Transport Network speaks to Adrian Murphy, new chief operating officer at SRL Traffic Systems, to find out more about his views on the highway sector and his ambitions for the future.
Congratulations on your new role - what attracted you to SRL and the highways sector?
The highways sector is a fast-growing market that’s seen a great deal of investment and innovation in the last few years and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
SRL is one of the highway industry’s greatest success stories, having gone from strength to strength since its management buyout in 2019. It’s an increasingly successful business that invests in new technologies and its team of people and it has many core values that resonated with me.
SRL is at an exciting phase in its development and I wanted to be a part of its future growth.
What’s your approach to leadership?
The one overriding strength that you see in all good leaders is their ability to connect with people - whether its employees, suppliers or customers. It’s important to build a rapport with people, to be a good listener and to be able to communicate your vision.
I like to help people to reach their goals – it’s really rewarding for me to see them succeed. In my time at SRL, I’ve already seen that the team has tremendous knowledge and enthusiasm and a real appetite to become even better, so I have a great foundation on which to build.
What is your for SRL?
The business is growing at a pace and I want to build on its terrific success to date. SRL has now reached a stage where its size and scalability mean that it can bring so much more to the market in the future.
I want to maximise the reach of our new technologies, such as Urban64, Multiphase Adaptive Detective System (ADS), UTMC, variable message signs (VMS) and CCTV, and I’m looking forward to bringing my experience to this.
We’re well known in the industry and we have excellent relationships with traffic management companies, and I’d like to further develop links with local authorities and infrastructure suppliers to widen our scope in the market.
What areas of growth is the company focused on?
SRL has grown rapidly in the last four years and we will be focusing on sustaining this growth through further investment in new products and by attracting new people into the business.
We are on a clear path to growth, but everything we do will be focused on our wider goal of making our roads safer and less congested for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike.
How are you hoping to boost innovation and R&D at SRL?
I am very keen to further bolster the technical capabilities of the business and the appointment of senior industry figure Kevin Gilday as group product and compliance manager is instrumental to this. Heading up what is now one of the industry’s most experienced technical teams, Kevin is responsible for co-ordinating the management of new and existing products from across our entire hire and sale portfolio: VMS, CCTV, traffic signals and our Urban64 traffic solution.
Tell us about your past experience in business and any areas that are relevant to the highways sector.
I’ve led large rental firms and I have many years experience of managing and scaling businesses with multiple locations, like SRL.
I also led Chubb Systems which is a leading supplier of CCTV systems to the smart motorway network.
What’s your proudest career achievement?
There have been many highlights in terms of growing businesses, but for me, I am always focused on the people and how they develop and achieve personal growth within an organisation. An example of this was when I led Hilti – a leading supplier to the construction industry – to become a Sunday Times Top 100 company to work for. This was a great external endorsement of the focus we had in developing our people and culture.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
I speak fluent German. I spent some time in Germany in the early part of my career and picked up the language. It has been incredibly useful in business to have a second language.
What advice would you give a younger you?
I’ve not always been blessed with infinite patience, but I’ve learnt over time that things often resolve themselves if you can resist the temptation to react immediately.
What’s your impression of the highway sector? Where do you think the challenges and opportunities lie?
Highways is an important sector, with lots of investment and focus for the future. And, with more vehicles on the roads than ever before, it is important that the sector continues to be prominent.
I think one of the biggest challenges that the sector faces is around safety – not just for road users, but also for people who work on our highways.
Without a doubt, the greatest opportunity for our sector is technology and how we can drive new developments to make a real impact on our road network. I’m particularly interested in potential future developments, such as AI and autonomous vehicle technology, and how we at SRL can support the safe introduction of driverless vehicles.