Employee Spotlight- Dan Watkiss

This month, we speak to Dan Watkiss, Aaron Rail’s newly appointed Deployment Manager, to find out more about his role and how he spends his time outside of work.


Could you share a bit about your background and journey to your current role within the company?


My first job in a railway environment was an Admin role working for Carillion which I started in 2015. Whilst working for Carillion I transitioned from that role, into a Resource Co-Ordinator. In 2018, the company went into liquidation, and Amey took on some of its key contracts. I moved over to Amey Rail as a Project Resource Manager, working specifically on the London to Corby and Brent Cross projects on the Midland Mainline.


In 2021, I joined ISS in their Cannock depot, again as a Resource Manager. My time at ISS really allowed me to develop, and understand the work that agencies put in to deliver for their clients. In 2022 I rejoined Amey, this time working on TRU West, again as a Project Resource Manager. I really enjoyed my time working on TRU, working with some great people and delivering a lot of work along the way. It was a role that was both challenging and rewarding, and a great place to learn and develop further.


After around 18 months in that role, I decided to make the move to Aaron Rail in November 2023, as a Deployment Manager. The vision that Dave Barnett has for Aaron Rail was something that really excited me, and it was a journey that I really wanted to be a part of.


What motivates and inspires you in your work?


In my current role my main motivator is to support people. I have opportunities to help and support people daily. Those opportunities come along in different forms. For example, I get to support clients with their requirements, play a part in the development of our workforce and try to find them full time positions that can maximise their potential. I feel a responsibility to our workforce to find them opportunities for work, and that is a responsibility that I take seriously. It inspires me to get up each day and give it my best.


What are some of your proudest accomplishments or moments in your career so far?


There have been a lot of achievements in my career that I am proud of, but I would say the overall achievement in my role as a Resource Manager on the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) is one that I am most proud of to date.


In my 18 months in that role, every resource request that came our way was covered, with no works cancelled due to resource issues within that time period. Due to the volume of works taking place, the amount of resource and supply chain that needed managing, the deadlines that we had to work to and the challenges that came along the way, I think that is a huge achievement. Obviously, that is not just my own achievement, the Amey supply chain partners and the other members within the Amey resource team all supported that, but it is a record that we should all be proud of.


How would you describe your approach to teamwork and collaboration?


My approach to teamwork and collaboration is based on communication, mutual respect, and recognising people’s strengths. I think it’s very important to be able to talk openly with people in a respectful manner to try and reach common goals. It’s also important to recognise that everyone has strengths and things they can work on, and to appreciate the things that people are good at, and be patient and help each other with the things that need work.


What do you enjoy most about working at Aaron Rail?


The people. The office staff are all good people who helped me to fit in and I got on with them all straight away. Dave Barnett is a great boss to work for, and we have some brilliant people within our workforce on the ground. Working with good people in a role like mine is a big thing and can be the difference between enjoying or disliking my job.


What are some personal or professional goals you’re currently working towards?


My personal goal at the moment is to lose a bit of weight and get myself in a better shape. I am currently about a month into the gym and eating better and starting to feel more energised as a result, but the goal is to maintain that longer term, which is something that I have struggled to do consistently over the last few years. Professionally, the goal is to continue developing within my role, and assist Aaron Rail with their growth.


Can you share a hobby or interest outside of work that you’re passionate about?


Outside of work I try to spend as much time as possible with my family and kids. I love doing things with them and I get to see them most weekends.


Something that I am passionate about that I put a lot of time into outside of work, is trying to help people who are seeking recovery from addiction. I find this extremely rewarding and it’s something that I plan to keep doing.


Alongside that, I am getting back involved with a football team next season in a bit of a different role than I am used to. Being involved with football is something that I have always enjoyed being a part of, so it will be nice to have a new challenge.


Is there a particular value or principle that guides your decision-making or approach to work?


I always try to treat people the way that I would like to be treated, and I also strongly believe that if you do the right things consistently over a period of time, then the right things will happen. Those are the things I tell myself often and the way I try to live life myself inside and outside of work.

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