Photo by Chris Howard

At Patriot Rail and Ports, we believe in hands-on leadership. Within every level of our organization and at each location, you’ll find our leaders on the ground, inspiring and showing employees the “Patriot Way.” The “Patriot Way” is a set of values that ensure employee safety, operational excellence, and accountability to our clients. Management presence guarantees that we flawlessly execute these values and exceed the needs of our clients.    

While it may be commonplace in the industry for workers to go a day or more without seeing their manager, this is not the case at Patriot. Our operational focus encourages managers to minimize their office time and spend time with their crews instead.

Our CEO, John Fenton, has a common refrain when providing direction to his managers: “Show them what good looks like.”

At Patriot, we have an experienced leadership team with a track record of keeping operations running safely and at peak efficiency. The majority of our operations managers started on the ground floor and worked their way up. Due to their experience, they know how to do the right things safely and lead by example. We believe that removing these experienced leaders from the ground and putting them in an office all day would be counterproductive to our primary goal of safely and efficiently taking care of our customers and their freight.

Joe Gallegos, our operations manager at the Sacramento Valley Railroad (SAV), wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Wanting us out there comes from the top, and I’m pleased about that because I want to be out there,” Joe says.

“You have to see, help, and do what you can to move things along and let your team know that you’re present,” he continues. “That way, you don’t lose perspective on what the guys are doing, which is easy to do. If you’re not getting your hands dirty, you may start thinking things are happening in a certain (safe) way, and they’re not. Or, you may start asking more of your crew than what’s possible, and that can lead to all kinds of problems.”

Photo by Chris Howard

Management presence also builds trust and harmony among the team. When a manager works side-by-side with a crewman, they know that their manager will not ask them to perform an impossible task. They can also ask questions and get immediate direction on the best way to complete a project. This level of manager involvement eliminates assumptions, increases efficiency, and helps us maintain a singular focus on safety and the achievement of customer expectations.

Our unified focus on employee safety, operational excellence, and accountability to our clients set us apart from other organizations. It is a byproduct of our commitment to hands-on leadership. By ensuring that our best people are on the ground, working to solve our customers’ issues, we can create an experience unlike any other in the transportation industry.

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