MD of First Bristol, James Freeman, has been named ‘leader of the year’ in a FirstBus award ceremony. James began his career in 1974 as an 18 year old bus conductor working for the National Bus Company (NBC) in Hampshire. He was later selected for the NBC’s Senior Management Training Scheme, having graduated from Southampton University with a degree in History. Among other notable appointments, in 1990 he became MD of Badgerline Rapid Transit based in Bristol, leading the Group’s involvement in rapid transit, alternative fuels and development opportunities in Poland. He joined Reading Buses in 2007, becoming the company’s CEO before leaving in 2014 to join First Bus. James joined First Bristol as its MD in October 2014.
He said, ‘I believe passionately in the importance of high quality bus operations to any area and I remain committed to developing my team to ensure that we are able to deliver more and more in the coming years. We face a number of challenges, not least the disruption caused by roadworks, which are out of our control, however there is much that is within our gift and within that is the ability to lead, inspire and motivate our colleagues. We’ve made a number of inroads in this area since I joined the business, and we have focused more on recruiting the right, customer focused people to work on the front line, but there is still more to do, and I’m committed to doing just that. I am honoured, and humbled, to have been named the leader of year, it’s lovely to know that this has come about following nominations from my colleagues. This is a call to action if ever there was one, working with my team to drive this business further forward for the benefit of local bus users.’