Grace joins Belt family

From left, outgoing President Patrick O’Brien and new President Michael J. Grace

Michael J. Grace is the new president of the railroad.

“This is a great, well-run company with a really strong team that I’m glad to be a part of,” he said. “There’s a family atmosphere here with a lot of collaboration and cooperation.”

A former division superintendent with Norfolk Southern, he’s a third-generation railroader who has 38 years of experience. He began his career as a Track laborer and has also worked as a trainmaster. His new role leads him back to the Chicago area, a place he first worked during a period in which the Chicago Bears were making a Super Bowl run in 1985.

“This is my fourth tour of duty here,” he said “It’s a fantastic city.”

Grace noted the importance of the rail hub to international commerce and the Belt’s ongoing role in helping it function optimally.

“The Belt is a strong component of the American railway network, and my goal is to continue its success,” he said.

Grace takes over for Patrick O’Brien who he credited with creating a “tremendous team that will carry on the success he fostered.”

Safety is a No. 1 value for Grace who believes that focusing on compliance can be a challenge and also the key to success in the area.

Grace’s wife of 25 years is Lisa. His daughter, Molly, is a graduate of Indiana University and has begun a successful career in the communications industry after studying journalism. His son, William, is studying biology at Michigan State University.