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Meet the team: Tessa Mills, Operational Planning Manager

1) What’s your career with Clearview Intelligence been like so far?

I joined Clearview Intelligence in 2003 as a part-time Field Service Admin Assistant and moved into the Planning Manager role when the previous manager moved into another department. The role has grown and grown since and now keeps me very busy.

I’m responsible for managing the team that services our Design, Build, Finance, and Operate (DBFO) and Operate & Maintain (O&M) contracts.

DBFO is a principle that underpins a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) procurement system and is how many of the UKs main arterial roads are built. A private construction company builds the road and then receives a fee from the government every time a vehicle uses the road, this fee varies depending on the type of vehicle.

Our technology counts and classifies the traffic on the road and my team are dedicated to making sure the technology works and the data is delivered reliably. It’s important that we deliver accurate data so that the right amount is paid, the roads we have are maintained and new roads can be financed.

I manage a team of engineers, making sure they to go to sites when a counter is reporting an anomaly or to undertake any routine maintenance. I also manage a team of enumerators whose job it is to manually verify the data from our loop-counters, and the Field Service Admin Assistant who supports me in monitoring our sites and producing data reports.

2) What does a typical day in the office include?

The first thing I do is check around 230 outstations across our DBFO network. This allows me to let the engineers know where they need to be, so they can then start their journey and maximise time on site.

Addressing any faults is our top priority as the data is so crucial to our clients. We need to minimise any data loss, so want to attend and resolve any potential faults as quickly as possible. We commit to 99% deliverability over six months, which we achieve through the hard work of our engineers.

After this we check our maintenance contracts, these include nearly 600 pieces of our technology. The data availability is also important here so we get to work on this network next. Clients such as Transport for London (TfL) use our data to understand traffic flow, so again, need very accurate data from us.

We also prepare work for the enumerators in the morning. We have vans fitted with recording equipment, which we use to video the roads. This footage is then given to our team of enumerators who count and classify the vehicles. We compare this to the data from the electronic counters in the road to check the results are the same.

In addition to this I prepare reports for clients, schedule logistics, and provide support to our installation team.

3) What’s the most rewarding element of your job?

Having a good record on data is very rewarding. So is having a happy team. A large part of my role is people management, so knowing the team is happy is very rewarding.

The engineers have been with us quite a long time. Our newest engineer has been with us nearly a year now and has learnt very quickly. The others average 10 years. This experience makes my job easier and the length of service shows we all get along. It’s a long standing team, delivering long standing contracts—one of these runs to 2026.

4) What’s the most challenging part of your job?

People management—it’s the best and the worst part. Balancing the needs of the team can be tricky when they all need my attention at the same time. I also dislike having to tell the engineers that they have a job that involves them being away from home for a night or two.

5) What’s one thing you’ve learned in your time at Clearview Intelligence?

That there are traffic counters!

I didn’t know that any of this happened before joining Clearview Intelligence. When you drive up the M40 you see the sign saying who maintains the road on behalf of Highways England, but you don’t really know what that means. Also, that there are so many DBFOs. People don’t realise how the roads are paid for and all the work that goes into it.

6) What are you currently working towards?

We’ve got some new technology coming up, which is exciting. We’re looking to change how we collect the verification videos. We’ve developed a unit that can do everything a van can do, but can run on its own. This means we could go and deploy the equipment, then come back and pick it up—so we wouldn’t need an engineer sitting on the side of the road. This is a potentially dangerous place to be, so we want to reduce the time our engineers spend there as much as possible.

I also recently won the ladies singles competition in Aunt Sally1 at the Black Bull in Launton. So I’m working on retaining this title!

1 Aunt Sally is a traditional Oxfordshire game played mostly in pub gardens where we throw sticks at a dolly (a ball on a plinth) and try to knock the ball off without hitting the plinth. There’s food and drink too, so not a bad way to spend a summer evening!

Author: Michelle C |Date Published: September 2016

Links: Traffic Flow Monitoring

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