Young Manager of the Year 2010

Sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport

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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.

The Winner: Lorna Murphy, Abellio LondonLorna Murphy

Having entered the industry on the National Express Graduate Training Scheme, Lorna is now a top performing Operations Manager for Abellio. She shows unrivalled enthusiasm for any challenge and continually inspires those around her through her work rate and commitment to the highest standards, so much so that in 2009 she was nominated by her own staff for the Abellio Manager of the Year award despite being in post at Walworth for only five months.

Taking over a poorly-performing depot, using her undoubted communication skills through both personal contact and team engagement, judges were impressed with how quickly Lorna improved key staff and financial performance indicators, developing the abilities of those in her charge and engendering a strong team spirit in the process. In addition, with a strong will to succeed and an ability to ‘lead from the front’ as one of her greatest strengths, Lorna has taken every opportunity to increase revenue and develop the business for her depot and the company.

She also displays incredible commitment and support for charitable events, championing them within the company.

Runner Up: Charlotte Whitfield, First in London & Berkshire

Charlotte Whitfield from FirstGroupA successful product of FirstGroup’s Graduate Training Scheme, Charlotte manages a team of 150 drivers and 20 school escorts as well as administration and supervisory staff. Deploying 85 buses and coaches over four locations in Berkshire and Surrey, each with a very different operating profile, she ensures safety and customer service are of paramount importance whilst bringing a fresh and engaging professionalism to everything she does. The variety of work presents a daily challenge for Charlotte and her team but her immense enthusiasm for the role, coupled with her strong management skills, ensure that she is always able to deliver the highest level of performance across the diverse locations under her control.

Judges were especially impressed by how she had handled the effect on her company of the closure of Surrey’s Pegasus school bus project, with the loss of 43 jobs. Not least, through her strong leadership and excellent communication skills, a quality service was delivered right up to the end of the contract.

Since the judging, Charlotte has once again been promoted, and is now running Willesden Junction garage and challenge of taking London’s 18 route from articulated vehicles back to double deckers.

Highly Commended

Mike Butt, Stagecoach West Limited

Mike Butt from Stagecoach WestUnlike the other three young managers shortlisted, Mike Butt is not a product of a graduate training scheme but started his bus industry career ‘on the tools’ as an engineering apprentice, proving that it is still possible for talented front-line staff to make the transition to a management role.

Mike has a ‘no nonsense’ approach to management and, given his background, is not afraid to get his hands dirty to show how things should be done, in the process earning respect from those in his charge. He clearly understands that good communication is a key element of good management. With his undoubted skills, he has formed a successful team and created a better awareness amongst his colleagues of what their role is within the business, and how the engineering department contributes to a bus operation that is attractive to the user and to the overall success of the company.

He is a very hard working manager who has progressed in a short time. He sets his standards high, and always strives to achieve and maintain those standards.

Mark Whitelocks, Stagecoach UK Bus

Mark Whitelocks

A product of Stagecoach’s Graduate Training Scheme, Mark has recently been appointed as Operations Manager at Exeter for Stagecoach South West, one of the group’s largest depots, having held a similar post for Stagecoach West covering their Cheltenham and Stroud depots.

Mark’s tenure in Gloucestershire was not without difficulties which tested his organisational skills. Not least taking charge of a team older in age, through good communication he successfully established an effective relationship balancing the skills of leadership with those of learning from the existing team. It was a time of significant change, including the successful introduction of the Stagecoach Gold product on one of his area’s main services. The depots under his control had extremely diverse operations which required a wide range of skills and an excellent all-round manager. Mark responded to this, delivering improved key staff and financial performance figures.

Judges’ Overall Verdict

For a number of years after deregulation, the bus industry was ‘unfashionable’ and had great difficulty attracting high quality graduates. On the evidence of the Young Manager of the Year Award and following the introduction and development of excellent graduate training schemes by most of the big groups, the industry now seems much better able to attract top quality young people.

This year’s entrants again illustrate the value and success of the initiatives. It is pleasing also that the big groups are beginning to develop internal staff development schemes taking the best of their front-line staff and giving them the necessary skills to move into management. A product of this Stagecoach scheme is also shortlisted. The evidence of three years of this Award is that the industry is in good hands for the future.

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 person nominated MUST countersign the form to confirm their agreement to their name being put forward.

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 will be 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.

As part of the entry, entrants were required to submit a paper of not more than 2,000 words describing their own current functions, achievements and problems.

Short-listed finalists were 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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