Shining the spotlight on Nathan Chalder
SRL Spotlight on: Nathan Chalder
Role: VMS and products manager
Years in industry: six
Field of expertise: logistics, technology, product development
To say that our VMS and products manager Nathan Chalder wears many hats would be an understatement. Nathan knows our range of products inside out and his skills in operations, logistics, technical support, NPD and sales, mean that he performs a number of important roles within the business.
Nathan joined SRL six years ago as an operative at our Carlisle depot. Just one year later, he was promoted to depot supervisor and he also took on an additional role to support our Cumbernauld and Aberdeen depots.
Moving into VMS
As well as helping to run the depots, Nathan took responsibility for our VMS product and began assisting with national hires, message creation, technical support and logistics.
“It was really interesting to learn all about VMS technology and its potential for SRL,” says Nathan, who became our VMS and products manager in 2018. “I was excited about the product and I could immediately see that there was a great opportunity for us to progress from cross-hiring VMS to building our own fleet.”
Having found a reliable and experienced manufacturer to make our VMS product, Nathan helped to launch it in February 2019. The launch was a great success, with new and existing customers soon taking an interest in it.
“With instant demand for our VMS within the market, we know we launched the product at the right time,” says Nathan. “We rapidly grew our fleet to 350 VMS signs and it is currently at 96% utilisation across the UK and Ireland. That is an incredible achievement in the space of two years.
“We’ve also recently expanded into the high-speed VMS market with a fleet of units designed for high-speed dual carriageways and motorways and this has also proved successful.”
With the VMS side of the business growing, we now have a dedicated VMS team that Nathan supports when needed.
Bolstering our products and compliance team
In his latest move, Nathan recently joined our products and compliance team, which is headed up by Kevin Gilday. There are currently three people in the team, but have plans to expand it and bring in new people.
“My role within the team is varied and I can find myself preparing technical packs and writing ‘how to’ guides and product manuals one minute and then I’ll helping with new product development the next, “says Nathan. “Alongside, I may be working on gaining TOPAS approvals, or reviewing our GDPR policies for our CCTV systems. It’s a busy, but rewarding role. I really enjoy the variety of my job and working with a motivated and highly experienced team of people.”
With his wealth of technical knowledge, Nathan has also been helping to develop our VMS signs to incorporate other products, such as over height and egress detectors, and he’s currently working closely with Solar Gates, a manufacturer of solar powered gates, to bring a new vehicle barrier – Instaboom – into our range.
“There are great possibilities for this product, which can be used on trunk roads and motorway lane closures, but also potentially on our haul route crossing systems too,” says Nathan.
Seeing major developments unfold
Nathan has seen many changes within the industry since he joined SRL, particularly the developments that have been made into new technologies. “As a market leader, SRL is committed to ongoing investment in new product development and it’s been terrific to be right at the forefront of some major advances,” Nathan adds.
“Introducing UTMC connectivity was a ground-breaking development, which really helped local authorities to ease traffic flow on busy roads,” says Nathan. “SRL has also made giant strides in technology with the introduction of Euromaster controllers to control our traffic lights via radio link and new detection systems to auto adjust the timings on lights to keep traffic moving. And we’ve gone from using an adapted CCTV system to developing a purpose-built, industrial standard portable solution,” he says.
So, with so many milestone developments at SRL, is there one highlight for Nathan? “I was really proud to grow our own VMS product from a standing start to a fleet of 200 in its first year. My target was 100, so it was just incredible to achieve double that.”
It really was a great result, Nathan. You certainly helped to put the SRL VMS on the map!