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Lunch with Leon
34 minutes | 5 days ago
27: Lunch with Leon episode 27 - Paul Seller
Ricardo has a long history of developing diesel drivelines, stemming from its key involvement in the First World War to reduce exhaust emissions (yes, really) that eventually earned founder Harry Ricardo a knighthood. Today, the British company has a global presence across a range of market sectors – including cars, commercial vehicles, rail, defence, motorsport, energy and environment – with a client list that includes transport operators, manufacturers, energy companies, financial institutions and government agencies. As a global strategic engineering and environmental consultancy that specialises in the transport, energy and scarce resources sectors, it’s able to look objectively at the progress to new energy for transport as Paul Seller Ricardo Rail MD explains. Over lunch with Leon Daniels OBE they chat about de-carbonisation not just in Europe, but worldwide and how this can be achieved. There’s ‘life in the old dog yet’ reckons Paul as they talk about the internal combustion engine (ICE) and he explains why it shouldn’t be written off just yet, as different fuel sources become available. They chew over the progress to new energy for transport, such as electrification, hydrogen, ammonia and methane, which Paul describes as ‘extremely exciting’. Also, he reckons that it’s ‘not a forgone conclusion’ that hydrogen’s transport role will solely be using fuel cells. “We have a long way to go to settle on what the transport fuel of the future will be,” he adds as he looks to future of urban transport, what drives it and why it varies around the world. He also talks about the impact of Brexit on emissions and transport standards.
37 minutes | 12 days ago
26: Lunch with Leon episode 26 - Gali Bloch Liran
Challenging the ‘old way’ to get the most out of yourself and your team. Over a long lunch, Leon Daniels OBE chats with Gali Bloch Liran who is an executive coach specialising in start-ups, as well as being a lawyer, marketeer, lecturer and global speaker. She works with CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs to manage the day-to-day challenges and strengthen the mental resilience required to scale such a venture, using her own super-powers: energy, positivity and inner strong-belief. We learn how success is achieved by lots of ‘small wins’, the challenges of taking a small start-up into something bigger and how to use your personal skills to overcome the inevitable problems. The art of communication with staff is chewed over, alongside tips about how to get your messages across, as this this energic, fun and inspiring coach delves into what many people consider a ‘dark art’, yet is surprisingly easy to master. You can contact Gali at www.galiblochliran.com
27 minutes | a month ago
25: Lunch with Leon episode 25 - Christmas special
All the enjoyable bits, plus some garnish… Our regular podcast about all things transport-related has a different twist this week with a Christmas and New Year special. If you’ve not listened before, then give this one a try! Over the past 24 episodes, Leon Daniels has chatted with an amazing range of people and he’s filleted just a small handful of the very best, and funniest, bits. He also reports live from the recent GITEX technology exhibition in Dubai, UAE, which proves that it’s possible to run large events in a totally safe manner. From the ‘the ancient art of exchanging business cards in real life’ to exciting technical developments, it’s a whistle-stop tour at the cutting-edge. And, as the podcast closes, we hear the first-ever performance by The Binswood Players, who’ve dropped into a board meeting, somewhere in Britain, where they ask ‘What Has ITT Hub Ever Done For Us?’
31 minutes | a month ago
24: Lunch with Leon episode 24 - Elizabeth de Jong
Leon Daniels’ lunchtime guest is Elizabeth de Jong from Logistics UK. Their starter sees them mull over working-from-home and its benefits, before they move onto the main course where they chat about the changes in logistics and deliveries this year. They debate why the government should regard freight and logistics as part of the country’s critical infrastructure and how to get more talent into the industry. Elizabeth maps out what to do and why it’s backed by a strong business case. Alternatives to diesel HGVs, how to make a pathway for their phase out and the pressure to speed-up transport decarbonisation is chewed over. During dessert they delve into Brexit and - with only days to go before ‘B-Day’ - discuss how ready logistics is. An economist by background, Elizabeth has a strong track record of leading successful policy teams. She has over 20 years of experience at a senior level in the transport sector which includes consultancy, business analysis, programme management, policy development and policy delivery. She joined Logistics UK in July 2017 from Rail Delivery Group where she was Director of Policy, and prior to that worked at the Department for Transport. At Logistics UK she is responsible for UK, Regional, EU and International Policy, Public Affairs, Research & Information and the Member Advice Centre.
31 minutes | 2 months ago
23: Lunch with Leon episode 23 - Graeme Cooper
Tools in the toolbox – how many do we need?Graeme Cooper is Project Director / Transport Decarbonisation at National Grid and, fresh from his appearance on Top Gear, he chats with Leon Daniels about how, in the last week, all the decarbonisation jigsaw bits are finally coming together.Graeme talks with an easy engaging energy and passion, presenting serious thought leadership in an easy-to-digest form and explains his mantra “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”He unpicks the government’s recent announcements and its 10-point decarbonisation plan. Crucially, he tackles the oft-asked ‘big question’: Do we have enough grid capacity for clean transport?What if the entire country went to electric cars tomorrow – would the lights go out? Graeme sets out the how the government’s £950m to future-proof the grid will be spent and where he sits in the hydrogen v electric debate.He explains why, in heading towards 2050 net zero, “transport is the easiest to fix” and how almost limitless capacity for electric bus garages and is available right now.
