Humble beginnings

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All companies have to start somewhere. For City Surveys – one of Network Rail’s trusted principal contractors, a multi-million pound turnover business – it began with a second-hand printer and a small loan to buy a single survey instrument.

From just one employee in 2003, the company now employs 60 people out of three offices around the country. Services offered to the rail sector include track surveys and monitoring, ground investigations, ecology surveys and utility mapping.

This year, City Surveys is sponsoring the Rail Person of the Year category at the RailStaff Awards.

‘The team has worked incredibly hard to achieve some pretty significant milestones over recent years, most notably our PCL and a framework agreement with Network Rail,’ said managing director Richard Furlong.

‘Through dedication and innovation, we intend to consolidate this relationship and continue to exceed our clients’ expectations on the railway infrastructure.’

Remarkable change

In the 13 years since Richard acquired that first instrument and began work, the industry has moved on significantly.

‘The most remarkable change has been the technology,’ says Richard. ‘Instruments and software now allow large-scale mapping to be completed in a number of ways only dreamt of before.

‘From track-mounted scanning instruments to drones, the availability of innovative technology is changing the way we think about mapping the infrastructure as we strive to remove the person from harm’s way by reducing track time.’

Rail Person of the Year is a deliberately open category; it courts nominations for achievements that are hard to define or too numerous to narrow down. Last year, the award was presented to Bridgeway’s John Matheson. His nomination described a young man who, having joined the company as a labourer in 2010, had dedicated himself to gaining new qualifications and moving through the ranks.

Though, no doubt, Bridgeway had nurtured his enthusiasm to study and improve, the award was recognition for the time he had dedicated and the sacrifices he would in turn have made.

Personal contributions

‘Whilst I fully appreciate that teams and organisations bid for, win and successfully manage projects, too often the individuals within those organisations – and their personal contributions and achievements – are overlooked,’ said Richard, asked about the focus the Awards gives to individual achievement.

‘Too often people take for granted that teams are made up of individuals rather than being a single entity. These individuals have their own stories and motivations, something that we as employers and managers should strive to recognise.

‘The rail sector as a whole should embrace and encourage these factors, publicly recognising achievement and allowing people to fulfil their ambitions. I believe that, by doing this, we will see improved job satisfaction and an improved quality of life for employees as well as significantly higher levels of innovation and productivity.’

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