Ashley King has made steady advancements in her career since joining Norfolk Southern’s management trainee program in 2007. King, who holds a business management degree from N.C. State University, learned about NS and its management trainee program during her college fair.
The trainee program, she said, gave her a broad view of the company and an understanding of how she fit into the bigger picture. After completing the program as a customer service trainee, King moved into an agriculture supervisor job in NS’ National Customer Service Center. A year later, she switched to the chemical and paper group, where she was supervisor, assistant manager, and later manager.
In March 2013, King transferred within the Network and Service Management Department to become a manager in Operations and Service Support.
According to King, NS employees who want to advance their careers should concentrate most on performing their current job to the best of their ability.
“Those who succeed,” she said, “focus on exceeding expectations in their current role before seeking advancement. Those exceeding will be recognized by their peers and managers.”
She also advises employees to get involved in the company beyond their jobs to meet and learn about the railroad from people who work in other departments. King, for example, helped launch the YoungNS program in Atlanta in 2011. As a member of the group’s leadership and development committee, she encouraged NS officials to speak on the program’s behalf, giving her exposure to senior executives. She also is a member of WiNS and the Thoroughbred Volunteers.
“If you just sit in your office or cubicle, you don’t get to branch out and learn about other departments,” she said. “I’ve been fortunate to have supportive colleagues who encourage me to get involved in additional training opportunities.”
King recommends the online training classes that NS offers through the ERC. “As a young professional in a diverse workforce,” she said, “these classes have prepared me to work with all types of people and personalities.”