President and Vice Presidents

The role of the Society’s President and Vice Presidents (VPs) is to provide representation from industry, education and commerse as well as strategically guiding the Society.

Our current President is Neil Foster, please see below…

Neil Foster 2 Portrait

Neil Foster

Fleet Services Director at Porterbrook Leasing

Neil is Fleet Services Director at Porterbrook Leasing, following his appointment to the role in 2016.  He is responsible for the asset management and customer support of Porterbrook’s asset base of circa 4,000 rail vehicles and for the management of Porterbrook’s recently acquired Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre. Neil is the organisation’s Professional Head of Engineering. 

He has worked in the rail industry since 1993, having commenced employment with British Rail. Neil has also worked in the train operating environment before joining Porterbrook in 2001.

Neil is a Graduate of Loughborough University twice, initially with an Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering and latterly with a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). Neil is also a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Prior to this appointment as DRES President, Neil performed the role of DRES General Secretary since 2011.

The current cohort of Vice Presidents is listed below…

Neil Andrew

Neil Andrew

Independent Consultant

Neil joined British Rail in 1992 after his early career GEC Turbine Generators as a project engineer responsible for final assembly and test of large electrical machines up to 1000MW. Working at the Railway Technical Centre in Derby, Neil become Operations Director for Railtest (later Serco Railtest) managing the ongoing testing of railway infrastructure in the validation and testing of rail vehicles as part of the acceptance process.

In 1999, Neil became the Technical Director of Balfour Beatty Rail with specific responsibility for innovation in track inspection and maintenance techniques. Six years later Neil established Balfour Beatty Rail Technologies Ltd this resulted in a range of innovations that have been adopted in the UK and overseas including video inspection of track, switch monitoring, PU injected track and resulting in new products.

From 2014, as General Manager of Balfour Beatty Rail Engineering and Technology Solutions, Neil became responsible for all the engineering teams in Balfour Beatty Rail in the UK and overseas, including 300 staff of all disciplines.

In 2019, Neil became an independent consultant and works with the University of Leeds Institute of High Speed Rail and Systems Integration to develop ‘state of the art’ rail infrastructure and vehicle testing facilities.

Carol Dixon VP

Carol Dixon

Director of Employer Partnerships at Derby College

Carol is Director of Employer Partnerships at Derby College Group (DCG) and has been with the organisation since 2013. She leads the Group’s employer engagement and partnership activities. With a constant focus on skills needs, now and in the future. Carol looks to align the College’s offer with local priorities and create partnerships that will support employment destinations for DCG’s students.

DCG is one of the largest colleges in the East Midlands, supports around 19,000 students a year, turns over £49 million per annum and employs 1,300 people.

Previously, Carol worked for 19 years in the media industry. Starting her career at the Grimsby Evening Telegraph, she held Commercial roles at a number of regional newspapers before moving to Derby to take up the role of Commercial Director for the Derby Evening Telegraph, which she held for eight years before taking up a group role with Johnston Press Group.

Richard Hobson

Richard Hobson

Director At Serco Rail Technical Services

Richard Hobson is Director of Serco’s Rail Technical Services Business. He has worked in the rail industry for over 40 years, having commenced employment with British Rail as a Technician Engineering Trainee in 1979.

He has worked in various engineering roles in British Rail, from Senior Technical Officer through to Principal Engineer. He then transferred to Serco in 1997 following the sale of British Rail’s Railtest business and has held various technical and managerial roles including General Manager (Testing Services), Manager Major Projects and latterly Director, Rail Technical Services.

Richard is a Graduate of Nottingham and Sheffield Universities, with an Honours Degree in Electronic Engineering and a Masters Degree in Railway System Engineering. Richard is also a Chartered Electrical Engineer and a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Andrew Houghton


Andy Houghton

Managing Director At Lundy Projects

In 2021, Andy became the Managing Director at Lundy Projects.

Prior to Lundy Projects, Andy was the General Manager at Pullman Rail in Cardiff.  He has worked in the rail industry since 1990, starting out as an apprentice for Rail Freight Distribution’s at Tinsley TMD.

Later in his career he was one of the original shareholders and Production Director of Railway Vehicle Engineering Ltd (RVEL).

After the sale of RVEL to Loram Maintenance of Way, Andy continued working for the company as Commercial Director before moving to Pullman Rail in 2019.

Paul Long VP and Technical Director at Loram

Paul Long

Technical Director At Loram UK Ltd.

Paul is the Technical Director at Loram UK and is the lead for the engineering, rail operations and the maintenance teams on their site in Derby. Paul is also the technical lead for the development and approval of Loram OEM On Track Machines for the European, Middle East and North African markets.

Previously, Paul worked at Network Rail for 14 years, starting as a graduate T&RS engineer, then Project Engineer on the National ERTMS Programme for CL97 loco. Finally, Paul managed Network Rail’s central engineering team for Network Rail’s fleet of 2,500 rail vehicles.

Paul joined ZF in 2018 as their UK & Ireland Business Manager and Professional Head for their rail business.

Paul is a Chartered Engineer and elected Fellow with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Colin Scott

Colin Scott
Technical Director – Urban Platform At Alstom

Colin was born in St Andrews, grew up in Fife, studied for his degree in Edinburgh then moved to Derby in March 1987 to work for BREL.

He has been with the company ever since in its various guises and in a variety of roles: Head of Design, Cab & Interiors Design Manager, Concept Engineering Manager, Head of Bids Engineering, Head of Vehicle Design, Chief Vehicle Architect. Colin’s current role is the Alstom’s Chief Engineer for the URBAN Mobility Platform. This is a global responsibility covering the strategy, development and governance of Metros, People Movers, Monorail and Trams.

In addition, Colin is also the Rail Industry Speaker for UNIFE on Access to the Railways for People with Disabilities, a member of the ERA TSI PRM working party, part of the EU Commission PRM Advisory Body and the CEN Convenor for PRM EN standards.

Kerry Warburton (VP)

Kerry Warburton

Curriculum Director for Engineering At UTC Derby Pride Park

Kerry joined the University Technical College (UTC) in September 2016 and has a real-passion for the UTC model of delivering and developing the curriculum with a link to employers and Industry in and around Derby.

Kerry studied Industrial Design at Brunel University and completed her PGCE at Nottingham Trent University and has recently completed her Level 7 Post Graduate Certificate in Careers Development at Nottingham Trent University.

Engineering, Career Development and Employer Links are the areas that Kerry is extremely passionate about and being part of DRES allows her to not only have a further insight into some key employers in the region but to also help to have an input into future events and opportunities that will help to develop not only UTC students but also those across the City.

Chris Wright EMR Commercial Director 2020

Chris Wright

Commercial Director At East Midlands Railway

Chris is Commercial Director at East Midlands Railway driving improvements in business outputs through the motivation of people and processes as well as leading the commercial dialogue with the DfT.

Previously, Chris started his career at Interfleet Technology (now SNC-Lavalin) as a graduate engineer, then being promoted to Senior Engineer and later to Section Head. To gain operational experience Chris moved to London Midland as firstly Depot Manager at Soho and then Depot Manager at Tyseley.

Chris later moved on to become Engineering Director and Sales & Commercial Director at Vossloh Kiepe UK (now Gemini Rail Group) before joining East Midlands Trains as Fleet Director in 2016.

Chris is a Chartered Engineer and has an MBA.