Here are our Company Directors and Senior Managers:
Chairman: Geoff J Lusher – Transport Consultant, FCILT
The Board of Directors is chaired by Geoff Lusher who as a Non-Executive Director maintains those essential controls over all the differing requirements and pressures facing a public transport operating company.
Geoff is a career transport professional who brings that detailed knowledge and experience of bus services at many municipal undertakings such as at Bristol, Oxford and Maidstone and those operations within Travel West Midlands (the National Express Group). As the Senior Manager for the North Division of the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive in the 1980s he oversaw all bus service operation throughout the Black Country.
Geoff has experienced all aspects of service planning and implementation in the bus and coach industry with extensive senior management experience in bus operating companies and Passenger Transport Executive (PTE) posts. He was the first general manager of Midland Metro Ltd, responsible for its commissioning and the initial operational phase. He is a past director of Parry People Movers Ltd.
Geoff is the former Chairman of the Light Rail Transit Association and of the Fixed Track Section of the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.”
Director: Philip R Evans – Transport and Finance Consultant, CPFA, CMILT
Formerly Director of Finance, Centro (West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive).
A qualified accountant who has spent over 40 years in public transport in both the public and private sectors. Actively engaged in the development, financing and implementation of public transport projects in bus, railway, tram and lightweight suburban rail modes.Specific experience in dealing with the needs of the mobility handicapped.
Co-founder and now Managing Director & CEO of Pre Metro Operations Ltd, he has put together the financial structure of this operator, obtained all relevant operating agreements and obtained approval for the Safety Management System. Phil is now leading discussions to expand the company’s operations elsewhere in the UK.
Director: Steve Jasper – Company Secretary of Pre Metro Operations Ltd and a Director of Westlands Associates
An accountant with a post graduate diploma in management, extensive experience in financial and general management and more recently in customer services.
Steve has spent the majority of his career in Public Transport including bus companies and the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive. Roles at Travel West Midlands included Director of Customer Services, responsibility for the business planning function and direct management of bus operations within Wolverhampton and Coventry.
As a qualified Railcar driver Steve, on occasions, gets involved in the day-to-day operations on the Stourbridge Shuttle.
Director: Professor Alan Wenban-Smith, MA, MSc, DipTP, MRTPI
Alan has been proprietor since 1996 of the Urban & Regional Policy consultancy. As Assistant Director of Development and Transportation, Birmingham City Council 1982-96 he was responsible for the Birmingham Integrated Transport Strategy (1989), Birmingham’s Unitary Development Plan (1992), the strategic implementation of traffic calming in the South Birmingham Study (1993); as Chairman of West Midlands Chief Engineers and Planning Officers Group (1994-6), he led the first integrated transport package for the conurbation (forerunner of Local Transport Plans nationally).
As Director of SQW Ltd (economic development consultants) and Planning Adviser to MVA Ltd (transport planning consultants) he led on a wide range of projects, including the strategy for London’s transport that led to the (first) approval of CrossRail (1990). He is currently a member of the Policy Committee of the Royal Town Planning Institute and visiting professor of Planning at Birmingham City University (BCU).
Recent activities have included examining the role of High Speed Rail in regional development, evaluating the Mersey Gateway Bridge and Manchester Airport Enterprise Zone projects, chairing a Peer Review of the London Land-Use/Transport model and appearing as a witness at Select Committee Reviews of transport, housing and regional policy.
Director: Mathew Taylor, BSc
PMOL has appointed a new Director to assist the company achieve its longer-term aims and objectives particularly securing further tramway or railway operational contracts. Mathew Taylor, age 47, has joined the company from his base down in Cornwall to reflect upon his own Black Country heritage and his life-long support for the Wolves!
Mat was raised and educated in Wolverhampton and left school for a life in Quantity Surveying. Simultaneous work and study resulted in a Degree in Quantity Surveying at the University of Wolverhampton and a successful career with firms such as Atkins, Railtrack, Cirrus, Mott MacDonald and Franklin + Andrews. He has therefore accumulated a large amount of knowledge and professionalism from a comprehensive QS grounding with some of the major organisations in the UK. He now runs his own company, Viaduct Ltd.
