2023 40 Under 40: Javier Ramirez Salgado

Aug. 22, 2023
Javier Ramirez Salgado, Program Manager, Hitachi Rail

One word to describe yourself: Passionate

Alma Mater: Emlyon Business School (France) / Politecnico di Torino (Italy) / Universidad Javeriana (Colombia)   

Fast fact about yourself: I’ve called seven countries home and I’m fluent in four languages (English, Spanish, Italian, and French).

Javier Ramirez Salgado has emerged as a standout figure within Hitachi Rail, showcasing a unique blend of exceptional skills and humility. His journey as an emerging transit leader is underscored by a combination of academic and professional achievements and a practical mindset.

Central to Ramirez's success is his academic foundation. He earned a bachelor's degree and master's degree in civil engineering, with the latter pursued in Turin, Italy, providing him with a comprehensive grasp of transportation systems. Complementing his technical education is his MBA from Emlyon Business School in France. These qualifications are fortified by his linguistic prowess, demonstrated through his fluency in English, Italian, French and Spanish.

Ramirez's potential was recognized early on by Hitachi Rail, leading him to participate in the Global Talent Development Program, a rigorous 12-month initiative designed to accelerate leadership and technical capabilities.  Ramirez's colleagues say his blend of academic rigor, practicality and humility made him a natural fit for his role as project manager on the Hurontario Light Rail Transit Project, Hitachi Rail's inaugural endeavor in Canada. In this capacity, he navigates the challenges posed by a culturally diverse team, partner organizations, subcontractors and clients.

Ramirez is credited with taking a proactive approach to problem-solving, regardless of complexity, which highlights his innate talent for breaking down issues, identifying solutions and harnessing collective input for effective resolutions. One example is his implementation of software solutions to streamline daily operations and manage subcontractor-related changes efficiently. This technology-driven approach has enabled Hitachi Rail to swiftly identify and address potential roadblocks in the project's execution.

Beyond his professional accomplishments, colleagues say it is  Ramirez's humility, dedication and unwavering determination that make him an outstanding ambassador for the transit industry. He actively contributes to discussions surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), including LGBTQIA+ population. Furthermore, he has completed three full marathons and three 70.3 Ironman races.

Is there a specific experience that led you to where you are today?

While my international experiences have undoubtedly played a significant role in shaping my journey, the deepest influence on my path comes from my childhood. I attribute my present position not only to my diverse encounters across the globe but, more importantly, to the values instilled in me by my parents. They taught me the virtues of discipline, hard work and, above all, being a compassionate and empathetic individual. Their guidance and teachings have been the foundation of my character, driving me to strive for excellence while remaining mindful of the impact I have on others. It is this foundation of values that has pushed me forward, enabling me to navigate the world with a sense of purpose and integrity.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

What I find most gratifying about my job is the opportunity to collaborate with people from diverse nationalities, backgrounds and life experiences. Interacting with such a variety of perspectives brings an incredible sense of enrichment and fosters a vibrant and inclusive work environment. Within my current team in Hitachi Rail Canada, we represent more than 20 different nationalities. The constant exchange of ideas, cultures and stories creates a dynamic atmosphere that fuels creativity and innovation.

Another fact that truly energizes me about my job is the direct impact it has on the development of cities and the enhancement of people’s quality of life. Being actively involved in projects that shape transportation infrastructure and positively influence urban areas gives me a deep sense of fulfillment.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

As the program manager overseeing the daily operations of the Hurontario LRT, I find the most challenging aspect of my role to be the coordination and alignment of various project requirements. Ensuring that we meet all expectations and standards, whether internal within the company or in collaboration with partners, vendors and clients, demands constant attention to detail and effective communication. Juggling these diverse elements and stakeholders while maintaining project integrity presents a formidable challenge that I eagerly embrace with my team in the pursuit of successful project delivery.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.