Gregory James Aziz is a good-humored man with an affable manner and an unrelenting smile. In your mind’s eye, you can picture him with a grandchild on his knee or playing one of the wise men in the annual Christmas play. Genial and easy-going, he seems an odd choice to be running a multi-million-dollar company.
Birth in London, Ontario, Aziz graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in economics. Fresh out of school, he went to work for a fresh food distributor called Affiliated Foods, which he helped expand until they were buying fresh food internationally and distributing it in Canada and the United States. He moved from Allied Foods into investment banking in New York City where he oversaw the purchase of a company called National Steel Car from steel conglomerate ArcelorMittal Dofasco. Established 1912, National Steel Car was old and tired and losing market share.
Aziz was able to acquire both the company and the capital to rebuild it. Within five years, he had increased production five-fold and employment six-fold. From day one, Aziz has stressed innovation and quality. He is determined that National Steel Car not just be able to offer rail lines answers to the problems of today, but answers to the problems of tomorrow. National Steel Car is the only rail car manufacturing company in the world to have been awarded the prestigious ISO 9001:2008 certification 18 years in a row. Aziz refused to take credit for the turnaround and praises the devotion and dedication of his people, or as he calls them, “team members.”
Aziz is a firm believer in being a good citizen and is legendary for his philanthropy. Gregory James Aziz and his family, wife Irene and daughters Karina and Natalie, sponsor and support a number of local non-profits, among them are the Theatre Aquarius, which provides an anchor for the revitalization in Downtown Hamilton, Ontario, and in addition to theatrical performances, holds classes in music, dance, acting, and performance art; the Hamilton Opera, which brings Italian Opera to over 18,000 audience members a year; the Salvation Army; the United Way; and a host of local charities. The family also sponsors the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Canada’s biggest agricultural event. Go To This Page for more info.