Skip to main content

A 'WiNS' for former NFL player

A 'WiNS' for former NFL player
Keith Fitzhugh, assistant trainmaster, gives encouragement to Shannon Falk, manager revenue accounting customer services, as she tosses a football at the WINS expo booth.

Keith Fitzhugh made national news two years ago when he turned down an offer from the New York Jets professional football team to become a conductor trainee with Norfolk Southern. He was flown to California for an appearance on the Jay Leno show, and he sat for interviews with most of the country's major network and cable news shows.

Since then, Fitzhugh has made the most of his career with NS. Now an assistant trainmaster on the Pittsburgh Division, Fitzhugh is a tireless promoter of the opportunities the railroad offers for advancement. At this year's expo, Fitzhugh combined football with railroading: He manned a "football toss" exhibit sponsored by WiNS, a networking group that fosters professional development and leadership among NS' female employees.

Fitzhugh said he joined WiNS after talking with Julie Weil, a secretary in the Pittsburgh Division office, about the benefits of the group. All employees, not just women, can join and support WiNS, Fitzhugh noted.

"Women need as many opportunities as men to be promoted in this company," said Fitzhugh during a break from the "Keep the Safety Safe" exhibit, where employees had a chance to win footballs signed by the former NFL football safety. "Norfolk Southern is focused on having a diverse workforce, and it's a positive thing to be able to see women move up in the company. Women bring a different perspective to things."

Fitzhugh said he has no regrets choosing railroading over football as a career. "Long-term, the railroad is just unbeatable," he said. "Stability is a major key for me, and it doesn't get any better than this."