Reflecting On 20 Years In Business

As we work through our 20th year, we are reflecting  on just how far TPS has come, to plan for the future, and (importantly) to celebrate our achievements.

Like many companies, TPS – initially known as Travel Plan Services  started out with one person, Steve Hacker (my dad) and operated out of a converted garage. Having taken early retirement from Leeds City Council, Steve set out to serve a small number of local clients from the development sector.

It would have been hard to imagine at the time that 20-years later we would have grown to a team of 12, serving an expanding range of clients from across the UK, and with an annual turnover fast approaching £1m.

Over that 20 -year period we have grown steadily and organically, adding to our range of services and our established client base. However, we haven’t got carried away, and still stick to the same old principals which most small businesses adhere to; to serve and retain our clients, with a professional, friendly and cost-effective range of services.

An illustration of our success is that Thorpe Park (Leeds) was our first ever project and 20 years on we are still heavily involved at that development.

So, whilst some things haven’t changed too much, what has? Sadly, in 2010 we lost Steve to ill-health, leaving a huge (or as some who knew him may say so ‘not so huge’) hole to fill. Further to my introduction in 2003, Rob Bettison had recently joined our small team, and alongside me and younger brother Tom, we continued to plug away. Fortunately, we’d been provided with some very solid foundations, and through a mix of hard work, good fortune, and good recruitment, we’ve grown to where we are today.

To say we are proud would be an understatement! We work within a competitive field, however, have retained and gained some fantastic clients. We deliver work across the length and breadth of the UK (and even oversees), on projects which come in all shapes and sizes, and have gained a reputation as a trusted transport planning service provider. Within the field of sustainable transport planning, and specifically travel planning, we are recognised as one of the UK’s leading private consultancies, and currently work on over 200 active projects every year.

Reflecting the growing range of services provided, we changed our company name in 2016 to TPS Transport Consultants. Another milestone!

So, to what do we owe our success (are you ready for some clichés)? Most importantly, the team we’ve had along the way. It’s the age-old cliché, however, it wouldn’t be age old if it wasn’t true. The foundations of any successful business are its staff, and we’ve been fortunate to employ some exceptional individuals who have got us to where we are today. Whether still with the business or not, our thanks will always be with those we have worked alongside and called our team, here at TPS.

Next, we owe our success to our clients, of course. We have been fortunate to work for lots of fantastic clients over the years, some of whom stretch back for the full 20-years. It brings us great pride that so many clients put their trust in us on a regular basis.

Last, but not least, we can’t forget to acknowledge that we work alongside some fantastic peers. Whether planners, architects or project managers, we are fortunate to work alongside some fantastic professionals daily, who help to make our job that little bit easier.

And what does the future hold? Well, quite simply, more of the same we hope. We are currently finalising a 10-year business strategy which will see us up to 2030, with further sustainable growth on the agenda. To achieve this we will need to add to our fantastic team , who we aim to support and grow. More broadly, we aim to become a better version of our self (cheesy I know!) … we’re proud to say we think we do ok, but we also lose no pride in saying we can be better, in many respects. So that is the aim!

So now for the fun bit, it’s time to celebrate … oh wait, we’re in the middle on a global pandemic and parties are off the cards! Through 2020 we had planned to do 20 different ‘things’, to celebrate our 20th anniversary. Some will see us thank clients, some will see us support good causes and some will see us just having good old fun. Whilst our plans have had to be put on hold for now, please watch this space for further news of our ’20 things in 2020’ (which may roll over into 2021) … catchy I know.

To kick things off, ‘thing number 1’ is that all of our team will be enjoying an extra day’s leave, on their birthday. TPS gets to celebrate, and so too do those we are made of.

A genuine thanks from me, to all who have been part of our journey so far, and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible through 2020 (or as soon as we are able).

John Hacker