Local bus operator Stagecoach North East has welcomed new operations manager LAURA SMITH to the team at its Sunderland bus depot.
Leeds-born Laura, 28, was previously operations manager for Stagecoach in Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, which involved running both depots simultaneously and managing more than180 employees.
As operations manager, Laura is responsible for the depot, which operates 89 buses with a team of 203 drivers around the Wearside area, as well as building relationships with the local community and businesses. Her role involves the smooth running of the bus services across Sunderland on a daily basis and proactively leading the team to improve the quality of the services in the area.
She joined the transport company in 2009 as part of the graduate training programme, beginning her career at the Oxford depot, followed by a promotion to assistant operations manager in 2010 in Kilmarnock in Scotland and a short stint as acting operations manager for the Isle of Arran in 2011.
After gaining extensive experience at Stagecoach West, Laura decided to join the North East depot to develop her skills and expertise in the hope that one day she can achieve her ambition to become a director, and is looking forward to the challenge.
She said: “I am delighted to become part of the Sunderland team and have been made to feel very welcome. Following the successful launch of the gas buses earlier this year, the depot at Sunderland has exciting times ahead.
“The North East is one of the most forward-thinking areas, investing in new technology and improvements to the industry, along with its striving ambition to be environmentally friendly, and I am keen to develop my role and build on my experience to help achieve this ambition for the region.
“I have enjoyed working for Stagecoach since I started due to the varied nature of the job, as no two days are the same. With such great levels of teamwork, working at Stagecoach has been like working with family.
“I am looking forward to this new chapter in my career and being involved in the development of new systems such as automatic vehicle location later this year to benefit the service operations, helping others develop their skills and progress through the company by drawing on my own experiences and learning.”
Matthew Cranwell, operations director, Stagecoach North East, added: “It’s a pleasure to welcome Laura to the team. She brings with her a wealth of experience as well as an energy and enthusiasm that will take the depot from strength to strength.”