Hello. I’m Gary.

For the last 18 years I’ve worked in corporate communications, crisis communications, media relations, copywriting & press releases, proofreading, reputation management, stakeholder engagement, public affairs, event management, strategic communications planning, brand & corporate identity management, marketing communications and internal communications.

I’ve also worked in taxonomy & metadata management, built websites with WordPress, HTML, CSS, created maps using php & MySQL, taken photographs and shot & edited videos. I’m fluent in (and have taught) Microsoft Office and created publications with Adobe InDesign.

Professionally, I’m a Fellow and Chartered PR Practitioner of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), and now a Trustee of iprovision, the CIPR’s benevolent fund. I’m a member of CIPR Council for 2019-2020 and a member of the CIPR’s Professional Development and Membership Standing Committee.

I’m also a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (Cilip), a member of their Leaders’ Network and an Affiliate Member of the Chartered Management Institute.

If you want to know more read on, or chose something from the menu above.

Panel 1

Career highlights

I was a Public Relations Officer at West Yorkshire Combined Authority for over 15 years until October 2016. Among the major projects I worked on during my final 18 months were the stakeholder and opening event communications for Leeds Station Southern Entrance (photo above), and new rail stations at Kirkstall Forge and Apperley Bridge. But as well as large projects I’ve also worked on more day-to-day tasks such as bus service changes, fare rises, responses and statements from Transport Committee chairs, writing briefing notes, developing communications plans, managing the photo library, shooting and editing video, even the odd speech – a bit of everything.

Concurrently, for three years I also provided communications and public affairs support to Rail North Ltd., co-ordinating communications and acting as a contact point for all 25 partner authorities, managing their web site, briefing journalists, representing Rail North in meetings with other bodies and co-ordinating Rail North’s input into events organised at Westminster by All-Party Parliamentary Groups. This included ‘owning’ the brand, creating and editing content for presentations and helping design displays for Annual Receptions and other events, and working closely with the Department for Transport on major announcements, such as the announcements of the new Northern and TransPennine Express franchises in December 2015 and their launch in April 2016.

While at South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive my main projects were work around the Tram Train pilot and the Mass Transit Outline Business Case consultation, as well as general press and political stakeholder communications, plus Freedom of Information Act responses. I was the Senior Communications Officer in a team of four, working with and helping to develop the skills of three less-experienced colleagues.

As a result I now know quite a bit about rail franchising and franchise agreements, rolling stock, financial Control Periods, electrification schemes, legal aspects such as PRM/TSI, bus franchises and voluntary bus partnerships and much more besides – but then, I do like to know as much as possible about the subject I’m supporting. I’ve also worked on stakeholder engagement with rail user groups, Community Rail Partnerships, Consultative Committees, transport user groups and ‘Friends of’ rail station groups.

I haven’t only done things involving buses, trams, trains and politicians though.

Panel 2

Volunteer

Between 2007 and 2012 I did some award-winning voluntary communications work with Leeds United / Leeds Carnegie Ladies FC. As well as the obvious stuff, such as building a website, writing match reports and previews and the occasional interview, I ran the club’s Twitter & Facebook accounts, recorded post-match video interviews for uploading to YouTube and started the first Women’s Premier League live text commentary service from home and away games. I took on PA duties at home games and filled in for the Secretary at away games when required. I was even interviewed on local TV once.

To help out a friend, and wanting to practice my nascent PR skills, I joined 59 (Huddersfield) Squadron Air Cadets as Civilian Instructor in 2002. Although I was there as the Squadron’s Adjutant, sorting out the paperwork, I also took on Media & Communications Officer duties which meant writing releases, taking photographs and managing their new website (which I built) – work that was acknowledged by the Air Cadets nationally. After a while I started teaching Air Navigation, attending Wing Marking Board and any other duties as required. I stood down as a CI in 2017.

With the CIPR locally I was a member of the CIPR Yorkshire & Lincolnshire committee from 2010 to 2018, including a spell as Chair in 2013 & 2014 and Treasurer from 2016 to 2018. I was our PRide Award Coordinator in 2016, and a judge in 2012 and 2015.