Gregory James Aziz exudes confidence. The first thing you notice are the eyes, taking the measure of everyone he meets. If he has any self-doubts, they are not apparent. He gives the appearance of a great cat – silky smooth – ready to pounce. Clearly, this is a man who understands himself and is confident in his own abilities – a leader of men.
Initially from London, Ontario, he attended the University of Western Ontario and graduated with a degree in economics before joining the family wholesale food business, Affiliated Foods. Aziz applied his knowledge and abilities at Affiliated Foods to help the business grow to the point where they had established distribution centers in the U.S. and Canada and were taking in fresh foods from throughout the Americas even from Europe.
When Gregory James Aziz parlayed his understanding of accounting to secure positions in investment banking, one of the transactions he directed was the purchase of a manufacturer of rail cars, called National Steel Car (NSC) from the giant steel company, ArcelorMittal Dofasco.
From its founding in 1912, NSC had long been a powerhouse of manufacturing, but Aziz believed it could do better. Using his knowledge and connections in the banking community, he organized the funding necessary to expand the company’s capacity across the board, from engineering research and development to the nuts and bolts of the manufacturing process. Within five years, employment grew from less than 600 to well over 3,000, and production increased from 3,500 cars a year to over 12,500.
In addition to production capacity, Gregory James Aziz stresses innovation and quality. For him, innovation means anticipating the future of the constantly changing world of railroads. His devotion to quality is evidenced by the fact that NSC is the only rail car manufacturer to be awarded ISO 9001:2008 certification for 18 straight years.
The devotion that National Steel Car employees have for Aziz is legendary. Aziz himself insists that they are not just workers, but “team members,” and credits their pride and dedication for the company’s success. See This Page for more information.
Aziz believes in being a good neighbor and encourages his people to support the local community and local charities whenever possible. Every Christmas, thousands of employees, past and present, and their families gather for the company Christmas party and to contribute to the annual food drive for the needy. Aziz, along with his wife Irene and daughters Karina and Natalie, sponsors Canada’s major agricultural event, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.