I had the privilege of visiting one such company this week. The TAS Partnership is a transport consultancy based in Preston. It’s a small business, under 20 employees, all of them passionate about what they do. TAS Partnership became employee owned because its founder, Peter Huntley, wanted the business to remain committed to excellence in public transport. He didn’t want to see the company sold to a larger organisation where that excellence might be diluted. Peter recognised the contribution the employees made to that success and he wanted them to take control of the business, and share in the rewards. I had the privilege of working with Peter, the Board and the employees as they moved into employee ownership in 2009. He was a challenging client, but only because he wanted TAS Partnership to stay true to his vision of enabling accessible, affordable public transport.
As well as being a well-known character in the field of transport, he was dedicated to raising funds for charity. Indeed, I first met Peter at a TAS Partnership board meeting where amidst the suits, he was wearing a “John o’ Groats to Lands End” teeshirt which he had worn on one of his fundraising cycle trips.
Tragically, Peter died while training for a trip to the North Pole. Everyone who knew this vital. passionate man was shocked at his death. It really was not believable. Peter Huntley, with so much left to give, to be no longer with us. How fitting then, that attendees to Peter’s funeral arrived in a fleet of buses. I use the word attendees rather than mourners, because the funeral was a true celebration of the life of a man who touched and inspired so many.
Peter was raising funds for Transaid, the charity that works to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods across Africa and the developing world through creating better transport networks. Peter’s website is still open for donations. You can donate here