Dave Haskins, Head of Implementation, Delivery
"I love the fact that every day is challenging and different... I enjoy working on local projects so that, over time, I can see the fruits of my labours and the difference that the projects make to users of the transport network."
Can you tell me about your career background, progression and how you feel that has prepared you for the job you currently do?
I am a qualified Transport Planner, having studied Geography at degree level and then a Masters in Transport beyond. I have been with the organisation for over 15 years in a range of roles, prior to which I spent 15 years in transport consultancy, progressing from Assistant Consultant level up to Associate Director.
Moving from the private to public sector has allowed me to utilise my significant transferrable skills and knowledge which have benefitted me in the various roles that I have undertaken since. It has also exposed me to a wider range of stakeholders including Councillors, local business leaders and Transport Ministers/MPs, and has brought me closer to the 'coal face' of direct delivery of projects.
I love the fact that every day is challenging and different... I enjoy working on local projects so that, over time, I can see the fruits of my labours and the difference that the projects make to users of the transport network.Head of Implementation
What does your job involve and what do you enjoy about it?
My role is Head of Transport Implementation, which means that I oversee a team of around 50 staff and a £1bn+ portfolio comprising around 100 transport projects. Through long-term devolved funding we directly deliver a number of schemes including four new rail stations, a number of car park extensions, bus station enhancements, real time information and EV charging. We also work with the District Councils to support them in delivering their projects, which are wide-ranging in terms of type, scale and complexity. I am a member of our Senior Management Team and play a role in shaping the direction of the organisation, developing business plans and getting involved in wider corporate initiatives.
I love the fact that every day is challenging and different and enjoy working closely with my team. I enjoy working on local projects so that, over time, I can see the fruits of my labours and the difference that the projects make to users of the transport network. The role also allows me to attend and present at conferences, which has given me much wider exposure of wider transport issues.
How do you find working alongside your team and the wider directorate?
I enjoy overseeing my team and working closely with them to resolve issues that arise on a day-to-day basis. The delivery of projects requires wider support from within the organisation which means that I am in regular contact with teams who deal with legal issues, procurement, project assurance and human resources matters.
What training / learning opportunities have you taken part in whilst at the Combined Authority?
Like many organisations, most learning is undertaken on-the-job. This is backed up by regular internal seminars/masterclasses around technical and corporate development, as well as more formal training. Over time I have gained Better Business case accreditation and attended courses in a range of areas such as managing mental health in the workplace, CDM requirements, PRINCE2, negotiating skills, coaching and leading successful change.
What do you like most about working for the Combined Authority?
Compared to my previous roles in the private sector, working for the Combined Authority provides me with a much better work-life balance. The combination of state-of-the-art ICT and flexible working assists greatly with this. All of my projects are based within the Leeds City Region, which means that I get to know the local area well and don't spend a large proportion of my time travelling. The organisation encourages wider networking and I have also been given the opportunity to work on national initiatives with peer authorities.
Imagine you could go back in time to when you first started in your current role – what tips/advice would you give yourself?
I have only been in my present role for around 6 months. This was a sideways move, so I was fortunate enough to have a good knowledge base around the projects that I have taken over. The main advice I would have given myself is that you need to retain a sense of perspective when things are not going to plan on projects. It is completely normal for there to be issues and challenges in developing schemes, and these can be worked through and resolved (in the main).