Jim Vena Featured at Next-Gen Freight Rail 2024

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
image description

Union Pacific (UP) CEO Jim Vena is among the featured speakers at Railway Age’s Next-Gen Freight Rail 2024 Conference, to be held March 12, 2024 at the Union League Club of Chicago. Vena will not only discuss how the railroad is positioning itself for the future, but his new role at UP—the first Class I railroad to recently split the CEO, President and Chair posts.

Also on the lineup at Next-Gen Freight Rail 2024 are UP President Beth WhitedRailway Age’s 2024 Railroader of the Year and CN President and CEO Tracy RobinsonRailway Track & Structures’s 2023 Engineer of the Year and CN Vice President of Engineering Brent LaingGenesee & Wyoming CEO Michael Miller; and Norfolk Southern AVP Enterprise Data & Analytics Mabby Amouie. They will engage in informal “fireside chat” style conversations with Railway Age and Railway Track & Structures editors.

This year’s conference will include an extra-special luncheon honoring Railway Age’s 2024 “Fast Trackers” 25 Under 40 award winners. Established in 2016, this annual award is presented to railroaders under the age of 40 in the United States, Canada and/or Mexico for making an impact in their respective fields or within their company.

Meet Jim Vena

A railroader, UP CEO Jim Vena has more than 40 years of industry experience with a demonstrated track record of driving best-in-class operating and service results. His vision for the railroad is clear: Safety, Service and Operational Excellence will equal Growth. Vena’s four decades of railroading bring unparalleled experience across operational management, marketing and project execution. He’s led through transformational times for the entire railroad industry. As UP Chief Operating Officer from 2019-2020, Vena oversaw a team that achieved efficiency savings and delivered the best service product in the company’s history. He served as senior advisor to the chairman in 2021 and returned to UP as CEO in August 2023. Prior to UP, Vena worked at CN, where he added to his knowledge by working with great leaders.

Vena knows railroading firsthand, beginning his career as a CN laborer in maintenance of way, then a brakeman, conductor, locomotive engineer, trainmaster and superintendent. He progressively held roles of increasing responsibility, including senior management positions in Operations, Marketing and Sales spanning CN’s east, west and southern regions across the U.S. At CN, Vena was ultimately promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer. He has experience as a board member and served on the Board of Directors as chair of the Audit Committee for DCLI (Direct ChassisLink, Inc.), a privately held company. He also served on the FedEx Board of Directors’ Audit, Finance and Governance, Safety and Public Policy committees.

Vena received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alberta and a post-graduate business degree from Athabasca University. He and his wife, Karen, have a great family with sons Michael and Joseph.

Supporting Organizations

In addition to its speakers, Railway Age’s Next-Gen Freight Rail 2024 Conference is supported by the following sponsors: CN (gold), Piper (gold), RECO (gold), TrinityRail (gold), 4AI Systems (case study), Amsted Digital Solutions (bronze), Genesee & Wyoming (bronze), the Michigan State Center for Railway Research and Education (bronze), Union Pacific (bronze), The Greenbrier Companies (bronze), and Edna A. Rice Associates (morning coffee break).

Learn More

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,