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Alumni Profile

Neil Scales

Neil Scales OBE

BSc Engineering 1981

MSc Control Engineering and Computer Systems 1984

One man who knows a thing or two about transport is Neil Scales OBE. Neil graduated BSc Engineering (1981); MSc Control Engineering and Computer Systems (1984) and with a Diploma in Management Studies (1986) all from Sunderland. Neil is former CEO TransLink Australia, one of the world’s biggest transport agencies, and is now Director General of the Department of Transport and Main Roads in Queensland, which manages assets worth over $52 billion.

“I had a really interesting and enjoyable time at Sunderland. The then Polytechnic had an excellent library and cutting edge control engineering and management school. After graduating I continued my studies part time.”

Neil worked as an apprentice engineer with Sunderland Corporation Transport, then after graduating worked for Tyne & Wear Passenger Transport Executive before becoming Director of Engineering and Purchasing at Greater Manchester Buses, and then Managing Director of Northern Counties Ltd in 1990.

During the 1990s he worked as a consultant for the World Bank and the European Commission. In 1997 he was appointed as Director of Customer Services, Merseytravel, two years later becoming the Chief Executive and Director General, managing a workforce of around 1,000 and a budget of £250 million.

In 2005 he received an OBE for services to public transport, and in 2010 was named one of the most influential people in UK public transport, above such luminaries as Sir Richard Branson.

“My role certainly is a challenge,” Neil admits. “But it is a great opportunity too, working with great people in a great economy – and with great weather!

“My time at Sunderland gave me great grounding with practical, pragmatic skills. As the world becomes an increasingly smaller place modern graduates need to have a more global perspective when going out into the world of work.”

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