Brian Madison: TrinityRail Gains Steam as the Pandemic Subsides
by Monitor Staff Vol. 48 No. 4 2021
Brian Madison joined TrinityRail to oversee its leasing company in 2015 after a series of successful leadership roles across the equipment finance and leasing industry. What initially attracted Madison to the railcar manufacturing industry and what keeps him motivated is the endless possibilities of a 150-year-old industry ripe for innovation.
Brian Madison, Executive Vice President of Services Operations, TrinityRail
Brian Madison is an industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience under his belt. Holding multiple leadership roles across successful companies, Madison’s common denominator has always included a deep focus on enabling manufacturers and vendors to succeed through equipment financing.
“I’m passionate about building systems and infrastructure and [an] environment of collaboration that enables the sustainable business success and personal growth for team members, with a foremost focus on the customer and the employee experience, and then building routines and processes to ensure that the businesses can thrive through all different types of environments,” Madison says.
To ensure businesses can navigate those environments, Madison seeks to establish repeatable and predictable routines. When confronted by extraordinary challenges, such as a global pandemic, a business will always have those core routines to rely on to keep its businesses afloat, permitting leadership the capacity to better manage those inevitable events.
“And to make that happen, you’ve got to have a strong business rhythm in place. A focus on developing leaders with a passion for excellence. Very clear, strategic direction. High accountability, and then, really deep engagement with our teams and customers to ensure that their needs are met,” Madison says.
Just before the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic shutdowns, Trinity Industries appointed Jean Savage, who joined from Caterpillar, as its new CEO. Trinity used the majority of 2020 to sharpen its focus and gear up for the economic recovery following the pandemic. Recognizing early on that all business disruptions come to an end, Savage and her leadership team (including Madison) worked together to ready TrinityRail for the better economic times soon to come. TrinityRail has emerged with a new value proposition, operating model and company purpose, changes that have benefitted Trinity from the top to the bottom.
“We’re confronted with challenges every day, [and] I like to see them as opportunities. What our teams know how to do is mobilize, to define the challenge or the opportunity, leverage customer insights and the facts and the data around the circumstances. Do a full assessment of the current situation. Really gain clarity around the problem that we’re trying to solve,” Madison says. “And from there, get the right people involved from across the organization to get alignment on the problem and the approach to the solution, and then, going out and assigning roles and responsibilities and dates and timelines, and just set up a regular rhythm for updates and status check-ins, really working to keep everybody’s eye on the prize. And then effectively manage the challenge or the opportunity through to a successful resolution.”
Monitor recently caught up with Tom Slevin, founder and CEO, and Brian Dundon, SVP corporate development at First Financial Equipment Leasing ahead of their company’s acquisition of NorFund, an independent leasing company specializing in capital equipment, solar and alternative energy and vendor finance programs.
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