Mat’s interests include all aspects of transport infrastructure investment and re-instatement including the new designs of pre-formed slab track particularly the PCAT design which is on display at Long Marston. These interests take him all over the Country in a hectic schedule which always terminates back in his West Country bolt-hole. The company looks forward to a younger voice in the Board room and the occasional pasty.
Andrew S Merrell: Head of Operations
Andy, age 49, is the Manager on site, including the railcars, offices and depot at Stourbridge. He is the professional Senior Manager tasked with the job of meeting the company’s contractual obligations to the West Midlands franchisee, West Midlands Trains Ltd. Andy is well placed for this role since not only has he gained numerous engineering and technical qualifications but has supplemented these with good quality management experience over a range of disciplines. This began with an 11-year stint in the Royal Navy where he became a Chief Petty Officer in charge of various engineering and weapon systems.
Andy joined the Company in August 2017 following a 10-year period with previous local train operators (Central Trains & London Midland), where he held various managerial positions in train maintenance and planning functions at depots including Tyseley, New St, Bletchley and Worcester. That experience followed on from 11 years as a test engineer on new train rolling stock being built at the Alstom complex in Birmingham.
He is now responsible for all of the day-to-day operations of the Branch Line rail services at Stourbridge, and for improving the skills and facilities for all staff, as well as assisting the Directors in their search for the next operational opportunity. Andy attends Company Board meetings and exudes that enthusiasm that keeps the older members on their toes. The coffee machine is always kept topped up.
Michael Hickenbottom: Relief Supervisor/Driving Instructor/Assessor
Having first joined PMOL in 2008, Michael now plays an essential part-time role within the company as relief supervisor, driver, customer services officer, driving instructor and assessor. His great strengths are his personal and professional approach to Railcar and route training together with detailed attention to the staff continuous assessment process. This is an essential part of the company’s employee competence management system.
Although his involvement with the company originally commenced with the Stourbridge trial operations in 2005, it was only a small part of his 30-plus year career as a qualified Driving Instructor. Tuition covered car, coach and bus driver training, with the majority being spent with major bus operators in the West Midlands. His skills were applied to our Railcar operations with full time involvement in our training operation in late 2008 prior to the formal commencement of passenger operations for London Midland and continues today.
Past experience and interests cover the fields of electrical engineering, vehicle restoration and public transport supplemented by reflective periods on the river bank as a keen angler.
Phil Tonks: Marketing & Publicity Officer
PMOL has appointed Phil Tonks as its Marketing & Publicity Officer. Phil is passionate about public transport and customer services in the wider transport sector as well as fulfilling an existing role with the company as a Driver and Customer Services Officer on the ‘Stourbridge Shuttle’. Prior to this current role he was, for 10 years, an executive officer with Passenger Focus and Bus Users UK where his responsibilities included dealing with consumer issues and liaison between operators, local authorities and transport users.
Prior to promoting the values of public transport his career had included a spell in the NHS. Past experience as a writer, broadcaster and Director of a local radio station, NHS volunteer and as a ‘Travelwise Coordinator’ have given him considerable knowledge and experience of the local area and the value of public transport. Phil also writes regularly for the public transport trade press, and blogs regularly about all aspects of public transport.
He currently manages the PMOL website, as well as the Twitter and Facebook accounts and will now oversee the publicity and rebranding of the existing ‘Shuttle’ Railcars, the Stourbridge branch line and future company developments. He is also in the process of establishing a “Friends of Stourbridge Stations” community group, and is arranging various activities to celebrate 140 years of the Stourbridge Branch Line (and 10 years of “Stourbridge Shuttle” operation) in 2019. Phil is also friend to every cat in the World, and can often be seen in conversation with George, the Stourbridge Junction station cat.