Whether the Belt hires a new carman apprentice or a different president and general manager in his case, Percy Fields said the company’s core values and vision will stay the same.
“We’ll remain focused on being better tomorrow than we are today,” he said.
In regard to the personnel change, Fields emphasized that the operation “isn’t a one-person show” and noted “everyone at the Belt contributes to our success.”
Along with uniting the team, Fields said his job is to bring employees’ great ideas to fruition and ensure they have the tools necessary to safely and efficiently perform their work.
Fields joined the Belt in 2020 after a lengthy interview process for President Mike Grace’s successor.
“Working for Mike has been one of the best opportunities in my life,” Fields said. “We’ve always communicated openly, and I know he᾿ll remain a valuable resource for me and the Belt. His 42 years of experience doesn’t go away when he retires. He’s made great strides to move the company forward. I thank him for all he’s done, which includes believing in me. ”
Grace has assumed an executive advisor role with the Belt, which he’ll perform until he retires.
Fields says his new title won’t change him, stating, “I’m a humble person. When I look in the mirror, I still see myself as a 19-year-old new hire conductor, excited and nervous. Getting here took hard work and dedication, along with support from my family, friends and co-workers.”
Fields followed his father into railroading and said his advice to be “firm, fair and friendly” is still influential. He strives to engage and get to know every employee on a personal level.
“While we won’t always see eye to eye, our difference of opinion can spawn good ideas, and we can still move forward together,” he said. “It would be boring if we were all the same.”