Chairman , National Rail Conference
Steve Norris was a Conservative Member of Parliament for Oxford East and then Epping Forest from 1983 to 1997. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Departments of Environment, Trade & Industry and the Home Office and in 1992 was appointed Minister for Transport with a special responsibility for all London transport. After retiring from Parliament he was twice his party’s candidate for Mayor of London outperforming the national party substantially on both occasions. He is a former Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party.
Steve has combined a career in politics with a business career in the fields of property, infrastructure and transportation. He is currently Chairman of BNP Paribas Real Estate UK and of Soho Estates. He is also Chairman of Virtus Data Centres. He is a Non-Executive Director of Excel the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company conference centre in East London. He has been a member of the Boards of both Transport for London and the London Development Agency and served on the Treasury’s Growth Task Force for HS2. He is on the Board of Cubic Corporation, the developers and managers of the London Oyster card. Having a particular interest in infrastructure he chairs the National Infrastructure Planning Association which works with government to improve the planning regime around major projects and advises a number of clients on major schemes.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a Companion of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and an Honorary Fellow of the Project Managers Association.
Managing Director - UK, SYSTRA
Sir David Higgins
Chairman, HS2 Ltd
On January 1 2014, David Higgins was appointed Non-Executive Chairman of High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd.
On April 1 2010, he was appointed a Non-Executive Director of Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd. On September 28 2010, he was appointed Chief Executive of Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd with effect from February 1 2011.
Higgins was appointed Chief Executive Designate of the Olympic Delivery Authority in December 2005 and appointed Chief Executive with effect from March 30 2006. Prior to December 2005, he was Chief Executive of English Partnerships, the Government’s national regeneration agency, for three years.
Higgins graduated in Civil Engineering from the University of Sydney and holds a Diploma from the Securities Institute of Australia. Following graduation, he spent time working in the UK and Africa, returning to Australia in 1981 to join the Lend Lease Group - an international property and construction company - in 1985. In 1995, he was appointed Managing Director and Group Chief Executive of the Group.
Managing Director UK Trains and Chair, Arriva and Rail Delivery Group
Chris joined Arriva in August 2014 and, as Managing Director - UK Trains, is responsible for the growth and development of Arriva’s UK rail operations. He is also a member of the Group Executive Committee.
He began his career at Railtrack in 1996 and held various management positions before moving to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Joining the Go-Ahead Group in 2002, Chris was Director of Operations at Thames Trains and in 2006 was promoted to the role of MD for the Southern rail franchise.
He was appointed chairman of the railway industry’s cross-industry National Task Force (NTF) from 2010-2016. He was also a Non-Executive Director of the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) Board. Chris was appointed chair of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) in 2017.
Chairman, Transport Focus
Chief Executive of Passenger Focus. A qualified solicitor, he worked for five years as principal consumer lawyer for the Consumers’ Association. Prior to joining PF, Anthony was deputy and acting director of ICSTIS, the regulator of premium rate telephone services.
Councillor Bob Sleigh
Chairman, West Midlands Combined Authority
Prior to becoming Solihull Leader he was Deputy Leader for eight years and Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing.
He is a Director of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and West Midlands Rail. He has previously held non-executive positions with the NHS and was formerly Chairman of the West Midlands Probation Service.
He has been Conservative Association Chairman twice and sits on the management committee for Solihull Borough Conservatives.
Bob has a long business career, principally with SMEs, and has recently retired from Birmingham based Gee & Co, where he held the position of Business Development Manager.
Councillor Sleigh is also the portfolio lead member for HS2 growth strategy, devolution deals and communications & engagement.
Managing Director, Transport for West Midlands
Laura Shoaf is Managing Director of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) – part of the West Midlands Combined Authority. She has more than 20 years’ international experience in delivering integrated economic and spatial regeneration.
After leaving her native USA, Laura became Head of Strategic Planning and Implementation at the Black Country Consortium and was instrumental in the creation of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
As Black Country Director of Transport, Laura championed and led the area’s transport agenda, directly advising Chief Executives, Leaders and the LEP.
In 2015, Laura became Strategic Director for Transport at the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority and then in June 2016 took up her current position where she is responsible for key initiatives across the metropolitan area such as Midlands Connect, the HS2 Connectivity Package and the region’s Strategic Transport Plan, liaising with Government departments and regional agencies for the benefit of the West Midlands. She is also responsible for delivering a £4billion transport package over the next 10 years underpinning economic regeneration in the region.
