In 2016, Jim Cowan was appointed President, Greenbrier International. In this newly-created role, Cowan's broad experience in manufacturing and the rail industry will support Greenbrier's rapidly-growing international operations. Cowan's responsibilities extend to all railcar markets outside the Americas and include international project coordination with Greenbrier's Global Manufacturing Organization (GMO). Prior to this assignment, Cowan was Senior Vice President, Operations. In this role, Cowan utilized his broad experience in manufacturing and the rail industry to support Greenbrier's operations across its integrated business model. Cowan also drove the execution of the Company's strategic initiatives to improve its gross margins and liberate capital while increasing return on invested capital. Cowan lead focused activities directed to margin enhancement, with initial emphasis on the repair & parts businesses.
Before joining Greenbrier, Cowan most recently worked for Amsted Rail at their railcar manufacturing operation in Brazil. Prior to that Cowan served as President and Chief Executive Officer of publicly traded American Railcar Industries, Inc. (ARI) where he worked approximately eight years. He was also a member of the board of directors for three ARI joint ventures including Axis, an axle manufacturing business. Additionally, Cowan served on the board of Ohio Castings, LLC, a joint venture between ARI, Greenbrier and Amsted Rail.
Prior to entering the rail industry, Cowan spent 26 years in various positions involving the engineering, construction and manufacturing of steel and tubular products. During this time, Cowan served as President and Chief Operating Officer for publicly held Maverick Tube Corporation and also as President and Chief Operating Officer of Vallourec & Mannesmann Star. Cowan worked with Cargill Inc. for 23 years as Vice President of their steel manufacturing division, General Manager of three separate locations and in various other roles at other Cargill, Inc. locations. Jim has a BS in Metallurgical Engineering from Michigan Tech.