We have hand picked some of the leading figures within the rail industry to present at this year's event. Find out a bit more about each of our speakers below.
Ali is a Chartered Engineer with expertise in railway systems engineering, risk management, system safety, assurance and approvals.
He has been with RSSB since February 2019. Before that, Ali was at Bechtel Civil Infrastructure, working on the Riyadh Metro Project, and the UAE safety regulator, the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai.
Allan joined Network Rail in 2012 to create the company strategy for transforming safety and wellbeing. He has been at the heart of the company’s shift towards its vision of Everyone Home Safe Every Day. He is currently leading the company’s work in all aspects of passenger and public safety.
He is vice chair of the cross-industry System Safety Risk Group and chair of the specialist group covering level crossing safety. In 2019, he also became chair of the European Level Crossing Forum, helping share best practice for level crossing safety across the UIC members.
His career was originally as a safety regulator with experience in many different industries. In 2000 Allan joined the then HM Railway Inspectorate and moved with the inspectorate to the newly combined safety and economic regulator - the Office of Rail Regulation - becoming HM Deputy Chief Inspector.
His rail experience spans all aspects of the industry, including infrastructure management, operators, major projects, light rail and the heritage sector, as well as work with oversees regulators and railway companies. But he also draws on his experience with many other industries, including his roots in agriculture and construction.
Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Furnell is the Head of Crime and Public Protection for British Transport Police and has been a serving police officer for over 29 years. Paul has held senior detective roles in the Crime, Intelligence and Public Protection spheres within three separate Police forces, as well as being appointed to the Head of Investigations for the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit targeting major, serious and organised criminal activity. Paul oversees the Force’s Crime, Public Protection and intelligence capability coordinating overt and covert investigations aimed at disrupting serious criminality.
Paul has amassed considerable experience in the world of Public Protection, both within the Policing, sporting and voluntary sectors, with a focus upon protecting children and vulnerable adults and targeting those who pose them the most risk. His work has seen him redesign the Public Protection and safeguarding approach of three Police forces over the past 7 years. The current reforms pioneered within BTP have resulted in Child Abuse, County Lines and CSE being placed firmly within the force’s safeguarding agenda and secured long term commitment to increased operational activity alongside policing partners and 3rd sector stakeholders.
Dr Richard Peters is chief medical officer at Network Rail. He provides assurance to the board, the company as a whole, regulators and the wider rail industry on the occupational health and wellbeing management of its c39,000 permanent employees.
Richard holds an honorary position at University College London Medical School as a clinical senior lecturer and works with the Faculty of Occupational Medicine to ensure a benchmark of standards for the teaching of the occupational medicine at medical schools throughout the UK.
He is an elected member of ARIOPS (Association of Railway Industry Occupational Health Practitioners) and part of the Global Chief Medical Officers Network powered by BUPA.
Prior to Network Rail, he was a chief medical officer at Capita Plc.
Joining the railway 17 years ago, with the help of the Princes Trust, Emma undertook her first fibre optic training course which led to her becoming a maintenance cable jointer, Local Delivery Manager Wales & Marches, Tester in Charge and latterly the CEO of Motion Rail – a real boots on ballast to the boardroom career journey!
Juggling a demanding job with 3am call outs and managing school runs, Emma gained her IRSE accreditation and became the Thales Local Delivery Manager on the Western Region. Consumed with the day job and relentless process to adhere with, Emma became frustrated as she felt it was impossible to be dynamic, let alone innovative. So, in 2009, Emma set up Motion Rail and went back to her engineering passion, becoming Tester in Charge and working on several high-profile projects including Thameslink and Crossrail.
Over the past 10 years, Emma has developed a dynamic, multifunctional, agile delivery team who have collaborated with Network Rail and Tier 1 suppliers on several fantastic projects including The Greater West Electrification, P2R Anglia, Liverpool Street Recontrol and major station upgrade as well as completing the largest Electrification circuit immunisation project for the Crossrail Project.
Passionate about PEOPLE, Emma believes empowerment is key and is committed to building safe, resilient infrastructure for rail industry providing the right skills, tools and techniques to enable development and leave behind a lasting legacy to the communities that have supported Motion’s growth. As part of this, Emma commissioned Motion Reality, a Virtual Reality digital twin railway, initially to deliver rail training, enabling people to learn and practice in a safe environment. Realising the benefit, Emma developed Motion Reality further and took the railway to the classroom!
Engaging and inspiring the next generation, not for profit Motion Reality promotes innovation, safety and diversity in rail engineering and continues to give back to the industry what the Princes trust gave to Emma, an opportunity to shine and make a real difference.
George Bearfield is Visiting Professor of Railway System Safety at the University of Huddersfield’s Institute of Rail Research, the UKRINN’s centre of excellence for Rolling Stock research.
George is also Safety Director at Rock Rail, the rolling stock leasing and asset management company, with responsibility for all aspects of its Safety Management Systems including safety assurance responsibilities for the fleets under its management. He is an independent expert advisor to the board safety subcommittee of the UK air traffic control body National Air Traffic Services (NATS).
George has a PhD in Computer Science, specialising in railway risk modelling and is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the IET and a Fellow of the Safety and Reliability Society.
Joan is a Chartered Engineer with over 30 years’ experience since graduation. The last 20 years have been aligned with the Rail industry. She is currently the Engineering Director for Rail at AECOM responsible for driving and leading their ambition for technical excellence in railway engineering.
