Few rail professionals have had as illustrious a career as Darren James, Chief Executive of Keltbray. In the first ever #MyRIAStory blog post, we spoke to him about his career journey and his work with RIA.
Darren James began his career on a student placement with Costain where he worked on the A55 Conwy Crossing. After graduating from Surrey with a degree in civil engineering, he rejoined Costain’s graduate programme in 1990 and spent the next 20 years working on highway projects. He worked his way up the organisation, becoming Managing Director for infrastructure in 2007, with rail in his portfolio.
Around a year before, in 2006, Costain had joined RIA as a member, and Darren said he felt it was clear early on how much value there was in being part of a trade body: “one highlight [of being a member] is helping to understand the key customers and having access to relevant figures in each body, which helps prepare offerings to clients [allowing them] to be successful.”
Supporting the industry
Darren quickly joined the RIA Board, where he was a key part of setting the strategic direction of the trade body. In his role as Board Member, RIA’s work in acting as a bridge between suppliers and clients continued, or as Darren terms it in our interview - helping businesses “really get into the fabric of major customers”. He is really positive about the role a strong voice in the industry can play - “if RIA asks, they’ll normally get an audience with senior figures in the railway industry”, he adds.
It is clear whilst we are speaking how passionate Darren is about the rail supply sector and the work it does. Darren has worked not only on RIA’s Board but has been the Industry Sustainability Champion for the Rail Sector Deal, an agreement between Government and industry to deliver the most value from rail investment.