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Earlier this year we were excited to announce a series of new senior hires to lead the charge on improving our performance and the overall service we deliver for our customers.  In the first of our meet the team series we introduce Tricia Williams, our new Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Tricia is a proud northerner, having been born in Lydiate, Liverpool where she still lives with her husband and 3 sons. This means she understands the region and the people who live here, and understands first-hand how important a reliable, high-quality rail service is for local communities. As a member of the North West Business Leadership Team and the Northern Powerhouse Partnership Board Tricia will be known to many across the North already as being at the heart of calls to ‘level up’ the region. At Northern she will be on the frontline of investing in our economy and the communities we serve.

As COO Tricia is responsible for the day to day running of our trains, with oversight of our regional operations, engineering, control, performance and our transformation plans. She is one of a small number of women to hold such a role, and we’re proud to continue to be at the forefront of increasing diversity in our industry.

Tricia has a wealth of experience leading large, complex transport organisations like Manchester Airport Group (MAG) and is excited to bring this experience and a drive to make Northern better at what we do to her new role.  An executive operational leader with a passion for customers and people, rail may be a new venture but one that has a synergy spanning her career working in large scale purposeful infrastructure organisations, and in heavily regulated industries.

For 20 years, Tricia worked at United Utilities where she was responsible for controlling activity across water, wastewater and electricity networks, including call centres, remote planning and scheduling. To do this she had to balance proactively managing a network but with being agile and responsive to any arising issues – sound familiar?

More recently she worked for Manchester Airport Group (MAG) where she focussed on, amongst other things, transforming the Manchester Airport into one of the region’s leading international transport hubs, managing day-to-day performance while also overseeing growth and change, all the while working to keep local residents positively engaged.

Tricia says: “I’m delighted to have joined Northern at such a pivotal time.  One of the things that attracted me to the role was the ability to help drive change that really places customers, and our people, at the heart of our business and decision making processes.  While we’re in challenging times, Northern has a critical role in helping build back better and I’m determined that we can focus on customer service and improve performance while modernising.  I’ve been impressed by the team’s commitment to improving the diversity of the organisation, making it increasingly reflective of the communities we serve.  I also want us to modernise support processes so we can better support our people, such as making better use of data to drive decision making. 

“One of the constants in my career has been my passion for helping people realise their potential, and do the best job they can, and this will be no different at Northern. By supporting each other to be the best we can be, and working closely with our stakeholders, I believe we can continue to improve the service we offer to our customers.”

“Northern’s stakeholder partnerships and collaboration will be vital to success. At MAG I worked with 75 airlines, all with competing demands and chairing our Airport Operators Committee (AOC) and Passenger Consultative Committee (MACC) meant building strong links across a range of audiences.  And just like rail we worked closely with union colleagues.

“I’ve been struck by the great people working for the business. There is real passion here to make a difference but colleagues tend to be quite humble about genuine achievements and perhaps a little weary given the challenges of recent years.  One of my first duties has been judging our Proud to be Northern nominations – so many great examples of the positive difference colleagues are making and fantastic work being done.  Nick’s laid some really strong foundations and we have great support from DOHL, I can see people have that belief to ‘build back better’ and that’s really good to see. 

“I could see before I joined, and now even more so just what an important role our teams have played during the current pandemic.  They’ve done some outstanding work to keep the North and its key workers moving and since September supporting return to schools

“I want Northern to be known for making a positive difference, delivering the things that matter to customers.  All the ingredients are here to get the basics right and build a great customer offering, one that in the long term will support economic recovery and growth across the region.”