 2,000 additional workers. Refer to This Article for additional information.


Now National Steel Car has become one of the last railcar manufacturers in North America. It services nearly every major railroad and brings in revenues of over $200 million each year. Thanks to the rail car industry’s innovators like Gregory J. Aziz, businesses like NSC can continue to thrive.