Laura is a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and a committee member of both UITP and EMTA, highly-respected international and European organisations dedicated to promoting public transport and the dissemination of best practice.
Chairman and Partner, GBS Business Transport Group and Pinsent Masons
Patrick has been involved in most aspects of infrastructure through his career at Pinsent Masons, specialising in financing. In his consultancy role he has a particular interest in the Transport sector: He is Chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Business Transport Group and of the Connectivity Committee of the GBS Local Enterprise Partnership and is a passionate advocate of HS2 and was an original member of the Steering Committee of Midlands Connect.
Programme Director for West Midlands, HS2 Ltd
Having literally started at the coal face with the National Coal Board he has more than 25 years of experience of managing complex infrastructure projects with the majority of these being large transport programmes.
Among his significant previous positions, Mike was the Route Director for the London to the North East Region for Network Rail improving our railways through a significant capital investment programme between London Kings Cross and the Scotland Border. He was responsible for the heavy rail delivery for the 2012 London Olympics with projects that generated capacity, journey time and connectivity benefits as well as regeneration benefits including Stratford Regional Station, North London Line and the East London Line. His track record of delivering strategic change is evidenced through key account feedback which has consistently met the high expectations of customers and stakeholders.
In his current role, Mike is accountable for leading the delivery teams to design and construct the new civil engineering infrastructure and stations in the Midlands including Interchange and Birmingham Curzon Street.
Mike holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from the University of Leeds and is a Chartered Engineer. He also possesses an Executive MBA specialising in Transport Management from Leeds University and a Post Graduate Award in Strategic Leadership from the University of Warwick.
Head of Business Development, Hitachi
Jim Brewin is Head of Business Development at Hitachi Rail Europe. He has more than 15 years’ experience in the UK rail industry and is currently overseeing Hitachi’s bid for High Speed 2 rolling stock and maintenance contracts.
Having begun his career in rail at Brush Traction as a Test Engineer, Jim was part of the Hitachi team that delivered the Class 465 traction replacement programme and the Class 395 Javelin™ fleet into passenger service in 2009.
During his time in sales he has overseen rolling stock contract wins for Abellio ScotRail, Great Western Railway, TransPennine Express and Hull Trains totalling over 500 new rail vehicles for the UK market place.
A native of the north east of England, Jim is passionate about the role of Hitachi’s UK manufacturing facility in Co. Durham and the long term benefits of employment and skills development that it will provide for the region and wider rail industry.
Dr Mark Raiss
Engineering Director Civil Infrastructure, EMIA, AECOM
Mark is currently AECOM’s Engineering Director for Riyadh Metro Lines 1 & 2 and AECOM’s Programme Director for HS2 in the UK. He has extensive experience in major transportation infrastructure projects, both underground and elevated. With a world-class reputation for large and complex infrastructure projects he has led multi-disciplinary teams on projects in the UK, Hong Kong, China, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Malaysia.
Mark was AECOM’s Programme Director for Crossrail - Europe’s largest construction project – including the detailed design of 2 major underground interchange stations.
AECOM has already worked on many aspects of HS2 including route selection, preliminary design, environmental impact assessment and hybrid Bill design preparation as well as working with one of the JV’s bidding for the construction contracts on Phase 1. Prior to its acquisition by AECOM, Mark was the Chairman of Benaim which specialised in, value engineering, optimising designs and working with contractors. Mark is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Managing Director, Victa Railfreight (CILT)
Neil has spent his whole career involved with rail operations, and having worked for British Rail for 14 years, set up Victa Railfreight in 1995 and has been Managing Director ever since. In that time he has grown the company in response to emerging commercial opportunities, providing a wide range of services in support of the wider industry, all based on a core freight operations and logistics competency and adapting to meet the evolving requirements of its broad customer base.
Victa Railfreight have established a reputation for cost effective and safety focussed provision of rail based logistics for major infrastructure projects, having played key roles in high profile construction contracts for High Speed 1, Heathrow T5 and Crossrail.
Neil has been a long standing Non-Executive Director of the Railfreight Group and serves on the FTA Rail Council.
Executive Development Director, Colas Rail Ltd
Iain is Executive Development Director for Colas Rail Ltd. He is an Incorporated Civil Engineer and Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. His career has seen him undertaking operational, technical and commercial roles across the transport, power, and water, sectors of the UK.
