Alan Shaw named Railroad Innovator of the Year

Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw was recognized this week as Progressive Railroading’s Railroad Innovator of the Year.

In naming him the 2023 recipient, Progressive Railroading pointed to Shaw’s mission to find the right balance between service, productivity, and growth, as well as his commitment to doing the right thing, whether that be for the business, for his employees, for customers, or for the communities the railroad touches, including in East Palestine, Ohio.

Since the Feb. 3 derailment, the magazine noted, Shaw has made it clear that he intends to make decisions in the best long-term interests of the community and its residents. And he plans to continue doing so for as long as necessary.

“He’s been talking about — and focusing on doing — the right thing and the next right thing for the people of East Palestine,” Progressive Railroading wrote in their Rail Innovator of the Year spotlight.

Since the derailment, the magazine noted, the company has made it clear that it is willing to do whatever is needed, investing more than $96 million to-date in the recovery.

Through the derailment recovery, Progressive Railroading noted, Shaw has continued to push the company to continuously strive for improvement. The magazine pointed to Shaw’s vision for a Better Way Forward as an example of a forward-looking mindset that’s taken hold at Norfolk Southern and beyond, a mindset that stresses long-term service reliability and resilience over the shorter-term views and actions that some in the industry previously gravitated toward.

“Resilient railroading calls for consistent investments in key resources to help reduce the volatility of capital investments and long-term assets, from freight cars and locomotives to track and intermodal terminals and workers,” Progressive Railroading wrote.

The sell to investors wasn’t initially easy, the magazine noted, but Shaw has been steadfast in his determination, and the industry has taken note.

“I don’t know about a lot of things. But after spending time with Alan Shaw, listening to him, listening to friends, colleagues and competitors talk about him, I know he isn’t going to go away,” wrote Progressive Railroading Editor-in-Chief Pat Foran in a column detailing Shaw’s selection. “The next right thing beckons him. Always.”