Want to know more about the people leading the way on active travel in south Essex? We are pleased to share with you a new feature on the Ideas in Motion website… Face of active travel. We start with Iain Banks, Travel Engagement Manager in the South Essex Active Travel team. Meet Iain.
- When did you start your current role and where had you worked before?
I started in the South Essex Active Travel team in May 2017. Prior to joining the team I had been a part-time cycle instructor for Cycle Southend. My previous career involved travelling all over the globe (mostly in a very non-sustainable manner!) selling and implementing financial risk software.
- Why did you want to work in active travel?
Seeing first-hand, not just locally, but on a global scale the extent of the use of the car and the potential damage to the environment and realising that we need to do something about it. To have the chance to influence behaviour change is really important to me.
- What’s the best thing about your job?
The challenge of engaging with businesses and educational institutes, raising their awareness of active travel and the benefits it can bring to both their organisation and employees. Also, working with a great team based in Southend, Essex and Thurrock.
- What are you working on at the moment?
My focus at the moment is quarterly reporting for programme monitoring purposes (it’s important to show the impact we are making!). We are also enthusiastically promoting active travel across south Essex.
- Tell us about an event that altered the course of your life/and career…
University (apparently, I was a mature student at the age of 26) and shifting my focus from electronics to information systems. My studies enabled me to travel the world as a consultant. I got to be involved on many different and challenging projects, work with some brilliant people from different culture and backgrounds, and along the way make some great friends.
- The person who has influenced you the most is…
- Work life balance – what leisure activity you enjoy the most?
I love the thrill of tearing down mountains on my mountain bike, whether racing or just for fun. I have just raced in my first season since my early twenties. I quickly realised how fit I need to be to do it!
- Something about you people would find surprising…
I used to have hair, long curly hair! You wouldn’t believe it now from seeing me.
- What’s your greatest fear?
I don’t suffer from claustrophobia, but I do have a massive fear of potholing. Human beings shouldn’t go into tight spaces underground. It’s just not right!
- Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Lance Armstrong – as a keen cyclist I would love to know all the gritty details surrounding his drugs scandal. He probably wouldn’t want to talk about it though.
Business leaders Larry Ellison, Richard Branson and Bill Gates – to have the opportunity question them on strategy for a successful business.
Ronnie Barker – he’s comedy gold. You always need some laughter at the dinner table!
- What would your super power be?
Not to be weakened by Kryptonite.
- What’s your favourite/least favourite food?
A thick ribeye steak. Lightly seasoned medium rare, please. Goodman Steak house in Moscow was a regular haunt for me for several years while I was working there as a consultant.
- What’s the worst job you ever had?
Agricultural quality control manager! It involved digging up 1 metre trial lengths of King Edward potatoes for quality testing. I do know my spuds now as a result!
- What thing would improve the quality of your life?
More time to do all the things I want to do. There are so many people I want to speak to about travel planning and the benefits it can bring to organisations and individuals in south Essex. If you want to find out more about travel planning, please get in touch with me.
- What’s coming next for you?
SEAT is about to launch Liftshare, a car sharing platform, across the region. We are launching it with the aim of reducing the number of sole occupancy car journeys, thereby cutting congestion and pollution and helping people save money by sharing travel costs. This is really exciting, as car sharing has the potential to make a big difference to the traffic levels in south Essex.