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RAIL EMPLOYMENT & NOTICES



Rail News Home People

August 2020



Rail News: People

Rising Stars 2020: John McNeil



John McNeil

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John “JP” McNeil, 35
Director, customer service
Norfolk Southern Railway

Nominator’s quote: “JP McNeil and his colleague Ashley King have been key leaders in standing up the new customer service center at Norfolk Southern and helping drive a low-effort interaction for our customers. They have been integral in the design of the new center, the selection and continuous training of a high quality staff, the implementation of new technology and the development of meaningful metrics that depict the level of customer service Norfolk Southern (NS) is providing its customers.” — John Scheib, NS

What is your educational background?
Undergrad: University of Pennsylvania, systems engineering

MBA: Georgia Institute of Technology

Describe your current job and responsibilities.
Oversee customer service function for chemicals, metals and construction commodity groups and the management of the 24/7 industrial products unit train desk.

Briefly describe your career path.
Management trainee in 2007 (same class as Ashley King, amazingly); automotive customer service; car routing systems; locomotive management; transportation systems; network planning and analysis; and industrial products customer service.

How did you get into the railroad industry?
My father, Doug McNeil, has been in the industry since 1979. I started in financial services after graduating from undergrad and came to the railroad after I realized I wasn’t passionate about finance like I was about transportation.

What is the best career advice you’ve received?
Don’t look for the safe move, look for the job that will challenge you. Without being challenged, you won’t grow.

What advice would you give to a new railroader?
Volunteer for everything and be curious.

What was your very first job?
Youth soccer referee

Describe a fun fact about yourself.
Successfully kicked a 30-yard field goal at halftime of a college football game to win basketball season tickets and free cheese steaks for a year.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Liverpool and Atlanta United soccer, and spending time with my wife Jackie and our two children, Rowan and Cyrus.

What is the biggest challenge the rail industry now faces or will face?
How to handle automation, both internal pressure on how to use it to become more efficient or external pressure from other modes of transportation.



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