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Inspiring exceptional achievements

Every year, the RailStaff Awards honours the extraordinary individuals of the rail industry, but one award is bestowed on those deemed to have made the most exceptional contribution. The Rail Person of the Year award celebrates the success of the industry’s most remarkable staff. Nominations are made for those who have overcome adversity or who make outstanding efforts to help others.

This year, Inspire Structures Ltd is proud to sponsor the Rail Person of the Year Award. Founded in 2013 by specialists in the management and inspection of infrastructure assets, Inspire Structures provides safety-focused, high-precision structure inspections, competency assessments, associated training, and engineering services to asset owners. In its 10 years of operation, Inspire Structures has established itself as a market leader in its field.

Inspire’s services cover railway and highway environments, and any scenario where asset owners have a need for an asset management plan. Its structure inspection teams are all competent to current standards and requirements, and its passionate senior management team all have hands-on, site-based experience, so clients know they’re effective and knowledgeable in their field. Like all RailStaff Awards winners, Inspire Structures is committed to delivering the best possible service.

The nature of the Rail Person of the Year Award, is what attracted Inspire Structures as a sponsor.

“The RailStaff Awards is a great event for everyone to get together and celebrate the achievements of industry staff,” said Joanna Thompson, Inspire Structures’ founder and managing director.

“The Rail Person of the Year is a broad category that anyone can be nominated for. That’s one of the reasons we decided to sponsor this award. We’re so proud to be working in this industry and we’re absolutely rooting for all of this year’s nominees.”

Last year, the prize went to Freightliner’s Amy ‘Bessie’ Matthews. Bessie joined Freightliner in August 2021 as a trainee shunt driver and immediately wowed her colleagues. While settling into her new role, Bessie also jumped at the opportunity to participate in other activities including playing a role in the Freightliner female Train Driver’s forum.

As well as taking an active role in promoting career opportunities for women in rail, Bessie also supports Samaritans and other rail-related charities. She was the Samaritan’s top fundraiser for Samarathon in 2021 and a key ambassador for Samaritan’s Christmas Star campaign, featuring in all of its campaign promotional material. She is also a social media star with a sizeable following on Twitter, which she uses to promote and raise awareness of rail as a great career path for women.

“There’s a real buzz in the room,” said Bessie, on receiving her award. “Not just because we’re supporting so many people, but because the whole industry is represented here together. The atmosphere is amazing.”

There’s nothing better than seeing people fulfil their potential, and that is what the RailStaff Awards is all about – getting together with peers and celebrating their inspirational stories.