The RailStaff Awards 2020

Nominations for Rail Manager of the Year

Sri Ram Palakurthi

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“Wales is a pragmatic people manager with crystal clear communication style. He is always available to the team when required and provides practical solutions. His style of management is enabling to improve collaboration across wider teams and within South rail Systems Alliance. He is very good in identifying key performers and gets the best out of people by supporting and empowering the right competent staff. Overall, Wales extensive managerial skills combined with great issue resolution skills and collaboration are creating outstanding results.“

Steve Miller

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“Wales is an inspiring individual who commands respect across the breadth of the South Rail Systems Alliance contract. He is currently responsible for leading a team of over 100 staff to deliver designs for complex multi-disciplinary renewals and enhancement schemes across Wales, Western, Wessex, South East and Anglia routes.

Wales is always available to his team, and despite the pressures of the role, manages to keep a calm, approachable manner, whether speaking with the client, stakeholders, team members, or others within the Alliance. His open and pragmatic style helps to empower those within his team to make the best decisions within a pressurised and time-deficient delivery period.

Wales has had a key role in the past year in the preparation and re-appointment of the Alliance, from Pre-Qualification, Tender, Behavioural aspects and live NR Assessments. Wales demonstrated key leadership and collaborative skills throughout the duration and played a significant role in showcasing the Alliances ability to work collectively and collaboratively.“

Sujeet Chandra

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“Wales Cheung is currently the Design Programme Manager for the South Rail Systems Alliance. In this demanding role, he always leads the team by example. He is result oriented, performance driven and a people’s manager. He is very well regarded in Alliance and he is considered very responsible and problem solver. Over the years, he has grown in stature and that is reflected in increase of responsibilities in the alliance structure.

He was instrumental securing tender for 10 years for South Rail Systems Alliance. He is worthy of Rail Manager of the Year Award.“

Jon Barry

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“When Wales joined AECOM, his first role was to support and grow the GRIP 1-3 Development team, based in Stratford. I was very impressed that along with the Project Management tasks he dealt with, his ability to understand the myriad technical issues we faced, across all disciplines, help make the Team efficient and aligned with the Clients requirements. He undertook this role in a collaborative and supportive manner, both internally and externally, and the results were impressive. I am aware that he has continued this approach in his current role within the Rail Systems Alliance Delivery team.“

Sae Ah Yoon

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“Wales is an excellent leader and manager within his role as Design Programme Manager for the South Rail Systems Alliance.

Wales always puts people's value first and this is how he is highly respected by team members. Regardless of the amount of pressure he is under, Wales always makes time for his team and gets involved with each individual to find out concerns and does his best to find the best solution for the individual and business. This is how he gets best performance out from the team under his leadership.

Wales has also built a strong working relationship and trust with the Client and partners within the Alliance by solving each problem in a pragmatic way and achieving the best delivery.“

Matt Ison

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“When I arrived in the South Rail Systems Alliance, Wales was very accommodating and spent a great deal of time making sure I was inducted properly and introduced to the team. I was very impressed with his drive and willingness to give his time to people, and he strikes an excellent balance between being personable and holding people accountable. This is very hard to do as a manager, and as one of his employees I have enjoyed working with Wales. Hence I would like to nominate him for Rail Manager of the Year.“

Wojciech Michalski

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“Wales is a Design Programme Manager for the South Rail Systems Alliance and an inspiring leader for over 100 members of staff, across multidisciplinary design teams.

He is a very good and effective communicator, with wealth of knowledge, impressive managerial skillset, always offering pragmatic solutions to arising issues.

He is very focused and motivated individual, leading by example, which in turn not only propagates work ethos and instils the ethics across the team, but also drives everyone to strive and bring out the best out of individuals.“

Sean Murray

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“On joining the business, Wales made time to introduce me to the team and the business. Since then, he ensures he keeps in touch regularly to communicate issues, opportunities and successes. Wales' approach with this is with a mix of empathy, enthusiasm and thoughtful consideration that encourages you to be a part of his vision and commitments.

Wales is always approachable and is highly regarded as a driver of decisions and seen as trustworthy, two great leadership qualities that have influenced the team to want to deliver. I've also seen Wales support decisions by others and help deliver promises - he truly wants to do the right thing. Wales deserves Rail Manager of the Year.“

Alex Legge

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“I would like to Nominate Wales Cheung as rail manager of the year because he always put his staff first no matter how under pressure he is.

Wales key strength is his communication and care for his team. Wales ensures all members of his team are happy and have everything they need to complete their job. He listens and trusts his staff and acts on any requests given to him, he is extremely honest and will always update his staff whether it was good or bad news.

