Client Service Manager of Rail Advisory for North America (Ref: US3)

Location: Any of our North America offices (Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Washington, Vancouver, Toronto)

We have a fantastic opportunity for you to lead and develop the ongoing expansion of our Rail Advisory work in North America. This will involve winning and leading multidisciplinary projects across the spectrum of passenger rail (including regional, commuter, intercity, high-speed and urban rail projects).

You will have excellent technical competence and be able to create, lead, grow and meaningfully contribute to a much broader North American Rail Advisory practice. Our North American business is targeted for a significant growth in size (profits, revenue and staff) and you will play a key role in this. The US and Canadian transportation markets are well suited to our fundamental offering (strategic advice underpinned by technical excellence and expert opinion) and we continue to win high profile, challenging yet rewarding work.

We define Rail Advisory as advising on policy, strategy, economics, planning and commercial aspects, underpinned by technical expertise in operations, engineering and business analysis as well as financial and demand forecasting.  This area has been identified as a major growth opportunity in the US and Canada and we have already built a strong reputation as leading advisors in demand and revenue forecasting in passenger rail. We have also had success in securing strategy and planning project work with key clients such as Amtrak, Caltrans, the Federal Railroad Administration and Canadian Rail Authorities.

As a specialized firm, we will build on this experience and have plans to secure additional growth in the rail advisory sector in North America in the next three years with a focus on new geographies, transfer of international know-how and preparing our clients for new and emerging technologies in the rail sector. Our existing rail advisory teams in the US and Canada are well placed and have an already outstanding reputation which we intend to build/expand upon to support further growth in the rail sector.


Over the longer term, your role will also involve the expansion of our Rail Advisory practice in the North America that both serves the unique dimensions of this market and extends the reach of the existing rail advisory capability in the wider SDG business. This may involve the recruitment of a team of Rail Advisory consultants that complement the existing rail advisory team (with special focus in Demand and Revenue) based in Boston, the Economists in New York, our Aviation practice in Washington DC, the Planning team in L.A, our Transportation Demand Management team in San Diego and our rail and transit planning teams in Vancouver and Toronto, while reflecting our international best practice experiences.

The approach will include definition of target areas and clients and to provide a strategy to potentially expand our geographic presence to best serve existing and new clients in the passenger rail sector.

Cross-selling between our various transportation services offers is an important aspect of our business strategy. Service areas complementary to Rail Advisory include Urban Transit, Transport Planning (including Personalized Travel Planning and Behavior Change), Design for Movement (including Wayfinding and Travel Planning), Digital Design and Software Development as well as Toll Road and Managed Lanes studies. All these market areas can help provide services to rail clients to provide mobility solutions and help implement transportation demand management strategies. Therefore, it will be important for you to become familiar and be aware of the wider capabilities of SDG and to collaborate with other market leaders within the firm in sharing market intelligence and identifying business opportunities.

Desirable Requirements

  • Demonstrable leadership and management experience. This includes a proven ability to develop, implement and achieve strategic goals.
  • High level of market credibility/track record of business development, winning work, leading and directing commissions through the management of consultancy resources and engaging with client and subcontractors and teaming partners.
  • Broad exposure to the passenger rail/transit sector in either planning or operations or both. 
  • Experience covering our potential client base across the private sector (e.g. operators, investors) and public sector (e.g. Passenger Rail Authorities, Transit Agencies, State, Local and Federal government agencies).
  • Excellent understanding of the passenger rail business models, funding arrangements and regulations.
  • Technical know-how which is complementary to the SDG offering, including business case development, strategic planning and operations improvement. Other complimentary, desirable know-how may include network and econometric modelling forecasting and user behavior analysis etc.
  • A broad understanding of US / Canadian rail and mass transit businesses with a focus on fixed-route (rail, commuter rail, metro, streetcar) systems.
  • Successful track record of acting as a consultant and/or leading consulting projects.
  • Knowledgeable of and having valuable contacts within the US / Canadian rail industry including Freight Railroads, labor arrangements and the rolling stock market.
  • Ideally a recognized industry name either nationally or within an appropriate agency, lobby organization (e.g. AAR, APTA, AREMA, AASHTO) or geography.
  • Knowledgeable of FRA and/or FTA processes and approaches to the funding and regulation of rail services or someone familiar with the regulation and protocols for the management of large rail/mass transit systems.

Personal Specification

  • An inclusive leader who will actively seek out and consider different views and perspectives to inform better decision-making. You see diverse talent as a source of competitive advantage and inspire people to drive organizational and individual performance towards a shared vision.
  • Excellent commercial and financial awareness, with an appreciation of commercial risks.
  • Highly motivated, ambitious and creative with excellent interpersonal skills with the willingness and enthusiasm to lead teams of dynamic professionals.
  • Team player that can motivate, mentor and lead junior staff and interact with other SDG business leads and senior managers to intensify SDG’s brand and services.
  • Ability to work at senior levels to bring together and cohere the variety of professional skills of our team.
  • Strong in written and verbal communication and have excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Able to recruit, develop and mentor staff.

Steer Davies Gleave is an employee owned company and an equal opportunity employer.

If you wish to apply for this role, please fill in our online application form and attach your covering letter and resume quoting the reference number US3.


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