34 minutes | 2 months ago
22: Lunch with Leon episode 22 - James Haluch
Stripping off on the roads? The Naked Highway. If you’ve not come across the expression, then the Naked Highway is not what you might think...Chatting over lunch with Leon Daniels OBE is James Haluch Managing Director – Highways and Waste Collections, at Amey and they get to grips with what our roads should look like in the future – and the Naked Highway is part of this.They start by talking about what the Highways Sector Council, launched in 2019, is currently doing. Together, they unpick some of the big issues that are being tackled and how working with the government meant that the highways sector was able to take rapid advantage of COVID-19 to do works that otherwise weren’t possible in normal times.James and Leon chat with a passion about changing safety culture; when you know you’ve ‘cracked it’ (with anecdotes) and how good safety saves money.This neatly takes the conversation around to one of the biggest issues of recent times – the closure of London’s Hammersmith Flyover due to structural defects – and how it enabled “progress to be made in very unusual ways” for the careers and knowledge of young engineers.James chats about some of the pioneering work he’s involved in to encourage young people into engineering and how a scheme projected to ‘graduate’ 15,000 people ended up with 125,000 awards issued.Swapping more anecdotes, they talk about dining in Belmarsh Prison and why the CEO of Thames Water was woken by a phone call at 0600 on a Sunday.
36 minutes | 2 months ago
21: Lunch with Leon episode 21 - Steve Norris
With a long and illustrious career in business and transport, Steve Norris is best-known as Minister for Transport in London (1992-7) “the toughest job I ever did.”No-nonsense and straight-talking, he ran for Mayor of London in 2000 and 2004, but lost on both occasions to Ken Livingstone who, he tells Leon Daniels, was “the best Mayor by a country mile.”There are terrific anecdotes about London Buses, leading into the real reasons we don’t have conductors anymore and the incentives required to offer a good service.Turning to the recent Transport for London (TfL) financial rescue package from the government, he skilfully dissects the politics and personalities involved.We also find out what he really thinks of Boris Johnson (who he says is a ‘sofa’) and what Steve Norris would do if he was Prime Minister…
29 minutes | 2 months ago
20: Lunch with Leon episode 20 - Guillaume Fleuti
As we navigate through uncharted territory, Leon Daniels catches up with Guillaume Fleuti - MD and Head, Infrastructure, Transport and Manufacturing and Europe at Lloyds Bank – to chat about everything from the move to zero emission stimulus, “good for business and good for the UK,” to the key role that banks are bringing to the economy at the moment. They mull over whether the ‘bundling together’ of finance for charging infrastructure, energy and vehicles, will be a model for the future. Guillaume talks through why banks prefer to fund certain areas of business than others, and how engagement with government bodies has changed in the last two years. The conversation moves to government support for big infrastructure projects, such as road and rail, and how that might look in the future. They also swap notes on how transport use might change and different people’s perceptions of a ‘long commute’. And, Leon asks the hot question: ‘What are the consequences of a no-deal Brexit…
31 minutes | 3 months ago
19: Lunch with Leon episode 19 - Emma Hignett
She’s the busiest person on the transport network, giving information to 6.5m people every day; but it’s her voice, rather than her face that is best known. The ‘voice’ of London Buses, Emma Hignett, chats with Leon Daniels over lunch about her work as a voice-over and how the Lancastrian’s voice is upmarket but utterly approachable. She talks about how she changed career from being a ballet dancer and the ‘rigorous’ selection process that Transport for London used in its quest for delivering a consistently high standard of visual and aural passenger information. And, Leon discovers what her ‘real’ voice is and how she deals with hearing her own voice as she travels around London. They chat about everything from accents to the research and science of passenger announcements, to the day she spent talking to public face-to-face and the most memorable personal recordings she made for people. They also chat about what the future holds for young people who are considering the world of work, alongside the art of communications and conclude with a very sound piece of indispensable advice.
30 minutes | 3 months ago
18: Lunch with Leon episode 18 - Greg Harris
Greg Harris is right at front end of the latest developments on the road to net-zero. As Global Electrification Services Leader at HORIBA MIRA, his role includes developing strategy around electrification. Best known as the UK industry’s first vehicle test track - called the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) opened in 1949 on a former airfield in Leicestershire - Greg chats over lunch with Leon Daniels about its development into a private company, now owned by HORIBA, and how today it is much more than test track, with 46 different test facilities on the site. They chat about HORIBA MIRA’s role in engineering consultancy – across the whole of automotive engineering – and the potential for re-engineering commercial vehicles as we move to net-zero. They discuss whether we’ve reached the ‘tipping point’ for electric vehicles to become commercial propositions, before moving onto subsidies, trade tariffs and how the government could replace the £28bn it raises each year from fuel duty. They also chew over what tactics the government could use to boost the take-up of zero-emission vehicles. Thanks to his role, Greg is part of the wider engineering ‘family’ that links up around the world, and the conversation moves on to the hydrogen fuel cell v. battery-electric debate, reminiscent of the Betamax v VHS ‘battle’ of the 1980s. They also chat about job opportunities for young people in engineering as a result of the push to develop technology in the UK, and HORIBA MIRA’s links with education.
