Best Places spotlight: CSX puts its people first

Best Places spotlight: CSX puts its people first

In a shaky economy, some IT workers may feel that they have limited career options and are being railroaded into jobs they don't like. Not so at CSX, which is all about mobility.

IT staffers Srini Manchikanti, Kathleen Brandt (seated), Syvility Broaden, Kari Damrow and Michael Hendrix. Credit: CSX.

Kari Damrow, manager of IT operations, has experienced a range of roles at the Jacksonville, Fla.-based rail transportation company. Formerly a software engineer and then a project manager of end user services, she's seen more than just the technology that keeps trains running.

"We're given the opportunity to see the day-to-day life of those running the railroad, so we can understand the work environment of our end users," says Damrow. "You're not pigeonholed into technology and sitting behind a computer; we're included as part of the railroad."

Whether employees want to move upward or sideways, CSX is the place to be, according to Michael Hendrix, technical director of enterprise services. "We have a real, sincere focus on developing our talent," says Hendrix, who has a background in finance and built his own IT career at CSX.

At CSX, career advancement is driven by more than impressive resumes. "We really have a culture that feels [that] people make the difference," says Hendrix. "It's not the tools or the skills -- it's the people that drive the solutions that help make us successful, not just in IT but across the business, serving America's transportation needs."

Next: Spotlight: No. 28-ranked Nationwide arms IT pros for new challenges

Ken Gagne is a freelance writer for Computerworld and PCWorld. He teaches online publishing at Emerson College in Boston. Contact him at

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