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Who We Are

Transform Consulting is Scotland’s specialist research and communications consultancy for sustainable transport.

We work with a leading group of Associates, all experts in sustainable transport in Scotland, whose profiles are below. Our projects also involve the Transform Scotland core team, and the Creatives in our other social enterprise Transform Creative, Scotland’s specialist design and communications agency for the third sector.

As part of Transform Scotland, we have access to a powerful national network of transport operators, businesses, local authorities and third sector groups, alongside grassroots knowledge and contacts. This allows us to communicate and disseminate our research findings so as to have a widespread influence and real impact.

As a social enterprise all our profits are reinvested in Transform Scotland’s charitable work advocating environmentally sustainable, socially inclusive and economically responsible transport.

Read more about our staff and Associates below:

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Enterprise Manager: Elspeth Wray

Transform Consulting is managed by Elspeth Wray, an experienced Project Manager and Sustainability Consultant with over 15 years’ experience in the sector.

Elspeth has managed multiple high-profile research and communications projects for clients including the Ministry of Defence, Environment Agency, Sustrans, European Commission, WWF, Virgin Trains, Standard Chartered Bank, NHS Trusts and numerous local authorities. She combines strong research skills, including stakeholder engagement, community consultation, data analysis and sustainability appraisal, with an in-depth understanding of how sustainability is relevant to clients and their stakeholders.

Prior to joining Transform Consulting, Elspeth was a Programme Manager at the Design Council, where she established and managed new community grants, training, healthcare architecture and business development programmes. She also worked as an Environmental Consultant at AMEC and Volunteer Coordinator for the US National Parks Service.

Sustainable Transport Consultant: John Pinkard

John Pinkard helps clients improve their financial and environmental performance and deliver positive social and policy outcomes by identifying and delivering more sustainable, lower-carbon travel and transport solutions.

His work draws on expertise in transport planning, research, climate change, sustainability, public policy, consultation and engagement, facilitation, training, behaviour change and business strategy.

John has over 20 years of consultancy experience, including 2 years working as a self-employed transport consultant, nearly a decade working for a small handful of respected Australian and UK transport consultancies, around 3 years working for local and regional government bodies and approximately 8 years as a self-employed management consultant. Over this time John has successfully managed and directed hundreds of projects.

A skilled communicator, John is regularly invited to give lectures, provide training and speak at a range of local, national and international events.

Rail and Sustainable Transport Consultant: David Spaven

David Spaven has an extensive track record of transport feasibility studies and market research work. He has spent his working life in and around the rail industry, with a particular emphasis on freight modal switch, but also more recently on the development of rural and regional railways for both passengers and freight.

David has an unusual breadth of transport experience, over more than 40 years as a campaigner and practitioner. His work as a multi-modal consultant, rail marketing manager, sustainable transport advocate, rail passenger watchdog member, and now as a specialist railway author, has given him many special insights from both a policy and practical perspective.

As a non car-owner who gets around by bus, foot and train, David has a strong user perspective and a particular eye for detail and for qualitative issues. He has a wide range of communication skills, from authoritative report writing to assured public speaking and persuasive radio and television appearances.

Communications and Public Affairs Advisor: Stan Blackley

Stan Blackley has spent the last 25 years working in public affairs and communications. For the last 15 years, he has provided public, media and political relations advice and services on environmental issues on a consultancy or advisory basis to a wide range of organisations. He has advised government departments and public bodies, charities, pressure groups and voluntary organisations, and businesses, social enterprises and community groups. More recently, he has been a senior policy and media advisor to the Green MSPs in the Scottish Parliament and a Director of Yes Scotland. He is currently a Director of a public relations consultancy and a political and media monitoring agency.

Stan has played a leading role in a large number of successful campaigns, such as the groundbreaking community-led buy-out of the Isle of Eigg, the establishment of Scotland’s first community-led No Take Zone for fisheries, and the inception of the largest dam removal and river restoration project in history by four tribes of Native American Indians. He has helped a wide variety of organisations influence political activity, public policy and legislation on a broad range of issues, from transport infrastructure, renewable energy and climate change, to wildlife protection, child safety and cancer treatment.

Stan is a regular contributor to the Scottish media. He is well connected within media, political and parliamentary circles and is a well-known and respected campaigner. Stan has contributed to the work of Transform Scotland for the last 5 years.

