Retiring Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway President and COO Norma Torres leaves enduring legacy of community impact, growth, and industry milestones
Brownsville, Texas – December 18, 2023 – Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway (BRG), an affiliate of the comprehensive supply chain, industrial development, and logistics solutions partner OmniTRAX – announces the retirement of BRG President and COO Norma Torres. In her 34 years of leadership, BRG carloads rose by more than 3,000%, paced by the addition of numerous Port of Brownsville customers that include Ternium, Vestas, Motus, and Bluewing Midstream.
Joining the BRG as a customer service agent in 1989, Torres’ career is as remarkable as the growth of the BRG. Through four decades, Norma earned expanded responsibility and growth, including promotions to Vice President of Administration in 1994, Executive Vice President in 1998, and, ultimately, BRG President and COO in 2001. With each new role, Torres charted new ground within the rail industry. Starting her career at the Port of Brownsville in 1982, Norma has amassed more than 40 years of transportation industry and region expertise.
“Norma Torres has set the standard for service, commitment, and excellence, and we have been fortunate to have such a strong role model for our teammates. Norma is a true original and an industry pioneer. We celebrate her accomplishments and the wonderful legacy she leaves for the BRG and our network,” said OmniTRAX President and COO Sergio Sabatini. “Norma’s impressive four-decade professional accomplishments are exceeded only by her impact on the Brownsville community and a vibrant personal life that includes 45 years of marriage, three loving children, five grandchildren, and countless lives touched by Norma’s kindness.”
Among pioneering industry firsts, Torres became the first female executive within the OmniTRAX network, the first female to lead a domestic short-line, and first Latin American woman to lead a railroad. Norma is an active member of professional and community organizations that include Southwest Association of Rail Shippers, American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association, Brownsville Economic Development Council and Brownsville Chamber of Commerce. The Brownsville community is a special place for Torres, and she has spent decades championing local philanthropic efforts that serve community needs such as food insecurity and education.
“Brownsville and the BRG family have been very important to me, and I am grateful for the opportunities to serve the community and help it grow,” said Torres. “I’m grateful for such a wonderful journey to grow with the BRG and I have been blessed by wonderful teammates that have made this experience so meaningful.”
Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway is a 50-mile short line railroad that provides common carrier rail transportation to all facilities located within the Brownsville Navigation District of Cameron County, Texas. The strategic corridor of the Port of Brownsville provides critical access across the nation’s busiest freight border. Torres is succeeded by BRG President Shariff Gonnella.