Wales is an integral part of the Aecom S&C delivery team. Since arriving 2 years ago Wales has had a huge impact in lowering the percentage of staff retention which has stabled the team and created a happy and enjoyable working environment.

Wales has also been one of the main reasons the design and construction teams are now working closer together, he has promoted better communication channels and his honesty has gained the trust and respect.

In 2017/2018 we was completing a Christmas renewal, it was a blockade starting Christmas Eve and finishing New Year’s day. Wales had a holiday planned throughout this time but due to the job going badly he was on hand giving support, participating in conference calls, offering the construction team advice and ensuring the design team were coordinated to provide assistance. Wales dedication and hard work was essential for the delivery of this S&C scheme and was the first block in helping to rebuild the relationship with design and construction.“

Daniel Browning

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“'Wales has simply made my job easier' is the phase I use when describing the effect Wales has had in the 2 years since he became Design Programme Manager for the then GRIP4-8 S&C Alliance design team (now South Rail Systems Alliance)

Before this role Wales had taken on the GRIP1-3 mantle and a team that was struggling to meet deadlines, keep to budget and was frankly close to the losing the contact. He identified the areas where improvements were required and made the changes both in personnel and processes that laid the foundations for the team today. The GRIP1-3 team working on the South East and Anglia are considered the best performing by Network Rail and a huge contribution was made by Wales.

In the GRIP4-8 team Wales has done what Wales does best and that is create relationships. He immediately identified that the priority relationship to grow was with our Construction/Delivery teams and from there continued this both internally with AECOM and within the Alliance.

These relationships have been built on trust, trust that when Wales agrees for something to be done it will be done. He never over promises and is always honest if something truly cannot be achieved.

The above demonstrates his biggest strength along with his personality with also makes him someone we all like working with and having about the office.

As a direct report he never micromanages and trusts implicitly my judgement and yes he will challenge but rarely disagree and if he does then I know maybe the issue needs further thought. He empowers you in your role and whenever I have a problem either professionally or personally I know he will do whatever it takes to help.

I have been privileged in my 22 years to work for some great people and I put Wales high up on that list.“

Laila Zidan

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“I worked with Wales on Great Western Electrification Project where he was the Delivery Manager for the most urgent and critical section of the project. I was the Engineering Manager alongside him.

Wales was a leader, led the team to deliver overcoming continual challenges and kept the team’s spirit up through agreeing achievable targets with clear and regular communications, celebrating successes and gave credit to the teams. The various design teams were based across the country and he still commanded focus and commitment from the team, and that shows true management skills. Despite the constant and immense pressure he was under, Wales was always composed, articulate and this provided a calming effect on the team and this intangible effect was immeasurable.“

Russell Jackson

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“I am nominating Wales Cheung as Manager of the Year because he represents the future of railway leadership in the way he achieves his goals by building trust with teams, clients, partners and stakeholders. I have worked with Wales across several major rail programmes where he has held key management roles and delivered them all exceptionally well. In an era when capital project delivery is under pressure to improve performance against cost and programme, Wales is an exemplary figure who brings control, trust, collaboration and highly effective delivery management in everything he does.

In his current role in the Rail Systems Alliance South, previously the S&C Alliance South in CP5, Wales has transformed how design is delivered to underpin successful outcomes for each of our major renewal sites. This has ensured a reliable foundation on which the Alliance delivers effectively and creates the unseen, high performing track renewals that passengers only experience in a smooth, rolling programme of engineering works that creates minimal disruption and improves their journeys.“

David Stinton

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“Wales truly cares about everyone working in the South Rail Systems Alliance. Wales recently ran a session at the Team Safety Meeting on Behavioural Psychology, a personal interest of his. The session not only helped everyone to understand why they behave the way they do but also how to be conscious of this, think about our actions and behave differently to achieve more positive outcomes.

In addition to this Wales is brilliantly direct, he takes an interest in everything going on in the project and if he sees something that may be wrong he will challenge you and ensure that it is corrected; whether this pertains to safety or general project management.