Public Affairs Advisor: James Mackenzie

James Mackenzie has worked in media and public affairs in Scotland since 1998, including periods with the Centre for Human Ecology, the Scottish Refugee Council and Pagoda PR. From 2002 to 2005 he was Press Officer for Holyrood’s first two Presiding Officers (specialising in the Scottish Parliament building project), and returned to Parliament as Head of Media for the Green MSPs from 2007 to 2011. During that period he took part in policy work, including the party’s budget negotiations with the SNP minority government, as well as proactive and reactive media coordination, and he also ran the party’s 2011 Holyrood election campaign. Since leaving Parliament in late 2011 James has provided freelance strategy, communications and writing support for clients including the Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust, the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland’s ‘Have You Got The Bottle?” campaign, the Levenmouth Rail Campaign, and Community Shares Scotland. He also led on the strategy for Alison Johnstone MSP’s successful 2015 campaign to bring in a legal right to buy for football fans, working on a freelance basis, and jointly runs Cutbot, a media and parliamentary monitoring firm. He primarily specialises in strategic planning and messaging, writing for media, and political persuasion.

Communications Advisor: Barry Shelby

Barry Shelby is an accomplished freelance journalist and copywriter with some 35 years experience on two continents. Clients have included the Glasgow Herald, the Guardian, National Theatre of Scotland, and the Lewis and Harris Horticultural Producers. He has authored 10 books for the international publisher Wiley: including titles such as the Frommer’s Edinburgh and Glasgow Day by Day and Scotland for Dummies. Funded by the Climate Challenge Fund in Scotland, he has also project co-ordinated — with the aim to cut carbon emissions and increase environmental awareness — both a working community vegetable garden and several series of public workshops on best horticultural practices .

Raised in Northern California with an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley, and a Master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University near Chicago, Shelby is former resident of New York City, where he spent not quite 14 years working as an international news editor (not to mention trawling quite a few bars, pubs, and restaurants in his spare time).  After a subsequent decade in Glasgow (becoming a food and drink editorial specialist, an anti-motorway-expansion gadfly, and a naturalised UK citizen), he now stays on a croft near the isle of Great Bernera in the Outer Hebrides. Here he raises blackface sheep for mutton, hens for eggs and vegetables for . . . vegetables.

Brian Sharkie: Transport Consultant

Brian Sharkie is a highly experienced transport planner and practitioner. In a varied career of over 30 years he has been responsible for public transport, community transport, active travel and local government transport policy and strategy.

Previously Public Transport Manager at the City of Edinburgh Council, Brian led teams in the design and procurement of council-funded bus services and managed the procurement of community and accessible transport services for people who find it difficult to access conventional public transport.

Most recently Brian led Edinburgh’s Policy and Strategy team, where he was responsible for development of the Transport 2030 Vision and successive Local Transport Strategies and action plans. In this role he also led delivery of the Council’s Active Travel Action Plan and the associated capital and revenue spending on sustainable transport, leading to high mode shares for walking and cycling.  Furthermore he organised the Transport Consultative Forum and was the transport representative for the Local Development Plan.

Having recently left the City of Edinburgh Council, Brian is now operating as a Transport Consultant.

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David Prescott: Rail Consultant

David Prescott has 45 years’ experience in the transport field, ranging through academia, railway, consultancy and government.

His lengthy railway career included front line operations, freight and passenger commercial and contact management, customer services and strategic planning.

David has been involved in many ‘start-up’ operations, starting with Newcastle University’s Transport Operations Research Group, followed by BR Business Management in first freight, then the Provincial/Regional passenger businesses. He was heavily involved in the development of the passenger aspects at British Rail privatisation, was one of the senior team to run the first ScotRail franchise, and joined Scottish Government prior to the creation of Transport Scotland.

He has been actively involved in most of the recent and current Scottish enhancement projects, including new stations, all the route re-openings and upgrades as well as service enhancements.

Now running his own consultancy he continues to provide a varied range of clients with his insights, in both the operational and strategic aspects of railway industry.
He is also involved in a local Community Land Buy-out and as a Dunblane Community Councillor takes a strong interest in planning issues and has been participating in the current Scottish Government Planning Review process.