Vena joined CN in 1977 as a brakeman in Jasper, Alberta. He later held progressively responsible assignments in operations and marketing, and led all three of the Class I's operating regions.
"Jim has a wealth of railway experience and strong leadership skills, [and] I am confident that he will help us drive our agenda of operational and service excellence forward," said CN President and Chief Executive Officer Claude Mongeau in a prepared statement.
CN also announced that Jeff Liepelt will succeed Vena as SVP-southern region. Most recently SVP-eastern region, Liepelt joined the Illinois Central Railroad — which CN acquired in 1999 — in 1978 and later held positions of increasing responsibility at the Class I.
In addition CN announced that SVP of Engineering, Mechanical and Supply Management Sameh Fahmy will retire from CN on March 31. At that time, the three functions under Fahmy's responsibility will report directly to Vena.
"I want to thank Sameh for his loyal service, tireless energy and the significant value he contributed to CN over the 23 years he worked with us," said Mongeau. "I wish him the very best in the next phase of his life."
Meanwhile, Michigan Technological University last week announced that CN has donated $500,000 to its Rail Transportation Program to create the CN Endowed Fellowship in Rail Transportation. CN's total funding for the program now stands at $750,000.
The endowment will provide scholarships and support rail transportation-related projects and research, as well as hardware and software resources for students.
The university provides engineering students a strong knowledge of railroading, and "the talented graduates and interns we have hired from this program in recent years have proven to be valuable assets to our company," said Vena in a prepared statement.
CN's donation marks one of the largest corporate gifts made to Michigan Tech during its "Generations of Discovery" capital campaign. The Class I is a valued partner and the university greatly appreciates its support, said Bill Worek, dean of Michigan Tech's College of Engineering.
"Our students are highly sought after by industry, and the combination of hands-on, discovery-based education, technical backgrounds and leadership abilities make them ideal for the challenges in the rail industry," he said.
The university's Rail Transportation Program includes courses about rail transportation and engineering, and urban rail transit. The university plans to establish a multi-disciplinary certificate in rail transportation and engineering for the program.
Browse articles on CN on Progressive Railroading
- Commuter-rail service from Providence to Boston gives a transit-oriented development its
- Rail finance and leasing outlook: What are the key issues in 2013?
- Rail finance and leasing outlook: What has been the biggest change during the past 10 years? What will the next big change be?
- How the 2012 election results could shape rail industry issues
- Amtrak, California High Speed Rail Authority partner to buy new trains
- Association makes big contributions to small railroad industry over the past century
- Q4 2012 review: Signs that 2013 will be one terrific bridge year for the rails- analysis by Tony Hatch
- Progressive Railroading's 2013 Finance & Leasing Guide - Preface
- Banks - Rail Finance & Leasing Guide 2013
- Equipment Providers/Equipment Management Services - Rail Finance & Leasing Guide 2013
- Finance Companies - Rail Finance & Leasing Guide 2013
- Investment Banks - Rail Finance & Leasing Guide 2013
- Lessors - Rail Finance & Leasing Guide 2013
- Professional Services/Consulting - Rail Finance & Leasing Guide 2013
- Oil boom will sustain the economy, rail-car leasing sector in 2013 - by Toby Kolstad
- How track work components in the 'special' category are holding up to heavier loads
- Railroads should use their strong safety culture as a foundation for improving service and productivity (commentary)
- New rail-car rule in Canada eyes emerging technologies