The Corporation Board (“the Board”) currently comprises a maximum of 15 members of whom one is the Chief Executive and two Staff and Student Members.
The remaining “independent” Board members come from a wide variety of backgrounds to ensure the College can draw on experience from the business community, including the rail sector, professions and the wider public sector from the communities it serves in Birmingham, Doncaster, Widnes and nationally.
The Board sets the College’s strategic vision and direction and is responsible for ensuring the College delivers on it. This includes determining the educational character and mission of the College and establishing and maintaining the framework of policies within which the College operates. It also has responsibility for the effective and efficient use of resources, including setting the budget and safeguarding the College’s assets, and for approving the quality of the services provided to learners. The Board plays a vital role in supporting and challenging the College’s Executive Team and overseeing the overall health of the organisation to ensure it will be competitive, outcomes driven and place the needs of its students and employers at the heart of everything it does.
The role of Board member is a voluntary one and is comparable with that of a non-executive director on the board of a public company. However instead of being accountable to shareholders the Board is accountable to its students and the employers who send apprentices to it as well as to the public and is responsible for ensuring the funds it receives are used appropriately. In so doing the College and the Board must have regard to government education policies and regulations.
As CEO of HS2 Ltd from its inception in January 2009 to September 2014, and thereafter as MD Development/Phase 2 until her retirement in August 2017, Alison led the £50 billion HS2 project leading all aspects of the route proposals and strategy for the high speed network, meeting extremely challenging deadlines and achieving very high quality. She successfully prepared and delivered the largest hybrid bill ever, with record levels of public engagement, and secured support, approvals and funding from Government, to reach the point of starting construction. Alison built a high performing organisation from nothing to over 600 people, and made a full contribution as an Executive and Board member to the direction and management of the company whilst being a successful ambassador for the project through the full range of channels and audiences.
Since April 2016, and currently, Alison is a Non-Executive Director at OFWAT (Office of Water Regulation), where she is engaged, in particular, in shaping the strategy for the next price review, and as Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee providing assurance to the Board on the effective operation of the OFWAT organisation.
Previously Alison has held roles with the Department for Transport, Roads and National Networks, (2007-09) where she delivered a major change programme for the sponsorship and control of Highways Agency major projects and led the strategy and implementation plans for a £6 billion programme for advanced management of motorways; the Department for Transport, Local and Regional Transport, (2004-07) including overhauling the approval process for local authority major projects to ensure cost control and effective project management and leading on the provision of advice to Ministers on approvals for highly sensitive tram schemes; the Department for Transport, Rail, (1999-2004) where Alison secured the key deals for completing HS1 (Channel Tunnel Rail Link), and all aspects of the new financial and regulatory regime for Network Rail after Railtrack went into administration; the Government Office for London (1996-99) where she led the development of transport strategy with London boroughs and stakeholders, including congestion charging proposals and provisions in the GLA Act which provided the basis for the current scheme in London, and new Thames crossings and the Department for Transport, Aviation, (1992-96) where Alison led the policy for additional runway capacity in the south east and was the lead policy witness for the Heathrow Terminal 5 public inquiry.
Alison chairs the Budget Task & Finish Group.
Please can all correspondence for Alison be sent to 2 Lister Street, Birmingham, B7 4AG
Alex Stephenson. B Eng, CBE - Vice Chair
Alex was appointed to the board in November 2016. He believes that a long career in transport, including 10 years in the rail industry, combined with his extensive non-executive experience on the boards of an FE College and University will help to deliver the high-quality Apprentice training essential to construct and operate our future railways. He sees NCATI and HS2 as a unique opportunity to equip new and existing rail students with the knowhow and skills demanded by the technology and quality systems of UK’s high speed and future railways.
Alex’s professional career covered 30 years in the motor industry with Perkins Engines, Land Rover and BMW UK, primarily in engineering and manufacturing, followed by 10 years as Engineering and Safety director at Alstom Transport UK.
Outside his professional career, he had held several senior non-executive roles. In 1999 he was appointed Chair of Advantage West Midlands (The RDA); from 2008 to 2014 he was Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council at Birmingham City University and he is now Chair at The Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry.
Alex chairs the Search, Governance & Remuneration Committee and is a member of the Audit Committee and a member of the Budget Task & Finish Group and the Quality Committee.
Clair Mowbray - Chief Executive & Principal
Clair was appointed as Chief Executive & Principal, National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure, in September 2016. Her involvement with the National College started in 2014 when she joined HS2 Ltd to lead on its development.
Since then she has been instrumental in taking the project from concept through to its current stage of development working across stakeholders to achieve buy-in and support for the project.
Clair’s career has been varied working in both the public and private sector. Her roles have included being a Management Consultant at PwC, Project Director at Tribal Education and running her own business.
The common thread throughout has been working with organisations dedicated to supporting people through skills development. Her wide experience is an excellent platform for successfully implementing the National College, given its clear mandate to closely link skills development with the economy.
