After working closely with the transport industry in her role at Hull City Council, Kerry Ryan made the move to Stagecoach East Midlands in February to become its new Operations Manager. We spoke to Kerry about her new role
Q: What’s your background?
A: Prior to this role I worked for Hull City Council for around 18 years. In the last seven years, it was with the Highway and Transportation team, and I worked as Transport Manager there where I led a team and was responsible for managing the network for the city council. This included transport, tenders for contacts, and acting as the main liaison for the bus companies in the city.
I worked a lot with Stagecoach in East Yorkshire for the council. I kind of fell into transport – it wasn’t anything I thought I was going to go into when I was younger. I got into the role and found I enjoyed it, it was something that kept me interested.
Q: What drew you to Stagecoach East Midlands?
A: When I got into transport, I enjoyed the work that I did with the council – working with the bus companies and the diversity that the days can bring. It was seeing how you can get involved with so many different things; it’s not just running a bus from A to B, there’s so much more involved. That drew me into it.
This then led me to get my Transport Manager CPC, which I did in 2015. I did my qualification with the aim to hopefully move on and become an Operations Manager, and when the opportunity came up I moved on to Stagecoach in February.
Q: How have you found your first few months in the role?
A: It’s been interesting. From being with the local authority for 18 years, I know their ways, so coming in and learning how another company works while also dealing with the day-to-day operations… it’s kept me busy, but in a good way.
Being hands on is what I do best. I like getting involved in what’s going on, and no day is the same. It’s part of what keeps me interested – I don’t like to have the same day, because you get bored of it. I like to keep myself busy. It’s been a challenge but a good one, because it’s making me test myself. There’s a lot to learn but that’s not a negative. You’re here to challenge and beat what you’ve done previously and that’s how it is with Stagecoach. That’s all part of it, you’ve got to get up in the morning and do your job and enjoy it, and these are the things that do that for me.
Q: What are your favourite aspects of the role?
A: The best part has been working with the drivers and getting to know everybody. It sounds cliché but I love working with people, I enjoy meeting different personalities and how you need to change to deal with those different personalities. Not one person is the same; from drivers to customers, to the rest of the team. We’re all getting to know each other. It can be so diverse too – you think you’re coming in to do one thing and then it changes and you do something totally different, but you still end up leaving thinking that it’s been a good day.
Q: Are there many crossovers between your old role and your new role with Stagecoach?
A: I’m enjoying learning more about the commercial side, as being with the council wasn’t commercially-orientated. Working with the commercial team is a totally new experience for me. We’re just in the process of developing a new network and introducing late evening services into the East Riding, and that’s all because of the evening economy in Hull is changing off the back of the City of Culture.
From the council side I was involved with setting up City of Culture in terms of transport, and now moving across seeing the other side of it, has been really good. There have been quite a lot of links and it’s been good to see both sides.