Finally, Wales always has time for you. He has an extremely busy schedule but if you need to speak to him he will always make time to listen to you and help with whatever your problem might be.“

Nicolae Bidiga

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“As Group Manager at the time, I was fortunate to have Wales in my team from the early start of his career; I still remember the day when I called him, during his site placement at Aerodrome Road, and asked to join my team. Since then I witness his amazing career progression, either as his leader or later from distance. Wales brings to our industry a rare blend of sound technical knowledge, project management, and people leadership combined with excellent networking and financial skills, who will always do his best to deliver his business promises. I strongly recommend Wales for the Railway Manager of the Year and I believe he truly deserves it.“

Paul Belle

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“It has been a pleasure to work with Wales over the past 4 years and to have the opportunity to nominate him, not for any one specific action or deed, but for providing a strategic leadership at a time where the projects I was working on were struggling and for being supportive and providing the space for me and the team I was leading to achieve their full potential.“

Chris Fry

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“I have known Wales Cheung for a number of years essentially in a technical line manager role. He is infectiously optimistic, energetic and inquisitive; always striving for personal betterment which manifests in high and maintained personal standards of excellence which provide a natural, visible and attractive role model for those he manages. He adds value to every conversation and meeting by challenging accepted norms but doing so in a positive and self-authenticating manner rather than by aggression or overbearing language. This achieves results.

He is a very good person to be with; enjoyable company; interested and interesting.

He has a voracious appetite for hard work and has worked sacrificially and cheerfully; all the more commendable and impressive when the circumstances have been difficult and midnight oil has needed to be burned to achieve a more than satisfactory result.

He has not stagnated but embraced new challenges willingly and demonstrated his capacity to learn fast and build upon that knowledge to meet the next challenge.

I thoroughly endorse his nomination for this award“

Srinivasa Rao Mulakala

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“Wales and I joined S&C team at the same time. Since I joined, I worked very closely with Wales and his team. He is a very proactive, supportive manager who constantly monitors the project time scales, technical issues and balance the team to do on-time delivery with the right approach and support to meet client necessities. The success of S&C South East is due to a fantastic team working together without any differences and as a team with Wales support, we consistently exceed all expectations. This is one of the examples for the continuing the South Rail Systems Alliances CP6 as well.

Within S&C team wales supported and encourages the team members across all disciplines by giving an opportunity for individual career development. He is very supportive who takes time to understand the needs of staff and use their skills to the greatest level by shuffling the team across relevant disciplines in between E&P, ETE, and OLE.

During the last Christmas December period, I and Wales worked very closely, and he supported me in the right direction to deliver the prestigious Battersea renewals. In his busy time and schedule Wales will always allocate time to listen and resolve at right time/right way.

I strongly recommend wales worthy of the award for his programmatic manager skills.“

Muthaffar Rweished

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“Wales is a true leader with behaviours and competencies which enable him to build, inspire and lead effective teams especially in the highly demanding environment of track renewals design delivery. Having worked closely with Wales over 3 years, I have always known him as an exemplar professional constantly looking for a win-win in every situation be it with clients, delivery partners and suppliers. He is a pleasure to work with and is always willing to go the extra miles to support his staff and ensure they bring their best self to work. He is a coach, a mentor and a listener and not only does he lead his staff but also looks to learn from his staff and continually improve and drive best management practices.“

Jun Liang

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“I worked with Wales when he was the Project Manager on NR Minor Works Contract and I was the Design Engineer.

He was a natural Manager and had already shown key leader’s ingredients during that time; his approachable personality, his caring and encouragement to the team members to lift the team spirit, his proactive manner during client engagement, his presentation and interpersonal skills, etc.

He managed the NR Wessex and Sussex Minor Works portfolios beyond expectations and delivered added value to those projects. He mastered the fundamental project management skills well and effectively mentored/delegated to junior PMs, which most of them have turned into competent project managers/design managers now working on various key railway projects. Outside of work, he is a Delegated Engineer for graduates on the ICE training scheme and is a STEM ambassador

He continued to exercise these good qualities in high profile while challenging projects in his new positions. I am very glad to nominate him for the Rail Manager of the Year award, as I do believe this industry needs people like Wales to lead by example, to positively influence the behaviours of all the involved parties, and remain humble while passionate about engineering.“

Alexandra Kovacs

Said the following about Wales Cheung:

“I have known Wales for a number of years, since our time working together on HS2. Wales originally worked for one of consultants provided design work to HS2. His knowledge and positive attitude was appreciated so much by the client that they offered him a secondment role within the client organisation.

Wales is calm, driven, organised and rational. He is not afraid of challenges and works with his team to deliver to committed targets. I remember when he first joined the project, he was given a discipline (Bridges) to deliver which involved the coordination and integration with other disciplines and in effect, the integrated programme did not work and needed a lot of work to re plan. He successfully agreed stretched targets with his team, empowered them and delivered to the praise of the client. His team appreciated his leadership as he managed all the pressure from above and shielded them, allowing them to focus on their delivery.

Wales deserves the Rail Manager of the Year award.“