Most recently he was heavily involved in the creation of the Midland Metro Alliance where he undertook the role of Interim Alliance Director during the formation and establishment of the Alliance. During this period he took the lead in blending the component Alliance and sub-Alliance members to establish a strong collaborative culture.
Iain is passionate about the need for an integrated transport solution for the UK and in addition to his role at Colas Rail he also holds current Directorships on the Boards of both the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group and UK Tram.
Chief Executive, National College for High Speed Rail
Clair joined HS2 Ltd to lead on the development of the National College for High Speed Rail in 2014. She has been instrumental in taking the project from concept through to its current stage of development, working across stakeholders to achieve buy-in and support for the project. She was appointed as Chief Executive of the National College for High Speed Rail in September 2016.
Prior to this Clair was involved in strategic planning and development of 14-19 education, supported organisations through merger and advised government on policy. More recently she worked to develop a new approach to education and skills development for the South West Strategic Health Authority that focused on immersive virtual learning and professional development.
Clair’s career is characterised by working with organisations dedicated to supporting people through skills development. Her wide experience is an excellent platform for successfully implementing the National College, given its clear mandate to closely link skills development with the economy. Clair is passionate about promoting the opportunities that the high speed rail sector affords to a wide range of learners through an innovative teaching model.
Professor Peter Woodward
Chair in High Speed Rail Engineering, University of Leeds
Professor Peter Woodward takes up his new role as Chairman in High Speed Rail Engineering at the University of Leeds in June. The appointment of Professor Woodward, who is currently an industry sponsored Professor of High Speed Rail at Heriot-Watt University, comes at an important time in the growth and development of the University and the City because of the region’s role in unlocking the potential of the Northern Powerhouse and HS2.
Professor Woodward will be responsible for developing a new Institute for High Speed Rail Engineering at the University, using his expertise in geotechnical engineering to create a world leading research and innovation hub with an emphasis on train-track interaction and infrastructure systems.
This will complement other university-based research centres in the UK and respond to industry demand for undergraduate and postgraduate skills in railway engineering and other related areas.
The Institute will also work with a range of international partners including Southwest Jiaotong University in China, where Leeds has opened a new Joint School.
A distinguished researcher, Professor Woodward has played a key role in developing the polymer based track stabilisation system known as XiTRACK, which has increased track speed and reduced maintenance costs in a number of rail networks.
For example, this technology was used to stabilise the track bed at Clapham Junction, one of the busiest railway junctions in Europe with more than 2,500 trains passing through every day.
Operations Director, Morson International
Adrian has been Morson International’s operations director for the past five years and boasts over 15 years recruitment industry experience. As Morson’s operations director Adrian is responsible for the management and development of our multi-sector global recruitment business, across both contract and permanent markets. The industry in which Morson operates is fast-paced and Adrian helps to ensure we keep in step with its progression by embracing cutting-edge recruitment solutions, technologies, processes and engagement strategies whilst retaining a focus on client and candidate care. Adrian’s passion for innovation and commitment to delivering tailored solutions to employees, candidates and clients alike puts him at the forefront of our industry.
Director of communication strategy and implementation, London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games , JBD Integrated Communications Limited
Jackie has worked in the communication and marketing field for over 25 years and is regarded as one of the world’s leading communication strategists. She is currently leading the communications for the worldwide athletics federation and runs her own integrated communications company.
She was the chairman and group CEO at Good Relations, an integrated PR, brand communications and CSR agency, between 2013 and 2015. Prior to that Jackie directed the communication strategy and implementation for the world acclaimed London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games for 7 years after leading the successful bid’s international and domestic PR and Media campaign from 2003 to 2006.
Jackie has lived and worked in the UK, Australia and Singapore and has run campaigns across Europe, the USA, Asia Pacific, Australasia, Africa and the Middle East. She has designed and directed marketing, communication, media and sponsorship programs for some of the world’s biggest brands and events, including Visa International, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Cadbury, the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, Coca Cola, Samsung, Mars and currently the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
She brings a depth of international experience having worked across a number of countries and for leading international businesses. She also has significant expertise in crisis communications, strategic planning, vision and message development and implementation, stakeholder, internal and public affairs management and media relations across the globe. Jackie has worked at the highest levels of Government and business and has a proven record for managing and getting the best out of large teams; she is results driven, strategic in planning and creative in execution. Jackie has received numerous accolades for her work in the UK and overseas and was awarded an OBE by the Queen in the 2013 New Year’s Honors List for services to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.