16 Apr 2014
Engineering Director, Richard Alexander has just celebrated 50 happy years at Stagecoach Bus Company.
Richard’s career is a wonderful story that could be mistaken for a Disney movie plot. Diagnosed with Dyslexia, Richard struggled at school and decided aged 15, to take an apprenticeship role at Southdown Motor Services.
Speaking of his early days in the bus industry, Richard said "Engineering was clearly in the family genes, my Father was a transport manager for an Oil Company and my elder brother was a successful Marine Engineer. I spent the first 5 years learning how to dismantle and re-manufacture every component of vehicles of the day gave me the grounding that’s lasted to the present day.”
Promotion came for Richard in 1985 when he became Fleet Engineer for the West Sussex Division of Southdown. Following the privatisation of the National Bus Company, Southdown Motor Services Ltd was taken over by Stagecoach in 1989. Richard was further promoted to Chief Engineer in 1991 and a new adventure started with expansion as Stagecoach acquired further bus companies across the South Coast where he became responsible for the engineering functions of all Stagecoach bus divisions across Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and East Kent.
It was almost 30 years later that Richard was promoted to his now, very senior role as Engineering Director.
Sir Brian Souter contacted Richard to personally thank him for his continued dedication and to congratulate him on this magnificent achievement.
Richard reflects that the last 50 years have been split equally; the first 25 years were completed with Southdown, with whom he learned his trade with excellent traditions and knowledge from a then main stream bus company and then completing the last 25 years with Stagecoach which Richard said “It has been exciting working for a Group that has challenged the boundaries of public transport to give value for money but is always at the forefront of innovation.
Andrew Dyer, regional Managing Director for Stagecoach commented: “It’s rare that people serve 25, let alone 50 years for a single company. This month we saw two loyal employees celebrate 50-year anniversaries. Jenny Harris, our travel office administrator has also celebrated a 50 year anniversary, in Aldershot – a massive 100 years combined service! We hope they have enjoyed working with us as much as we have enjoyed working with them”.
Richard is currently looking for new, equally enthusiastic apprentices to join the Chichester Team. We can’t promise they will enjoy the same success as Richard but what we can promise is exposure to experts in the field and on the job training.