Helping the Wilting Flower, National Steel Car: Gregory Aziz

Gregory James Aziz has made it clear that his management style and ability to read businesses and business environments is far above his peers. Throughout his career, he has been able to take a failing business in an industry that is not as profitable as others and create an international company that no longer seems capable of failing. Gregory J. Aziz is currently the CEO and Chairman of the Board for National Steel Car, a rolling stock manufacturer for railroads located in Hamilton, Ontario. When Aziz purchased National Steel Car in 1994, the company was in disarray. In just a few short years, Aziz was able to make this company as strong as it was in the heyday of railroading.

 

National Steel Car was founded in 1912 when railroads were the prime method of transporting goods for long distances. The Company was able to go through several recessions and the Great Depression with only a few years of strife. The Company was, for all intents and purposes, a powerhouse in Ontario. There were contracts with every major railroad in the region and employees were happy. However, when the trucking business started to take off in the 1970s, National Steel Car hit a rut. The owners started to tighten their purse strings and stopped putting capital into the business. NSC was sold and re-sold to different owners, each time creating their own business strategy. Read This Article for additional information.

 

Greg Aziz came in at just the right time. When Aziz took over, the management team had no clear direction. Decades of differing expectations from ownership left them unable to act for themselves, and the lack of capital expenditure left the plant old and almost obsolete. Aziz first flushed massive amounts of cash into the plant and bought new machinery and equipment. James Aziz created a new business strategy based on his knowledge of the industry, making quality railcars the priority, not just low-cost ones. He added new production lines that were demanded by customers, and he increased the plant’s capacity by over 300 percent in just a few short years.

Now National Steel Car is stronger than ever. The Company posts profits every quarter, and they have expanded their reach all across North America. They continue to service all of the major railroads and now boast a labor force of over 3,000. Greg Aziz knew what he was doing when he purchased this failing company in 1994, and it just goes to show that sometimes all you have to do to help a wilting flower is to give it the right kind of love and a little bit of water instead of just throwing it away.