Lucy Prior to chair Railway Industry Association SME Group

Lucy Prior, a frequent contributor to RailFreight.com and RailFreight Live, has been appointed Chair of the Railway Industry Association’s (RIA) SME Group (small and medium-sized businesses). In her substantive role, Prior is the business engagement director at 3Squared, the Sheffield-based railway technology specialist. The announcement was made on 21 September.

The role will see Prior lead one of the industry’s main forums for SMEs, representing them on behalf of RIA, both within the membership and to the wider industry. Lucy will sit on the RIA Board, ensuring the views of SMEs across the rail industry are fed into RIA’s work. She takes on the role, having previously been vice-chair of the Group and following the former chair John Chappell, a senior consultant with CPC Project Services in the UK infrastructure and property sectors, who include Network Rail among their clients.

Signature enthusiasm

Prior takes on the role in the week that the RIA published their extensive report into the economic value of the rail sector and its contribution to the national recovery and economic development. Much of that contribution comes from the army of businesses, lesser-known to the public, who innovate and modernise the sector. “I am really looking forward to stepping up to the plate as Chair of the SME Group”, said Prior. “It has been brilliant working alongside John, from whom I have learned so much, and he really does leave the group in a strong position. I absolutely intend to continue the work he and I have started.”

Skilled contractors from an army of specialist companies play a huge role in the future of the UK rail industry.

The policy director and SME Lead at the RIA, Kate Jennings, said the association was delighted to have Lucy onboard as chair. “Lucy has long been an advocate for small businesses across the rail sector, promoting their work in innovation, skills and diversity and exports, to name just a few areas. We know she’ll bring her signature enthusiasm and passion to the role.”

Fond farewell and future TV appearances

Jennings added her thanks to outgoing chair John Chappell, saying he had done a “brilliant” job leading the Group. “John has been a fantastic representative for SMEs, working hard to raise their profile across the industry, to Government, stakeholders and larger businesses. He leaves the Group well-placed to navigate the future opportunities and challenges of the rail sector over the coming years.”

Prior was most recently an expert panellist on RailFreight Live UK Special, contributing to the debate on the future structure of the railway industry in the light of government-backed reform plans. Watch the video below:

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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