routeone Awards judging panel grows by three

Joan Aitken, Richard Delahoy and Kevin Middleton add further industry knowledge to existing line-up

Three well-known industry figures have joined the judging panel of the routeone Awards, taking the number of judges to eight.

Former Traffic Commissioner (TC) for Scotland Joan Aitken, training specialist Richard Delahoy and experienced engineer Kevin Middleton join existing panel members Steve Dewhurst, Chris Heaps, Tony Kennan, Peter Nash and Kevin Wood to decide this year’s winners.

The announcement comes as the first submissions for 2019’s routeone Awards have been received. Nominees have until 10 May to enter, and the expanded judging panel will then generate a shortlist for all categories.

The presentation evening takes place on 2 October at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.

All eight judges will meet in July to decide the winners, with interviews to be held at Diversified Communications UK’s Peterborough offices.

Ms Aitken was TC for Scotland from 2003 until February this year. Describing herself as “a champion of bus travel and a regular bus user,” her time as TC saw her demand that operators delivered the best possible service to customers.

She oversaw improvements in vehicle roadworthiness and MoT pass rates and was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List for her services to transport in Scotland and to road safety. She is a Trustee for the charity Transaid.

Mr Delahoy has, for two decades, run a training and consultancy business that advises coach and bus operators. He is a qualified Transport Manager and has held a Category D driving licence for 40 years. He has also provided administration services to the Guild of British Coach Operators. Prior to establishing his training company, he enjoyed a 24-year career in commercial banking.

Mr Middleton has enjoyed a career of over 40 years in the industry, holding several senior engineering roles. He started as an apprentice with West Midlands PTE in 1978, gaining a supervisory position at the age of 22. In 1996 he became Chief Engineer for National Express and from 2000 he held Director-level roles in National Express UK Bus and Coach, also spending time in its North American business.

Later joining First Group America, he moved into consultancy in 2016 and was part of the readiness team for Go-Ahead Group’s Singapore operation.