Young Manager of the Year

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This Award focuses specially on the talent we will all rely on to deliver our bus services for the next 20 years and more: the young managers, currently delivering and planning services at the sharp end - but whose skills will be vitally important over the coming years as the bus increasingly comes to be seen as an aid to reducing carbon emissions and fighting climate change.

Winner, Gold Award

Stephanie Maher - National Express West Midlands

Stephanie Maher joined National Express West Midlands (NXWM) in September 2011 on the company's first bus-only graduate scheme. Since December 2014, she has been Operations Manager of the busy Wolverhampton depot with 554 staff and carrying 28m passengers a year. In 2015 Stephanie and her team won NXWM Garage of the Year. Wolverhampton garage achieved the best scores in the company for safety, cost, customer and people performance, winning three out of the four categories. Stephanie is very dedicated to her role as Operations Manager, and goes above and beyond to ensure the success of the garage and the welfare of her staff. Stephanie is a real people person and engages well with all members of the team at Wolverhampton. She has an excellent ability to build teams and to empower individuals. Senior management believe that Stephanie's winning combination of steely determination and a sunny personality makes her a great role model for women in the bus industry.

The judges were very impressed with her quiet effectiveness and significant personal development over the past couple of years. The scale of the operation at Wolverhampton is large and Stephanie has done well to take this on so effectively alongside studying for an MBA. She goes out and influences how decisions are made in the industry and takes every opportunity to expand her knowledge. In a very tight contest, Stephanie pushed ahead to become the Gold Winner.

Winner, Silver Award

Dan Bassett - Reading Buses

Dan Bassett is responsible for the management of Reading Buses' day to day operations at depot level. This involves overseeing 420 drivers across the Reading and Newbury depots, 16 control room and supervisory staff, a resources supervisor and two Driver Performance Managers. The 181 bus operation consists of a mix of high-frequency town operations (including four x 24/7 services), lower frequency rural services, school buses and private contract operations, including a prestigious 12 bus operation for Vodafone. Dan is the key ingredient to making operations run smoothly. He motivates and leads his teams to ensure services are delivered in the best and most efficient way possible and works tirelessly to mobilise 417 drivers to deliver very high standards of customer service. He has delivered tangible results making services better for customers and employees alike. Under Dan's leadership reliability and punctuality have improved, a route acquisition was mobilised resulting in 51% more customers and blame worthy accidents have reduced by 32%. That's testament to his hard work and commitment to making changes to the business to make sure he's getting the best out of all his employees, with a focus on the end customer.

The judges considered that as a company that already has very high reliability and riderships levels, it would hard to improve what Reading Buses is doing already, but Dan has made tangible improvements. He is a confident and competent young man and clearly plays a key role in the management team. Not resting on his laurels, he has plenty of ideas for the future and will continue to make a difference. The judges found if very hard to decide between the top two positions.

Winner, Bronze Award

Sophie Moorby - Go North East

Since starting with Go North East in 2014 Sophie Moorby quickly achieved the role of Depot Manager at Washington, the youngest person in company history to achieve the role at the age of 23. Sophie has used her positive attitude and confidence to focus on helping her staff so that she can get the most out of her staff, and thus improving the service for customers - and she has achieved buy in from every member of staff in her depot increasing engagement and morale. As a young female graduate taking over a depot early in her career, Sophie has integrated well into the team working well on her own, but also drawing on the company's knowledge and experience when necessary. She has brought some fresh new ideas to the team, using a very impressive leadership and engagement model, whilst working hard to promote the company's long term success.

The judges were extremely impressed with Sophie and what she has achieved. Her direct, straight forward and no nonsense approach has served her well, and she has worked hard to bring on her staff and build an effective team around her. She has enormous potential for a very successful career in the bus industry and the judges would like to see her progress in a couple of years with another entry.

Specially Commended

Matthew Elsey - First Essex

Matthew Elsey manages the Stores function for First Essex, initially for the Chelmsford depot, and after doing such a good job, he now manages Stores across all First Essex depots. Matthew's positive attitude and confident management style engages and focusses his team. He empowers them and encourages them to involved in all tasks. His theory is that a manager is only as good as his team, so teamwork is the key to achieving targets. Matthew has put into place an organised and disciplined working environment with control measure to maximise productivity and efficiency. A recent stock check by external auditors of more than 9,000 items showed 100% compliance. In fact First Essex is top of the league across all First Bus companies for operational compliance, which is largely down to Matthew's hard work. Matthew's Stores function is considered the exemplar across First Bus in the UK.

The judges were very impressed with what Matthew has achieved. He is ambitious and deserves great credit for for identifying a career path for himself. He can see the big picture, and understand how important the Stores function is to the smooth running of other departments in the garage and has made it efficient and cost effective whilst building a string team around him to ensure that systems are run properly. In view of his special effort and achievement, the judges wanted to award Matthew a Special Commendation.


Alistair Timmis - Arriva Midlands & Shires

Alistair Timmis is a young man committed to excellence in the passenger transport industry. He began his career with Harrogate Coach Travel (Connexions Buses) in North Yorkshire in 2007, where he cleaned and fuelled vehicles as a part time job and joined Arriva in 2012 as a General Management Graduate after studying at Durham University. Alistair took every opportunity given to him to learn the business from the ground up and has honed his management skills in a number of different operational roles prior to becoming a General Manager at Tamworth. It is a role he has made his own and excelled at, making a tangible difference to the running of services across the thriving market town.

Katie Wagstaff - Stagecoach London

Katie Wagstaff joined Stagecoach London's management team at Leyton garage, a busy city centre depot with 370 driver and 135 vehicles carrying over two million passengers every month. After a brief overview of the key departments and roles, she quickly adapted to the intensity of the role, having spent her previous year on the Stagecoach Graduate Programme in Portsmouth and Worthing. Katie quickly got to know the drivers and took direct ownership of the new entrants and probationers, overseeing their progress and development. She has provided a fresh perspective on the operation and helped achieve a good set of year end performance figures. Katie will tackle any challenge set and is confident in dealing with people at all levels, showing flexibility and never shying away from dealing with a problem or challenging behaviour.

Who could be nominated?

This Award was open to all managers under the age of 30 who:

  • lead an organisation or major business unit in a professional capacity
  • own and operate their own business employing more than five people
  • work in a local authority, government department or quasi non-governmental organisation with functional responsibility for more than five staff

and by whom?

We welcomed nominations from all eligible organisations, both of their own employees and of outstanding young managers with whom they work in partnership or as stakeholders. Self-nomination is NOT appropriate for this category. In all cases, the consent of the person nominated was also required. 

Criteria and Entry Requirements

The judges will reach their decision on the quality of the written submissions made by the nominating organisation and by the nominees themselves.

Short-listed entrants were required to make a presentation to the judges and be interviewed by them.

Nominating organisations must be able to demonstrate that the nominees have shown excellence in management and leadership and that this has been recognised by them.

Nominees must be able to demonstrate:

  • An ability to manage complex tasks, people, processes and the environment in which their organisation operates
  • Effective communication skills with both staff and stakeholders
  • A commitment to mentoring or other leadership activities
  • Demonstrable ability to perform to a budget.

Entries should address each of the above criteria to assist with the judging process, because non-transferable marks will be allocated for each of these criteria.

Short-listed finalists will be required to make a 10-minute presentation either:

  • on the role of their organisation in the community and the wider transport market, or
  • on a subject of their own choosing relevant to the transport industry

And to answer questions from the judging panel (also 10 minutes).

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