Monica Guise, Post, Portering and Transport Manager, at the University of Birmingham has more than 20 years’ experience in logistics and is considered an environmental leader – the University of Birmingham runs hydrogen, electric and diesel vehicles.
First fleet role: In a transport office working for Nightfreight, de-briefing drivers at the ends of their shifts. The lessons learned then have helped me relate to some of the challenges drivers face. I began working at the University of Birmingham eight years ago as postal services manager, but after three years the university merged departments to combine transport, postal and portering into one department. It was a real learning curve, but I am lucky to be working in such a fantastic environment and at the heart of research into vehicle technology.
Fleet goals at the University of Birmingham: Our strategy is to reduce emissions by 40% for 2020. Currently 15% of our fleet is pure electric, so we are well on track.
Biggest business achievement: Success and achievements are determined by the team you have around you. I am lucky enough to have a highly supportive and motivated team and together we are leading the way in higher education fleet management, running one of the most sustainable fleets in the country that has run diesel, electric and hydrogen fuel cell technology concurrently – something we are all very proud of.
Leadership style: Hopefully my team sees me as fair and perhaps humorous at times.
Biggest mistake in business: Early on in my career I made a bad business decision because I didn’t seek out the facts. Before you decide anything, get the facts right.
If I could work in another profession: It would be radio. I love to talk twaddle and it seems like a dream job.
Childhood ambition: I wanted to be a housewife. I now hate housework!
Most memorable driver moment: Seeing a very sceptical driver get in an electric van and being completely bowled over.
Away from the office I’m a massive music fan, especially hip-hop, hard house and dance music (which may surprise people). I have completed a few marathons and half-marathons in my time but now try to stick to triathlon events.
The pivotal moment in my life was finishing my first marathon. It was a life-changing experience for me. I realised then
that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.
My favourite film is Rocky. I watch it the night before every sporting challenge I do to really fire me up.
My first memory associated with a car was my mother’s red Ford Capri which had a black roof. At the time it was the height of style.
If I was made made Prime Minister for the day, the first thing I would do is make all inner-cities a vehicle-free zone between 9am–5pm. I think there has to be a radical change if we are really going to make an impact.
The three vehicles I would like in my garage are a Mitsubishi Outlander Hybrid, a BMW i8 and a Specialized S-Works road bike (do I really need three cars?)
The book I would recommend others read is The Beach – it was so much more than the film.
My advice to my 18-year-old self would be to take every opportunity that comes your way.