|Paul Côté (2011)
The 2011 inductee is Paul Côté, former president of VIA Rail Canada, the nation’s only Class 1 passenger rail service. He was appointed head of the Crown Corporation in March 2005, following his period as the company’s Chief Operating Officer.
Côté got his start in the rail industry with Canadian National (CN) in 1972. Six years later, he embarked on his career with VIA, where he steadily mastered his knowledge of passenger trains. During his 32 years with the Crown Corporation, he managed a range of different departments, including Marketing, Human Resources and Government Affairs, to name a few.
Throughout his 38-year career, Côté was devoted to the passenger rail sector. At VIA, he became known for his management philosophy which put a clear emphasis on customer service and employee equality. He was the driving force behind VIA’s renaissance in the 1990’s which was founded on improved customer satisfaction.
“Mr. Côté’s customer-focused management style motivated and empowered every VIA employee,” said Gérald Gauthier, Chairman and President of CRHOF. “When we think of Paul Côté, we think of honesty, integrity and respect.”
A year before retiring from VIA in March 2010, he secured $900 million from the federal government to invest in rail infrastructure and equipment. The improvement and modernization of passenger trains is a testament to the customer service and rider experience that Mr. Côté prioritized throughout his career.