NS EVP and Chief Marketing Officer Ed Elkins: Rail Group On Air Podcast

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-In-Chief, Railway Age
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Norfolk Southern Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Ed Elkins began his railroad career at Norfolk Southern in 1988 as a Road Brakeman after serving in the United States Marine Corps. Appointed CMO in 2021, he leads the company’s Intermodal, Automotive and Industrial Products business divisions, and also manages the Real Estate, Industrial Development, Short Line Marketing, Field Sales, and Customer Logistics business groups. In this Rail Group On Air Podcast, Elkins and Railway Age Editor-in Chief William C. Vantuono discuss NS’s accomplishments in 2023 attracting new business and growing existing business, as well as expectations going forward. What markets and commodities offer the most growth potential?

In 2023, NS invested $1 billion in infrastructure improvements. Elkins talks about the role marketing plays in the Class I’s capital investment strategy and funding allocation. He also touches upon the tools, financial or other, that can be leveraged to incentivize businesses to locate on the railroad.

Beginning as brakeman in 1988, Elkins served as a a conductor, locomotive engineer and relief yardmaster. Following time in Operations, he spent two decades in Intermodal Marketing. In 2016, he was named Group Vice President of Chemicals Marketing, and in 2018 promoted to Vice President Industrial Products. Currently, Elkins serves as the Vice Chair of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and sits on the boards of directors of the National Association of Manufacturers and TTX Company. He also serves on the Georgia State University Marketing RoundTable and is a member of The Conference Board, Inc. on the Council for CMOs. Elkins is a native of Southwest Virginia. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and an MBA from Old Dominion University with a concentration in Port & Maritime Economics.

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