The traffic systems we develop, create, install and maintain are constantly evolving and our highly skilled technicians are out in the field every day, helping to keep our roads moving safely. Our roles are hands-on and our teams are continually on the move, working with the latest and greatest technology all over the world.
Meet Laurence Brown and hear about his 18 year career with #TeamYunexTraffic, the roles he’s taken and any advice he’d give to the #TrafficTransformers of tomorrow.
Hi Laurence! You have been with us for an incredible 18 years and in the industry for over 20. We can imagine the industry has changed a lot over that time. Can you tell us more?
Technology has changed so much since my career started 21 years ago. The equipment was very simple in the early days. Detection was generally a loop or an overhead detector, now there are so many different options for vehicle and pedestrian detection. The biggest change I’ve experienced is the whole concept around the different types of traffic signals. Low voltage and extra low voltage were considered the normal approach, however now we have Plus+ technology which is in a completely different league to the traditional stuff.
Can you tell us more about your career journey and the roles you have had with us?
I started my career a week after my 16th birthday, joining a traffic signal company where I started as a Trainee Traffic Signal Installation Technician. I then moved into a Traffic Signal Installer role once I’d completed my on-the-job training. I stayed in similar roles for 2-3 years.
I then joined Siemens Traffic Control (now Yunex Traffic) 18 years ago! This is where my roles started to significantly change in the coming years. I joined as a Maintenance Engineer and worked on a traffic signals maintenance contract in Birmingham, UK. I worked on similar maintenance contracts for a couple of years before moving into a Technical Support role. This was great as it allowed me to utilize the skills I’d learnt from working on so many different types of assets and equipment.
Following working in the field for seven years, my next role was in our UK Consultancy Services department. I worked in this department for 13 years! I started as a Design Engineer before I moved into a Senior Engineer position. And finally, I became a Consultancy Services Manager.
I then made the exciting decision to take on a role in Sydney, Australia around 18 months ago! In my current role, I am the Service Operations Manager. My role mainly focuses on the delivery of the Sydney Roads Asset Performance Contract, ensuring that the contract is delivered safely, within budget and that we meet and exceed the customer’s expectations.
As Australia is a new region for Yunex Traffic, I’m also responsible for helping to grow our business in Australia. Being able to support our business growth and help find new opportunities is really exciting!
You must have been involved in a lot of projects during your career so far! Do any stand out?
It’s quite hard to narrow it down to one particular project but I’ve been fortunate to work on many overseas projects and having the opportunity to see other types of mobility infrastructure, technology and the different approaches we have has been a real eye opener and has been very interesting.
How did working in Field Services help you with future roles within the business?
Working in lots of different roles always helps for the next role.
I found that working as a Traffic Signal Installer helped so much when becoming a Maintenance Engineer. Finding faults with any technology or equipment was a lot easier as I’d been the person installing the equipment in the previous role. So, when diagnosing a fault I automatically knew where to look once I understood the fault codes. This is the same when I became a Technical Support Engineer – because I’d installed the kit and fixed it for a number of years, assisting others came naturally.
Moving into a lesser hands-on role in the design team, once I’d learnt how to use the traffic signal design software and understood the standards and guidelines, actually completing the designs was just using all the things I’d learnt on site and putting it onto paper. I would know certain things such as don’t put a post there as it isn’t maintainable, make sure the clearance is sufficient from the carriageway, cables can only go a certain distance etc.
Then, moving into a management role and overseeing the design team, I just had to think logically. All I needed to achieve was to deliver the work I had once been doing myself, but instead of me physically doing it, I had a talented team who could. The new challenge I had in this role was managing people and luckily this is something that came naturally as the role progressed over the years. The business also supported me with going on various training courses that aligned with skills I’d need in this role which was very helpful.
Finally, my current role is definitely a combination of all the previous roles I’ve been in for 20 years! All those skills help me to carry out my current role. And, even though I’ve been in the industry for 21 years, I’m still learning every single day and because our industry has so many opportunities in different areas, I will never stop learning.
Having worked in so many different areas and with so much experience, what does the future of traffic in our cities look like to you?
I think ultimately, connected mobility is the future of our cities. Along with vehicle autonomy, it’s the only clear path. However, for a full city to operate like this we’re still a very long way away and there is work to do. But, I know we can meet this challenge and bring traffic into the future.
Thank you so much for letting us find out more about you and your career! Final question… If you could say one thing to a person considering starting their career with us, what would you say?
You can learn so much in any role you’re in and the more skills you have in a certain field are so valuable for the future. Don’t try to rush progression until it’s the right time. For me, Yunex Traffic is very good at recognizing people’s ability and skills, so generally when your management can see its time for you to progress, they will help to create that path for you and will support you in this journey.
Thank you, Laurence – your career journey is inspiring and we love how you have had the opportunity to grow within #TeamYunexTraffic!