What Am I?

I have a real problem answering questions such as what do you do, or what are you?

I have a degree in Environmental Sciences. From UEA. I always considered myself to be a scientist by nature, interest, and inheritance.

I joined British Rail in 1981 as a Management Trainee and continued to work for BR until 1994. Much of my work is still concerned with the railway. I am happy to consider myself to be a railwayman – even if that is a sexist term. Maybe a railway manager.

I was a marketing trainee. BR gave me a lot of training in marketing, including external courses. I got the Diploma of the Institute of Marketing by doing evening classes. I spent all of my years with BR in marketing / business development. I was a salesman for three years, and received masses of sales training. I was freight marketing advisor to the State Railway of Thailand for two years. I still do a lot of marketing, and with my boss win nearly all of my own work. I think I can say I’m a marketeer.

I spent all of my railway career in rail freight. We were always taught to consider ourselves to be logisticians – freight people first and foremost.  I joined the Institute of Logistics in about 1985 and have been a member ever since. Much of my work now is concerned with logistics in its widest since, from waste collection, through construction logistics and retail supply chains to national freight policy. I am certainly a logistician.

Since I became a consultant I have worked closely with economists, demand forecasters, transport modellers, and transport planners on a variety of projects that involve moving people rather than goods. Nearly always these are rail or tram projects, and my role is to understand the way the business works – how money flows through the railway, what makes things viable or not. This involves understanding transport policy and planning policy as well as transport economics and railway operations. Now I don’t really know what that makes me. Probably a transport economist or a transport planner.

And, of course, for 17 years I have been a consultant. An advisor. This is really two jobs: finding and winning work; and providing advice that clients are happy to pay for. Three if you count managing a team and making money. So I am certainly a consultant.

When people ask, I normally say I’m a transport consultant. That generally shuts them up and they move politely away . . . .

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2 Responses to What Am I?

  1. John Hawthorne says:

    Actually, Ian, you’re a thinker – and a writer! (Meanwhile I seem to be doing a reasonable job of pretending to be a transport planner – yet my first degree was in Computer Studies!)

  2. logistical says:

    I think freight people make good transport planners. To start with we have a healthy lack of transport modelling experience!

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