The role includes coordination of technical leadership across all disciplines to ensure effective discipline networks, competency management, common design standards and knowledge sharing as the best practice.
Joan was also appointed to the Presidential chain of the PWI in spring 2018. Due to a number of internal changes within the PWI, she took up her role as President earlier than planned ( March 2019). Her areas of focus are two-fold.
Working with the existing Sections to enable them to become the “best that they can be”
Strengthening the relationships with existing Corporate members, ensuring the PWI is meeting their needs.
Joan graduated from the University of Ulster with an MEng degree in Civil Engineering in 1989 and started her career as a Graduate Engineer with Sir Robert Mc Alpine, working on various Infrastructure projects. She then spent the next 10 years with various Principal Contractors, progressing from Graduate to Site Agent with responsibility for all site activity. In 2002 she joined Network Rail and held a number of roles within the arena of Track renewals. These included Programme Manager, Head of Engineering for Infrastructure Projects ( Track) and latterly she was responsible for leading a significant Transformation Programme.
Lex van der Poel is CEO and co-founder of Dual Inventive and has been involved in the rail sector since 2004. During this time he has designed and supplied innovative new technologies to improve track worker safety and railway efficiency.
Lex believes in the Internet of Things and its application within the railway industry and therefore has spent years developing the MTinfo 3000 cloud platform.
He also holds a seat on the approval body for railAlert which deals in the field of certification of workforce safety products.
As well as this, he is an advisor to CEN, the European Committee for Standardisation, on the development of standards in railway applications.
Martin Frobisher is responsible for the safety, technical and engineering functions for Network Rail. This includes a varied mix of technical issues ranging from biodiversity to track engineering and future research. The team sets policy and technical standards and provides assurance to confirm that standards are being delivered.
Prior to taking up his current role Martin was route managing director for the London North Western Route, responsible for railway operations and infrastructure maintenance - this included the railways linking London to Birmingham, the North West, and onward to Carlisle. It’s an interesting mix of very different railways, including the Merseyrail underground metro service, urban centres in Manchester and Liverpool, the high speed West Coast line and some very rural lines in Cumbria and North Lancashire.
Martin has worked in the railway industry for approximately 20 years in a variety of safety, operational and maintenance roles. Prior to joining the railway Martin worked in the chemical industry, at ICI Polyurethanes, near Blackpool.
Martin is married with two daughters. His hobbies are archery, running and is also a Sunday school teacher for a group of 6-11 year olds.
Dr Mike Esbester is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Portsmouth, and co-leader of the 'Railway Work, Life & Death' project (www.railwayaccidents.port.ac.uk), which looks at historic accidents to railway staff. The project is particularly keen to work with the current industry to improve workforce safety.
Nicola has spent the last 20 years working in the rail industry providing vision and strategy to lead continuous improvement in reducing the impact from all our operations, in terms of health, environment and safety.
A big advocate of behavioural techniques Nicola is passionate about leading by example and ensuring accountability for each of our actions to reduce harm. Utilising data and collaborating with all those involved, from the front line to boardroom, to establish ownership of impactful solutions to deliver world-leading performance.
In recent times Nicola’s passion for improvements in health and wellbeing have led her to chair the RSSB working group on healthy behaviours, driving an industry programme to assist in improving everybody’s ability to be the best they can be.
Currently, Nicola is the HSQE Director for Network Rail, LNW Route where she is focussed on delivering the core business strategies to drive down workforce and public accidents, improve health and wellbeing and reduce the environmental impact of the LNW Route.
Sabyta is a Solicitor at PM Law specialising in Personal Injury cases – Serious and Catastrophic Injuries, Accidents at work, Public and Occupiers Liability, Road Traffic Cases and Clinical Negligence. I have acted for both Claimants and Defendant Insurers. I was recently appointed as an Assistant Coroner for Derby and Derbyshire.
Simon French is a graduate of the London School of Economics and joined the railway industry in 1982 as a management trainee. He held a number of operational posts in British Rail and worked on a number of major railway projects including the Channel Tunnel and Heathrow Express.
In 1998, he joined the client organisation for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now known as HS1) as the head of operations and safety.
In 2004, Simon joined the newly formed Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB). After six years as a deputy, in 2015 he was appointed to the role of chief inspector.
The RAIB is the independent body tasked with the investigation of railway accidents in the UK.
Heading up the HSQES Directorate for all aspects of the business. Responsible for the assurance and continual improvement of VolkerRail’s occupational health & safety, quality, environmental and sustainability capabilities through the development and implementation of the rolling HSQES strategy and subsequent plans, policies and procedures.
Past chairman of the leading rail contractors forum on occupational health and safety, the Industry Safety Liaison Group (ISLG).
Currently appointed as the Industry’s fatigue champion by the Health & Wellbeing Policy Group, promoting and progressing the Fatigue topic in conjunction with the RSSB which is part of the railway Health and Wellbeing Roadmap
Tony is a career Railwayman with 34 years service. He started his career working at Eastleigh station as a Platform Assistance and over the years has worked in many front line and managerial roles.
As Govia Thameslink Railways Head of Security & Emergency Resilience he oversees transport security compliance working closely with Department for Transport colleagues and the British Transport Police.
In addition to this he looks after Emergency Planning and compliance with Fire regulations. In his spare time he works with the British Transport Police as a Special Constable.