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An NS champion for military veterans

November 2016

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Tiffany Morris in the crew dispatch office in NS’ Goode Building in Midtown Atlanta.

Norfolk Southern is recognized nationally as a Fortune 500 leader in hiring military veterans. Currently, more than 3,800 of the company’s employees are veterans – about 14 percent of the workforce. With their technical training, leadership abilities, and experience gained through military service, veterans bring skills and work traits essential to rail operations.

Tiffany Morris, chief crew dispatcher, is one of NS’ valued veterans.

This Army veteran helps NS put its best foot forward

During eight years in the U.S. Army, Tiffany Morris never encountered enemy fire. However, she faced something perhaps even tougher than the battlefield – informing families that their soldiers would not be coming home. During the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Morris on two occasions had the duty of accompanying her commanding officer to visit families of soldiers killed in the campaign.

“His job was to relay the message and my job was to be empathetic and supportive of the family,” said Morris, who served as a personnel specialist in the Army’s 461st Personnel Services Battalion. “It was pretty difficult, and it does wear on you, but you still have to maintain your composure.”

“In the military, we all have one common goal to get the mission accomplished, and that’s like it is at NS. We’re all here to make this company the best and to put the best foot forward.
- Tiffany Morris, chief crew dispatcher

Achieving the rank of sergeant, Morris credits her military training with providing the leadership skills and discipline necessary to carry out such a heartbreaking task. Now, she applies the skills and lessons learned in the Army to her work as a chief crew dispatcher at Norfolk Southern’s operations headquarters in Atlanta. An NS employee since 2005, she supervises a group of crew dispatchers responsible for scheduling train crews to move freight.

“Norfolk Southern and the military kind of mirror each other because of the structure,” Morris said. “In the military, we all have one common goal to get the mission accomplished, and that’s like it is at NS. We’re all here to make this company the best and to put the best foot forward.

“In my department, it’s about time management, being on time, and having rules,” she added. “I was used to that discipline and structure from the Army. I tell people here all the time that I feel like I’m in the military minus the uniform.”

A proud veteran

Morris said she enlisted in the military because her mother served in the Army and retired as a sergeant first class. “She was a single parent, and I saw how the military structured her to have a better life for my sister and me,” Morris said. “I was just following in her footsteps.”

In 2003, while deployed at Fort Stewart, Ga., in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Morris was called away when her mother fell ill. With her mother no longer able to care for Morris’ son during the deployment, Morris chose to leave the military.

Proud to call herself a veteran, Morris has become a champion for veterans at NS. She touts the skills they bring to the job, and she raises awareness about issues faced by veterans and military families that civilians might not understand or appreciate. In 2012, she was a founding member of the employee resource group VeteraNS. The group supports veterans at NS in Atlanta and offers professional networking and educational opportunities for veterans and nonveterans alike.

Connected to the community

Morris and other leaders of the group have begun focusing more on community outreach. For Christmas, the group plans to adopt a homeless veteran through an Atlanta nonprofit’s outreach program. Morris also hopes the group can help clean and maintain a local cemetery for veterans.

“I think it’s important that we put veterans and Norfolk Southern together in the community,” Morris said. “Norfolk Southern is well-known in the community, so you to want to present a positive representation of the company.”

By volunteering in the community, veterans employed by NS can demonstrate the company’s commitment to being a good corporate neighbor while highlighting the value that veterans bring to private-sector businesses, she said.

“I think veterans are an asset to any company, not just NS,” Morris said. “This is due to our leadership skills and the mindset that we have to work until the job is done. Not only did we fight for and serve our country, now we’re here to make this company stand out as being a proud employer for this nation’s veterans.”