The University of Memphis is proud to partner with CN to create the CN - E. Hunter
Harrison Center for Intermodal Safety and Emergency Preparedness. It is only fitting,
that after 46 years of work in the railroad industry, that this center has been founded
in the city where it all began for Mr. Harrison.
Mr. Harrison began has carrier in Memphis working as a carman-oiler for the Frisco
(St. Louis-San Francisco) Railroad in 1963. He continued to advance even as the railroad
was acquired by Burlington Northern in 1980. He served as BN’s Vice-President – Transportation
and Vice-President – Service Design before leaving to work for Illinois Central in
Hired by IC as Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Harrison was named
Senior Vice-President – Transportation in 1991. By 1992 he was Senior Vice-President
– Operations, and President and Chief Executive Officer in 1993. He served this role
until 1998 when he joined CN.
Originally hired by CN as Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Mr.
Harrison served in this capacity for five years. On January 1, 2003, Mr. Harrison
became President and Chief Executive Officer for CN. Mr. Harrison will be succeeded
by Claude Mongeau on January 1, 2010.
Mr. Harrison’s railroad carrier has been distinguished by his focus on scheduled service
for freight shipments, and operational efficiency and asset utilization. By 1996,
while working for IC, Mr. Harrison had lowered the operating ration down by some 30
points to the low 60’s.
In his book, How We Work and Why, Mr. Harrison outlines the five guiding principles he uses in managing CN. Those
five principles are: Service, Cost Control, Asset Utilization, Safety and People.
The University of Memphis is excited to be able to honor the work that Mr. Harrison
has accomplished within the railroad industry. His story of hard work and dedication
will serves as inspiration to all our students working within the CN- E. Hunter Harrison
Center. Our work will continue to focus on one of his five guiding principles, safety.
The CN- E. Hunter Harrison Center is one of three centers operated by the Intermodal
Freight Transportation Institute (IFTI). With the focus of the center designed to
work towards intermodal safety and emergency preparedness, IFTI is able to bring synergies
from all the work being accomplished to create the greatest impact. With the addition
of the CN- E. Hunter Harrison Center to the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute,
the University of Memphis is becoming a nationally recognized research center for
the movement of freight.