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Nominator's quote: "Mohit has been instrumental in moving the needle on CN's modernization strategy to build a digitally nimble railroad of the future. … Mohit's goal is to become a champion of innovation to solve the industry's key challenges, and to foster the digitalization and automation of the railroad with new technologies and processes." — Leslie-Anne Lewis, CN
Education: University of Pune, India, bachelor's degree in engineering and computer sciences; currently pursuing a master of science degree in transportation management.
Job responsibilities: Leads a team of more than 220 IT professionals to modernize IT at CN and create a technology strategy that drives agility and long-term growth. As VP of innovation, platforms and data, protects CN's market position and ensures the company remains competitive against disruption.
Career path: Joined an early stage mobile startup right after college. Worked as a technology consultant and designed and developed mobile applications. After a few years, moved on to a consulting firm as technology lead and partner; responsible for building, leading and delivering architecture and digital solutions for various shipping and banking portfolios.
Following that, worked as a partner for transportation and logistics at a different organization. Worked with energy clients across Europe to deliver digital solutions. In 2018, moved to CN to serve as AVP-technology strategy, enterprise architecture, research and development prior to becoming VP of innovation, platforms and data.
How did you get into the railroad industry? I have always had an affiliation and strong interest in logistics and, in particular, the complexity of the railroad supply chain. In 2018, when I had the opportunity to join CN, I felt that this was the perfect opportunity considering my previous work and wealth of experience working with huge transportation conglomerates.
What is the best career advice you've received? The best advice I have ever received is, "Problems are mine, and success is yours" and keep focus on the end game. My leadership team not only has accountability, but also responsibility to remove roadblocks.
Leading a team of 220-plus individuals, it's important they know they can come to me, or my leadership team, when they are facing problems, roadblocks or challenges. Encouraging this dialogue makes it easier to solve problems and move forward, and inherently make success their own.
What advice would you give to a new railroader? My advice would be to learn and stay curious, ask questions and don't be afraid to challenge the status quo. There is always something to learn at a railroad and there is always something to improve. Everyone has a voice regardless of their level, and that is important to emphasize. Knowledge is power, so make sure you are constantly learning and gaining knowledge of the rail industry every chance you get. This is important because rail technology is constantly evolving and changing, and if we don't stay grounded to what our company needs now and, in the future, our competitors will pass us by.
What was your very first job? Working for a mobile startup company designing and developing mobile SMS push applications.
Describe a fun fact about yourself. I'm an avid runner, and I like to stay in shape and remain healthy. Running for me is my time to escape and collect my thoughts, refresh and reset.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I enjoy relaxing and spending time with my family playing board games. Traveling is a passion of mine, and I hope my wife and son will have the opportunity with me to explore the beautiful province of Quebec more. This is something we are looking forward to.
What is the rail industry's biggest challenge? The biggest challenge we are currently facing in the rail industry — and all businesses and in general worldwide — is the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of course, another critical area of focus is constantly trying to improve our operational efficiency. The next biggest challenge for us is driving container traffic from truck to rail while delivering excellent customer service and managing operational efficiency. This is a complex balancing act between what we are achieving from a technological perspective with advances in innovation that will significantly help to optimize the way we currently do things.