The 56th annual recipient of the prestigious Railway Age Railroader of the Year Award is CN President and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Jacques “JJ” Ruest, leader of one of North America’s best-performing Class I railroads.
“JJ Ruest took a railroad plagued with service problems and serious network capacity shortages and implemented aggressive capital investment and service quality programs,” said Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono. “These efforts have produced outstanding results, in terms of traffic growth and profitability. As examples, CN’s engineering team completed more than 80% of expansion projects while the network was under heavy traffic. And in Ruest’s first few months as chief executive, CN hired hundreds of new line employees in train and engine service, laying a strong foundation for the railroad’s continued success. Our Railroader of the Year sees strong growth opportunities ahead, across multiple commodities and new supply chain services.”
“On behalf of the entire CN team, I am extremely proud to accept this honour,” said Ruest. “The North American rail industry plays a critical role in our economy. Our human talent, our deployment of technology and infrastructure are what make our industry supply chain services so relevant to all the customers who depend on us.”
JJ Ruest was appointed CN President and CEO in July 2018 after having served as Interim President and CEO since March 2018. He was previously Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer since January 2010, with responsibility for providing strategic direction and leadership for CN’s Sales, Marketing and CN Supply Chain Solutions groups. Ruest joined CN in 1996 as Vice President Petroleum and Chemicals. He was appointed Vice President Industrial Products in 2003, Vice President Marketing in 2004, and Senior Vice President Marketing in June 2006. Prior to that, Ruest worked for 16 years at a major international chemical company.
Ruest holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing from HEC Montréal (Université de Montréal) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Chemistry from Université de Sherbrooke. He also completed the executive program of the University of Michigan Business School and CN’s Railroad MBA program.
Railway Age will formally present JJ Ruest with the Railroader of the Year Award at the Union League Club of Chicago on March 12, 2019, where the presentation has traditionally taken place during the Western Railway Club dinner.
Railway Age’s Railroader of the Year Award
The Railroader of the Year Award was initiated by Modern Railroads magazine in 1964 as the “Man of the Year” award. Railway Age acquired Modern Railroads in 1991 and has presented the award annually since then.
- 1964: D. W. Brosnan, Southern Railway System
- 1965: Stuart T. Saunders, Pennsylvania Railroad Co.
- 1966: Stuart T. Saunders, Pennsylvania Railroad Co.
- 1967: Louis W. Menk, Northern Pacific Railway
- 1968: William B. Johnson, Illinois Central Railroad
- 1969: John W. Barriger, Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad
- 1970: John S. Reed, Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway
- 1971: Jervis Langdon, Jr., Penn Central Transportation Co.
- 1972: Charles Luna, United Transportation Union
- 1973: James B. Germany, Southern Pacific Transportation Co.
- 1974: L. Stanley Crane, Southern Railway System
- 1975: Frank E. Barnett, Union Pacific Railroad
- 1976: Dr. William J. Harris, Jr., Association of American Railroads
- 1977: Edward G. Jordan, Conrail
- 1978: Robert M. Brown, Union Pacific Railroad
- 1979: Theodore C. Lutz, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
- 1980: John G. German, Missouri Pacific Railroad Co.
- 1981: Lawrence Cena, Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway
- 1982: A. Paul Funkhouser, Family Lines Rail System
- 1983: L. Stanley Crane, Conrail
- 1984: Hays T. Watkins, CSX Corp.
- 1985: John L. Cann, Canadian National
- 1986: Raymond C. Burton, Jr., Trailer Train Co.
- 1987: Willis B. Kyle, Kyle Railways
- 1988: Darius W. Gaskins, Jr., Burlington Northern
- 1989: W. Graham Claytor, Jr., Amtrak
- 1990: Arnold B. McKinnon, Norfolk Southern Corp.
- 1991: Mike Walsh, Union Pacific Railroad
- 1992: William H. Dempsey, Association of American Railroads
- 1993: Raymond C. Burton, Jr., TTX Co.
- 1994: L. S. “Jake” Jacobson, Copper Basin Railway
- 1995: Edwin Moyers, Southern Pacific Transportation Co.
- 1996: Robert D. Krebs, AT&SF, and Gerald Grinstein, Burlington Northern
- 1997: Paul M. Tellier, Canadian National
- 1998: David R. Goode, Norfolk Southern
- 1999: Edward A. Burkhardt, Wisconsin Central Transportation Co.
- 2000: The Railroad Worker (“Railroader of the Century”)
- 2001: Michael R. Haverty, Kansas City Southern Railway
- 2002: E. Hunter Harrison, Canadian National/Illinois Central
- 2003: Richard K. Davidson, Union Pacific Railroad
- 2004: Robert J. Ritchie, Canadian Pacific Railway
- 2005: David R. Goode, Norfolk Southern
- 2006: Richard F. Timmons, American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association
- 2007: William E. Wimmer, Union Pacific Railroad
- 2008: Stephen C. Tobias, Norfolk Southern
- 2009: Michael J. Ward, CSX
- 2010: Matthew K. Rose, BNSF
- 2011: Wick Moorman, Norfolk Southern
- 2012: David L. Starling, Kansas City Southern
- 2013: James R. Young, Union Pacific
- 2014: Joseph H. Boardman, Amtrak
- 2015: E. Hunter Harrison, Canadian Pacific
- 2016: Carl R. Ice, BNSF Railway
- 2017: Thomas F. Prendergast, New York MTA
- 2018: John C. Hellmann, Genesee & Wyoming
- 2019: Jean-Jacques Ruest, CN