Hi Tom! Thank you for giving us some of your time, I know how extremely busy you are! To start, can you tell us a bit about your current role and how you came to work here at Zeelo?
I’ve actually been in the public transport industry for five or six years now. I worked with National Express prior to joining Zeelo as an operations manager overseeing around 800 drivers and 300 vehicles. I have been aware of Zeelo’s presence within the industry for quite some time now, however, the company is quite different now from how it was back when it started. I was excited about joining because of this exciting growth and the value it adds to the corporate business and education sectors and how it is really allowing the bus and coach industry to stay relevant and ahead of the curve.
What does a typical day in the life of an Operations Manager look like?
Our team of operations managers oversee the various verticals within the business; Commute, Education and Movement. They act as the first point of contact for operators whenever things like operations issues and quality of service delivery; essentially ensuring that our client gets the very best service possible. My role is to look after this team across all of the mentioned verticals for the north, take on any high level operational issues and even think about how we can integrate our service to new operators to provide value to them and our business.
Why is it important for Zeelo to be forging relationships with small family owned businesses?
We often see smaller family owned businesses that have gone back through several generations; passed down through the family. Sometimes the owner is the driver and with these operators we see a great pride and dedication to the service they offer. That’s not to say that the larger operators we work with don’t have this mindset too but there is an ease and flexibility in working with smaller operators; they are only too happy to help out when they can and it’s great to see them growing and expanding as a result of the work happening here at Zeelo in terms of contracts and routes that we can offer.
One of the more important messages we want to impart is that change and evolution aren’t scary or a threat; we really want to impart new tools and technology that can help small or traditional family-owned businesses grow in the long run.
How would you describe your interactions with the bus or coach operators we work with?
Although we have an operator partnership team, part of my role is about building strong relationships with operators; I think it’s one of the better parts of the job! We work with such a wide range of operators; whether they are a one-man band or a huge pre-established name with large fleets of vehicles so we really do get to meet lots of very different types of people with very different outlooks and perspectives. But honestly, it’s simply about treating people as human beings. Some might be more traditional and others may already have an awareness of the technology used to evolve the transport industry but that doesn’t make their knowledge or insight any less valuable; if anything it only helps us grow as a business.
What gets you most excited about the future of Zeelo and what has been your proudest accomplishment in the business so far?
The sustainability aspect of the business is really exciting; in fact, some of my proudest achievements would be the work we have done to get full electric bus services for a growing number of clients, particularly given the huge challenge in terms of financial obligations and infrastructure barriers for operators to take this on. Zeelo is taking on some of this risk too but through partnerships with leading experts, we are hoping to provide more electric vehicles to smaller family-run businesses who might never have considered that as an option; and I think that’s exciting that we can aid businesses in reducing their carbon footprint.
A highlight for me would be seeing our first fully wrapped, Zeelo branded buses and hearing the amazing feedback from people I’ve worked with in the past. Things like this will be really good for getting the Zeelo brand out there.
I would say that Zeelo is an essential partner in the industry to enhance any operator’s service offering and unlock a new client base that wasn’t previously accessible due to technology or infrastructure barriers.
And finally! Football fan? What do you enjoy on your pizza? And you’re go-to karaoke song?
Yes! Birmingham City! I’m from Birmingham and still live there now. Pizza? Keep it simple: Pepperoni! Actually, the last karaoke song I did was Adele, Someone Like You!
Is that so? There seems to be a recurring theme here with Zeeloites and their karaoke favourites – I wonder whether the trend will continue. Thank you Tom for sharing a little bit about yourself and your role and another big thank you for all you do here at Zeelo!
We will continue sharing some of our inspiring team members with you this year. Keep your eyes open for our next employee spotlight next month! Make sure you are following us here and on LinkedIn and Twitter as we continue to celebrate our team.