Ricardo retools for UK health service, then boss puts the kids to bed

A multi-national, multi-discipline high-tech firm with significant interests in rail, has switched production facilities to make protective equipment for health professionals, so they can look after seriously ill patients while remaining safe as they go about their duties. Also, as it is almost bedtime, the managing director is making sure the kids get their lockdown heads down too, with a good read at bedtime.

The rail industry in the UK, and particularly freight operations, has been rightly applauded for their part in keeping vital supplies moving. Maintenance crews have been working all over the network, ensuring that the rails are in top condition to carry the trains that carry all supplies to all parts of the country. That, however, is not all the industry is doing to help.

Neighbourly acts of kindness

While key staff and front line railway workers have been participating in innumerable neighbourly acts of kindness, charitable fund raising, and extra duties, companies are also acting at corporate level too.

Doing his bit to keep us together while we are apart. Ricardo Rail managing director Paul Seller is moonlighting as a children’s storyteller. His series of online bedtime railway readings are proving a hit with a whole new audience (image Paul Seller)

The UK division of high-tech engineering developers Ricardo has come up with a rapidly designed clinical face shield. It is a piece of badly needed personal protection equipment, vital for clinical and care staff working to save the lives of patient and clients at risk from coronavirus infection.

Tooled up to donate

Ricardo used its manufacturing supply chain expertise to engage with an injection moulding partner, to create a tool capable of high-volume manufacture. The team rapidly refined the original prototype face shield design, and improved it for enhanced comfort over extended periods of wear. They invited local National Health Service doctors to test the new face shield design for comfort and wearability. It got the thumbs up and the visors down.

Tooling and the first batch of units is already underway and Ricardo is in the process of making its first donation.

New colleagues with tails

That is not all though. Where possible, staff are social distancing and working from home, with all that entails. There’s even a staff competition inviting photos of all the ‘new colleagues’, many of whom are four legged and follow their own interpretation of office protocol. The management team plan to donate 1,000GBP (1,150 euro) to a coronavirus related charity in recognition of the the best photo.

Coping with lockdown and keeping business running is a stressful combination, but light-hearted relief, that gives a sense of togetherness is something health experts have already been advocating. Pictures of pets are welcomed, even if it is an added complication if children are around the house cum workplace too.

Bedtime stories

Management do not have an answer to pet care in the new home-based workplace, but one senior executive is tackling that other pressing domestic issue.

Ricardo Rail managing director Paul Seller is in danger of becoming an internet star, with his way of helping out with the combination of home working, childcare, and observing social distancing. His bedtime stories from locations around his home, have been putting youngsters to sleep all over the country – in the best possible way of course. He has been reading a selection of well-loved railway stories from all the leading authors.

Not giving up the day job just yet. Despite his conspicuous popularity, Paul Seller is still in charge at Ricardo Rail.

Paul may be the first to admit he is not quite Tom Hardy on Jackanory, but his extensive library is proving almost as popular as his professional acting counterpart’s performances on the long-running TV storytelling show. Seller might rightly claim it is just the latest innovation from his company, but he would not overlook the life-saving efforts of his colleagues, who really have innovated in this time of crisis.

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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