38 minutes | 3 months ago
17: Lunch with Leon episode 17 - Matt Ginsberg
Matt Ginsberg, author, teacher and entrepreneur once tried to sell to London intelligent traffic lights to speed up the traffic. At Transport for London, MD Leon Daniels surprised him by declining since that was the opposite of what was wanted. A specialist in AI (artificial intelligence) since 1983, Matt chats with Leon about why we travel too much, but why some things will have to remain face-to-face. Over a long lunch they cover a massive range of topics, from body language on Zoom to protecting personal data, the good things that are happening and why autonomous cars will not happen, but drones will…
30 minutes | 3 months ago
16: Lunch with Leon episode 16 - Lucy Yu
Lucy Yu is the Director of Public Policy at Voi Scooters. With eScooters increasingly popular around the world, Leon Daniels chats about the Swedish company’s trials in the UK, one of 11 European countries it serves. They chew over the apparent lack of regulation and Leon discovers that while illegal on UK roads, a trial with the DfT means that a number of UK cities - but not, so far, London - are seeing the eScooters on the streets. With on-street rental, using an app with an unlock fee and use fee per minute, day and monthly passes are also available. And, we hear how technology - through the use of geofences - will stop people leaving eScooters in inappropriate places, and encourage them to leave them in designated parking zones. Find out why knowing your ‘football foot’ is helpful, and hear as Leon describes his first journey on an eScooter, and the look on his colleagues’ faces during his attempt…
25 minutes | 4 months ago
15: Lunch with Leon episode 15 - SPECIAL - Live at the ITT Hub Open Day in Warwick
This special episode comes from the recent ITT Hub Open Day at Warwick University where 30 partners, current and prospective exhibitors discovered how to plan, design and run a Covid secure exhibition stand. Leon talks to some of the key stakeholders at the event, the ITT Hub team, as well as Charlie Cox from Natural Green CS, the event partner.
30 minutes | 4 months ago
14: Lunch with Leon episode 14 - Bhavish Aggarwal
After a bad taxi experience in 2011, Bhavish Aggarwal resolved to do something better. The result was to co-found Ola Cabs in India. In 2015, along with co-founder Ankit Bhati, they were the youngest to be included in that year's list of richest Indians. Since then, Ola Cabs has expanded to Australia, New Zealand and now London. Last year the company was valued at £6.5bn and at 35-years-old Bhavish is one of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. In conversation over Lunch with Leon Daniels he opines that the pandemic will not alter travel in the long term, although the modes will change: “The human need to travel is very deep in us; it’s not going away,” he says. “The pandemic will force an acceleration in innovation in mobility,” says Bhavish. “We cannot envisage what it will be like in 10 or 20 years’ time,” before going on to discuss some of the potential. “There is so much stuff that’s happened in the last 10 years, that hadn’t happened in the previous 50 years. I’m very excited and enthused about the next 10 years.” He also talks about what sets Ola Cabs apart from its competitors and how one platform (the app) does everything, from buses to taxis, to home delivery. The next development is Ola Cabs’ own design of electric two-wheelers that are now being launched across the world, and he expands on how software and hardware are being brought together into one solution There are also messages for young people who are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, and he tells us why “now is the best time to start a business.”
34 minutes | 4 months ago
13: Lunch with Leon episode 13 - Jane Reakes Davies
Running buses is a people business, so the appointment of HR specialist Jane Reakes Davies as MD First Cymru, shouldn’t come as a surprise. Yet it’s still often the case that the traditional career route to becoming a bus MD, tends to be through engineering or operations. Over lunch with Leon Daniels, she chats about the different perspectives of the role of a bus MD, and what it really means, along with her career transition into the MD role First Cymru’s HQ is in the university city of Swansea and the 2009 introduction of the ‘ftr’ project saw a great deal of (largely since removed) bus priority. Jane talks about relationships with local authorities and the business’ ‘social conscience' - providing a service to customers with a commercial head, as the conversation turns to what role buses really play - retail, utility or ‘other’. With a varied network - serving a city and deeply rural areas with two distinct customer groups - how to serve them, meet their aspirations and expectations, are chewed over. Jane has enlightening views on the expectations of its teenage customers of what they want from an operator - and the answer isn’t what you might expect - and she expands of why now, is a really exciting time to be in the industry. She also reveals who her ‘business hero’ is. At first blush it’s an unlikely choice, not only due to the industry they are in, but also as a person widely perceived as a ‘Marmite’ character. This leads to a fascinating conclusion to lunch, with a revealing opinion about ways of engaging people and bringing in leadership skills from a very different sector.
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