New horizons for rail engineer

FOR many people swapping a job as a senior Eurostar engineer at London's Waterloo to work at a small Ipswich firm would not seem a positive career move.

FOR many people swapping a job as a senior Eurostar engineer at London's Waterloo to work at a small Ipswich firm would not seem a positive career move.

But for Bob Vann, leaving the international rail operator and taking up a post at a growing Ipswich railway refurbishment specialist was too good an opportunity to pass up.

The railway interiors engineer, whose CV in the industry spans 20 years and includes work on the Royal trains, started work at the Riverside Industrial Estate based firm Solutions E2 last week .

"This was a company that was actually moving forward," Mr Vann, 55, who has taken on the role as business development manager, said.

"I believed that to such an extent that I was prepared to move from the safety of Eurostar."

Mr Vann's move to the three-year-old company is the latest in a string of coups achieved by managing director Chris Debrick and his team.

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In its short life Solutions E2 has grown from having three employees to now boasting a workforce of 16.

The company, which supplies seat and floor coverings and other interior products for trains, last year landed a deal worth just under one million euros to refit 466 Eurostar carriages.

It has previously won contracts with Heathrow Express and has attracted interest from Europe, Bahrain, China, Israel and Tehran.

Mr Vann's arrival has potentially opened up a gold mine of new contacts for the company.

It is now investigating making forays into the South American, United States, Australian and New Zealand markets as well as further developing its links in Europe.

Mr Debrick said: "The idea of Bob coming on board was to mature our company in the rail market. It demonstrates we're very serious about taking the right people on.

"When I started talking to Bob I was immensely surprised that he accepted our offer.

"The reverberations through the industry will be going on for a long time because they'll want to know why he has joined us. It's a major coup for us."

Mr Vann, who lives near Winchester in Hampshire, spent 12 years at Eurostar as its interiors and environment engineer where he oversaw a £27million project to refit all Eurostar carriages.

He began his career in the rail industry in the 1980s when he worked for British Rail as a designer and his time there included a refitting project for the Royal trains.

N Do you know a business which is on the right track? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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