2019 Engineer of the Year

Engineer of the Year sponsored by sponsored by IRTE

Winner, Gold Award, Stephen Stringer – Warrington’s Own Buses

Stephen, or Ste as he prefers, is Warrington Buses through and through. Joining as an apprentice in 1999 he has been with us ever since. Ste is everything you want from a Head of Engineering and more. His team’s results speak for themselves, 100% MOT pass rate; green OCRS; no PG9s; FTA & Backhouse Jones inspections highly rated; lost mileage below 0.1%. Ste has put together an excellent team and he looks for Engineers who ‘gel’ as a group. Ste is a mentor to everyone, from our 17 year old apprentice, Ben Harper to our longest serving Fitter, Tommy Melia. He recognises team performance in meetings, appraisals and with a lunch every Friday. Ste is also a key component of our Leadership Team. Working across departments and traditional boundaries better than anyone I’ve known. Ste contributes to the Business Plan and Budget and understands our vision for Warrington’s Own Buses. He overachieves when it comes to labour and parts spend and has recently concluded a sensitive reorganisation of cleaning and engineering, avoiding any industrial action and stressing the benefits to the group. Finally, Ste is spearheading our vehicle rebrand and safety campaigns.

A well written entry with plenty of detail and good evidence that he is clearly an asset to the company was how the judges summarised Stephen Stringer’s entry. Having worked his way up from starting as an apprentice, he is a role model to others and has an excellent approach to mentoring and bringing on new talent through team engagement and delegation. The judges noted that he travels daily on the company’s buses and regularly engages with customers, cementing the link between engineering and passengers.

Winner, Silver Award, Jack Abbott – Stagecoach Manchester

Fleet Engineer, Jack Abbot has transformed the performance at Stagecoach Manchester’s Middleton Depot in just 18 months. Jack took on the challenge to make Middleton a stand-alone depot, undertaking all engineering work on-site. He has worked extremely hard to motivate and inspire his team to perform to high standards and to continually improve performance. His clear direction and proactive approach is reflected in the depot achieving a reduction in lost mileage and an MOT pass rate of 98%. Jack’s commitment to continuously improve the quality and reliability of services for the benefit of customers led him to introduce a recognition programme for engineers across the company earlier this year. He is a strong leader and motivator of his team and has made impressive improvements to staff morale and performance during his time at Middleton, achieving a 91% staff satisfaction score in our 2018 staff survey and dramatically reducing turnover from 32% to 5.6%.

Described by one of the judges as someone with an old head on young shoulders.

Winner, Bronze Award, Paul Slaney – Translink

Public Transport in Belfast underwent generational change when Glider commenced operation on 03rd September 2018. This entailed transformation of Translink’s Engineering operation in Belfast, ensuring that the Glider service was provided with: The right vehicle for this unique, new service, and an Engineering team equipped to support service quality and reliability on these unique vehicles. Paul was the Engineering lead in equipping Translink for this challenging project. Glider vehicles had to stand out from the crowd and attract clientele out of private cars. The type of vehicle, its aesthetics, layout and specification are all critical. Working within guidelines from Translink’s sponsoring Department, Department for Infrastructure(DfI), Paul developed the detailed specification and led the Engineering side of the procurement, culminating in purchase of 30 Van Hool Exquicity diesel hybrid articulated vehicles. Paul designed an extensive proving program ensuring a “big bang” entry into service of 30 advanced vehicles was successfully achieved. Alongside this, Paul led a major Engineering Change Programme which included the construction of a new Depot, Milewater Service Centre (MSC), the closure of Central Workshops, and the development of new ways of working in MSC to support the Glider and wider bus fleet of 1,400 vehicles.

Praised by the judges for his good communication with staff and unions as well as his engagement with stakeholders.

Finalist, Leon Hall – Arriva Southern Counties

I am pleased to nominate Leon Hall for the Engineer of the Year Award. I have known and worked with Leon for the past 6 months and have always found him to be experienced, efficient, and unfailingly reliable. In fact, I have never worked with a person who gives as much attention to engineering detail as he does. Also, his willingness to take on difficult projects like HAVS and Business Excellence and see them to successful completion has repeatedly impressed me, during the short period I have worked with Leon. I believe these characteristics represent all that is good in our company, and I am pleased to nominate him for the honour of Engineer of the Year.

Finalist, Jake Moore – Nottingham City Transport

During his relatively short career at NCT, Jake stands out as an impressive, hands on engineer who is quickly making his mark on improving the performance of Trent Bridge Garage. Leading the front line of engineering operations, Jake leads from the shop floor and is fundamental in ensuring that service is met every morning, often by getting his own hands dirty too. Jake’s leadership and management of the depot ensures over 9.3m passengers each year receive a punctual and safe service. A modest individual, Jake considers what he does ‘just his job’, but his approach and performance is very well regarded by his team, who look forward to him being in charge of the shift because of his calm, professional, supportive manner. He knows the skill set of his team like the back of his oil-covered hand and is sharing his knowledge and skills with colleagues and apprentices, preparing them for a future in engineering. His colleagues and Line Manager sum up his achievements and approach best by coining the phrase “every workshop needs a Jake!”

Finalist, Darren Richmond – Uno

Darren Richmond is an exceptional leader and engineering manager; he is someone who understands the importance of balancing the customer experience with the need to run and manage an engineering department on budget. Darren has supported the introduction of a £3.5m investment over the last two years, this has included new buses, on board enhancements and refurbishments. He always works towards delivering the business objectives. The thing that makes Darren stand out from the rest is his ability to be visionary but at the same time makes sure the detail is carried out exceptionally well. By putting the student and customer experience at the heart of the department he leads the way in ensuring that all branded corridors feature their specifically route badged buses. He understands the key role that engineering plays in delivering the promised product day in day out. This year he celebrated 20 years long service.

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