Clair is passionate about promoting the opportunities that the high speed rail sector affords to a wide range of learners through an innovative teaching model.
Clair is a member of the Search, Governance, & Remuneration Committee and the Industry Advisory Board.
Damian Allen - Independent Board Member
From 1 July 2019, I was appointed the Council’s Chief Executive. Prior to this, I held the Council’s statutory Chief Officer role for Children (DCS) and Adults (DASS). I am a qualified teacher and have taught in middle and secondary schools, Further Education and Higher Education. I was a senior manager in Education for six years and a Governor in every phase of Education before moving into Local Authorities, initially in school improvement, where I was Ofsted trained and then with wider children’s services. From 2005, I have been a Director in local government and the health service, where I had responsibility for children and adult services, commissioning, libraries and community services, mental health services, and community health services. I have also been the National Director for a leading Children’s charity during this period.
In addition, I have advised the UK and other governments on education and children’s services matters, as well as a member of a number of Commissions of Inquiry, Advisory Boards and Ministerial Advisory Groups.
Naomi Connell - Independent Board Member
Naomi is the Chief Finance Officer of VolkerWessels UK, a civil engineering group with a strong presence in the rail industry and a local employer in both Birmingham and Doncaster.
Naomi qualified as a Chartered Accountant in the early 1990s with Deloitte in the UK and then in both France and the UK, she led international engagements for Ernst & Young Lyon in audit, business risk management and transaction support.
After ten years in practice, she joined industry as a senior finance manager and set up and led the provision of back office support to the regional offices of an energy company across Europe and Asia as well as overseeing the outsourced internal audit function. In 2003 she was appointed as Finance Director of London Underground where she led major transformation and change programmes across Transport for London including systems implementations and the integration of Metronet.
She joined VolkerWessels UK in 2010 with a mandate to enable the development of VolkerWessels UK as a significant player in the UK infrastructure market, bringing together a number of subsidiaries to work together as a united group.
Naomi is Chair of the Audit Committee and also a member of the Search, Governance & Remuneration Committee.
Jo Matthews - Independent Board Member
An experienced leader, executive coach, trainer, sustainable development specialist and facilitator of organisational change, with 34 years working in the Further and Higher Education sector. Previously a senior post holder in a General College of Further Education, she set up her own business 11 years ago to work with strategic leadership teams, using coaching and appreciative inquiry as a foundation. She has a strategic and systemic understanding of all aspects of education, refreshed recently as a chair of a college corporation supporting a college turnaround.
Coach executives, CEO’s and Board members, both as one to one, and in small teams. The clients tend to focus around whole organisational change and the leadership requirements for success. Facilitates governor residentials and executive away days, particularly around Corporate Responsibility and using Appreciative Inquiry in leadership.
Serves on several boards, both for educational establishments and charities. Currently a Leadership and Governance associate with the Education and Training Foundation.
Exercised at the moment by unconscious bias and how it impacts on board effectiveness and increasing diversity in the sector.
Jo chairs the Quality Committee and is a Member of the Search, Governance and Remuneration Committee.
Chris Pike - Co-opted Member of the Quality Committee and a member of the Industry Advisory Board
Chris is a partner and Rail Sector Director at global Design and Consulting firm Arcadis. He is part of the Rail Sector Leadership Team as well as the broader Infrastructure Leadership Team with interests broadly aligned with the focus of the college. He has 20 years of experience with the last 11 years working in the rail industry with involvement in tendering or delivering projects such as North London Lines (for London 2012), Crossrail Whitechapel Station and Victoria Dock Portal, London Bridge Station Redevelopment, Thameslink Rolling Stock Depots, HS2 Main Works Civils Contracts, Digital Railway Programme and Railway Systems Alliance Scotland. As Account Director for Network Rail he is responsible for managing Arcadis’ portfolio of projects across the UK as well as relationships with senior Leaders and industry partners.
He has a first-class Honours degree in Applied Geology from the University of Hertfordshire and a master’s degree in Engineering Geology from Imperial College London. Chris is a Fellow of the Geological Society and a member of both the Institute of Civil Engineers and the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation.
Chris started his career on site working for Soil Mechanics managing ground investigations across a wide variety of sites including investigations for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (High Speed 1), the A2/M2 crossing of the River Medway in Kent and the remediation and redevelopment of the former Kent Collieries. He also worked for Mouchel Consulting and URS (now Aecom) with involvement in projects such as Faslane Submarine Facility; Burj Khalifa and Festival City in Dubai and industrial and Oil & Gas facilities across Eastern Europe, Kazakhstan and Russia.
