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Job description: Hipwell leads a team of port managers stationed at all major intermodal ports that CN serves, including Vancouver, British Columbia; Montreal; Mobile, Ala.; and New Orleans, La. His team oversees CN intermodal activities through the ports and works alongside supply chain partners to execute CN's service commitments to customers.
Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, University of Western Ontario
Nominator’s quote: “Matthew’s leadership is characterized by his collaborative approach, engagement of stakeholders and ability to influence without direct authority. These abilities have helped him to … successfully take over the Port of Vancouver’s switching operations from another Class I while ensuring no service gaps.” — Melanie Hewson, CN
How did you end up in the railroad business?
At the time I graduated from university, CN was going through a period of substantial recruitment for operations management positions. There was a lot of focus on bringing in new talent from outside the organization. I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and I came across an opening for a “front line supervisor” (trainmaster) position. It sounded like an interesting opportunity, so I jumped on it. I spent the first four years at CN working as a trainmaster in Halifax and Toronto. I joined the intermodal group as a terminal manager in 2010, and from there, became involved in the growing port operations in Vancouver. In 2014, I moved back to Toronto with an expanded scope, becoming involved in all of CN’s intermodal port operations across the network.
What inspires you?
Competition. Being challenged. Having somebody say something can't be achieved because obstacles are too great to overcome.
What would you say to convince someone to consider railroading as a career?
Many people think that railroads are “old fashioned” or “outdated.” They do not realize that in many ways, the industry is on the leading edge of technology. It is a very dynamic industry with a broad range in career opportunities.
What advice would you share with a first-year railroader?
Work hard. Learn what you don’t know. Develop a sense of urgency. Then be patient and a rewarding career will follow.
What do you hope to be doing (or learning) five years from now?
Working for CN, learning a part of the business I have yet to experience.
Arthur Adams Jr.
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