I am a Project Commercial Manager, currently responsible for the commercial management of Bombardier Transportation’s Technical Support and Spares Support Agreement (TSSSA) contracts for the BOMBARDIER ELECTROSTARS.
I first joined Bombardier in November 2014, and at that time I supported a few different contracts until I took on full responsibility for the London and South Eastern Railway (LSER) contract.
Working on GWR included the commercial management for a brand new TSSSA contract starting from its bid stage. This means that as of January 2016, I’m now the full Project Commercial Manager for a total of three commercial contracts.
Tell us about the project that you are currently working on.
One of my bigger contracts is the Govia Thameslink contract.
Here I’m in charge of all commercial and contractual management between us and the Train Operating Company. In short this means managing the commercial negotiations, drafting the contract variations, letters and amendments, as well as taking into account the deal’s risks, opportunities and change management processes. I’m also heavily involved in the relationship management with the customer alongside the Project Director.
As contracts typically vary in length and delivery, each offers its own unique challenge. For example, Great Western has never had Electrical Multiple Units (EMUs) in their fleet before, so we are introducing them to the network and the client while building a strong business relationship.
What do you enjoy about the role?
The variety. With Bombardier Transportation you’ll never have three days that are exactly the same.
Because I cover a range of projects, the customers and the vehicles are always different. On one hand this keeps me engaged and working across different teams, but it also has given me a lot of exposure to different areas that a Project Commercial Manager might not normally have. For example, I’ve been involved in the bid stage – which is a new area for me and great experience – as well as taken an active role in negotiating and even running the service contracts.
From supporting one contract to managing three, it’s been an interesting journey to say the least!
What would you say to a person considering a career in railway?
Go for it. The rail industry offers a lot of diversity, much more than you might think. You can do just about any career within rail.
The rail industry is also very forward-looking. With all the current investment in railway, you know that you will be working on the cutting edge of technical change. Even as a Project Commercial Manager, you’ll still be working very closely to the practical technical aspects of a project – as negotiations are almost always centred on technical requirements. In this field, ideas and innovation are the best ways to increase margin, so you can be sure that you’ll be involved in the engineering technology that is driving the industry forward!
I also must mention how impressed I am by how much Bombardier cares about its people. Although it is a large organisation, it still takes the time to support your career development – in whatever direction you want to take it.
From day one my managers discussed my career progression with me and provided documentation and tools to back it up. This enables me to keep pushing myself and striving for the next step that will take my career forward!
Finally, don’t forget that Bombardier is a truly global company. So if your goal is to move aboard or to gain international experience, it’s a great opportunity. And if you are keen to stay local, there are always expansion plans in the UK.
If - like Gabi - you are interested in commercial management and contracts, visit our careers section to browse the vacancies.