As one of the founding members of the Industry Advisory Board, Chris took over as Chair in June 2018. This reflects his passion to ensure that we, as an industry, provide a broad range of routes for young people or those pursuing new or alternative careers to join the rail industry, improving diversity and bringing new skills to support new technology and digital transformation. The Industry Advisory Board and the broader Industry Advisory Group is made up of senior figures from across industry including client organisations such as HS2, Network Rail, Transport for London, Transport for the North and Highways England as well as supply chain. Its purpose is to provide a direct link between the college and industry to ensure that the college curriculum meets the needs of industry as employers and to promote and enable sponsorship of students through the college via the apprenticeship route.
Chris is married with three young children. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and being outdoors: hiking, cycling and gardening. He is also a full-time cub leader and sits on the committee of 2nd Farnham Hale Scouts.
Laura Shoaf - Independent Board Member
Laura is the Managing Director of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) – part of the West Midlands Combined Authority. Laura has more than 20 years international experience in delivering integrated economic and spatial regeneration.
In her native USA, Laura held positions in the New York City Department of City Planning and the Institute of Public Administration, before overseeing several high-level projects both in the UK and America in her role as Principal Consultant for GVA Grimley.
Laura is a member of the Audit Commitee.
Neil Hayward - Independent Board Member
Neil has a proven track record as a Board Level Executive and human resources (HR) professional across multiple sectors, both public and private, as well as internationally.
Before joining High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd, Neil was working as an independent management consultant. His most recent corporate role was at Post Office Ltd where, as Group People Director, he was part of the team that restored this business to profit, after several years of significant losses.
Neil had previously held senior level HR positions at BT plc, the Ministry of Justice, Standard Chartered Bank, and Serco Group plc amongst others.
Neil is a member of the Quality Committee.
Reza Zolfaghari - Staff Board Member (Birmingham Campus)
Reza is the senior curriculum lead for railway systems engineering and integration. He is in charge of design, plan and delivery of various bespoke courses and modules for full-time/part-time students and apprentices. The main purpose of the courses he designs is to train future railway systems engineers who will be able to understand the complexity and functionality of different railway subsystems and be capable to integrate those subsystems and create a safe, punctual and reliable high speed rail systems and manage interfaces between high speed and conventional networks.
Richard Cooper - Co-opted Member of the Budget Task & Finish Group
Richard Cooper is Finance Director and Company Secretary with overall responsibility for all financial, legal and HR matters for Rhomberg Sersa UK Ltd, the UK’s leading slab track specialist. Richard is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and a Chartered Global Management Accountant.
Prior to joining Rhomberg Sersa UK Ltd in 2009, Richard was Group Management Accountant and Corporate Planning Manager for payment industry experts VocaLink Ltd (formerly Link Interchange Network Ltd), and had also worked as an accountant for automation specialists Treves UK Ltd where he began his accountancy training.
He also holds a LL.B degree in law from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Richard is a member of the Budget Task & Finish Group and a Director of the College’s subsidiary company, NCHSR Ltd.
Chris Harrison - Co-opted Member of the Audit Committee
Chris Harrison is Deputy Group Finance Director of Inland Homes PLC who acts as co-opted member of the Audit Committee, a Board committee of the National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure.
Recognised as one of the top finance professionals working within a finance function in UK industry, Chris is an entrepreneurial-thinking CFO who helps blue-chip listed organisations win and achieve optimal business performance, delivering sustained excellence and compounding growth, through winning strategy.
Chris has a clear insight into what the success drivers are for both financial and non-financial aspects of a business from his experiences gained working in two of the Big Four professional services firms, followed by UK PLC and French listed businesses and having spent eight years working with businesses involved in the Rail sector.
Adam Mahmood - Co-opted Member of the Search, Governance & Remuneration Committee
Adam is a Partner for McLean Advisory, a leading consultancy with executive
search, human capital advisory and economic research capabilities.
Adam personally leads the firm’s Cities Practice, a new search unit with a focus on living & urban development, mobility and disruptive smart technology markets.
Adam is a highly experienced adviser to boards, with a strong track record of facilitating Chair, Non-Executive Director and Group Executive Committee appointments for global enterprise, government and high growth SMEs. Previously, Adam was responsible for all UK work streams across the Private Sector for the executive search arm of a global FTSE talent services
Adam has strong interests in UK regeneration, infrastructure and new
technology growth. He is also passionate about talent, learning and skills.
Sir Terry Morgan - Founding Patron
Sir Terry Morgan was the inaugural Chair of the College Board to July 2017 and a former Chair of HS2 Limited and Crossrail.
Prior to this, Terry was Chief Executive of Tube Lines, a PPP company that was contracted to maintain and upgrade the infrastructure of the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines. Terry’s employment record also includes Group Managing Director, Operations, BAE Systems, Group HR Director, BAE Systems, Managing Director (Royal Ordnance), Managing Director (Land Rover), Rover Group and Operations Director, Rover Group.
In addition, Terry led a skills review for the transport sector in support of the Government’s commitment to 30,000 apprentices by 2020.