Let’s just say, Lewis Wray digs what he does.
As a younger version of himself, he dreamt of being an archeologist like his hero Indiana Jones. He imagined the excitement, the thrills and non-stop adventure.
Now, as Director at Taranto Systems in London, Lewis is making important societal contributions.
Sure, he is not raiding any lost arks, but Taranto Systems is keeping roads clear, improving traffic safety and reducing vehicle congestion to positively impact the lives of commuters throughout the UK.
The company’s traffic management software provides full-service traffic and parking enforcement systems that help enforcement organizations manage every aspect of their processes from ticketing to collection of payments.
“I feel like I’m contributing by doing this job which is another good part of the role. That’s the main driver for me,” he says.
“Our systems are being used in absolutely critical schemes and locations to do something and drive outcomes. We’re also improving the experiences of people who want to interact with public services.”
Still, despite the benefits his work bestows on the average commuter, Lewis says, “I try not to tell people what I really do. It’s not a cool thing to say at a party – I’m the guy who puts the parking tickets on your car.” True enough!
He does like to talk about the challenges of working with technology and the constant changes that come with the territory. He sees the value in collaborating with suppliers and their ability to innovate.
“I like to see how the products and services are evolving over time, and the great thinking that my guys do along with the new partners that we work with. It’s quite fast-paced.”
Lewis’ experience in traffic and parking control also includes managing a team of 300 staff members contracted for several London boroughs who were responsible for issuing parking tickets on the city’s road network. Police services in the UK no longer involve themselves in parking enforcement, and illegal turns and driver indiscretions of that kind are left to traffic cameras and enforcement personnel.
Managing this staff complement had innate challenges, such as health and safety, unions, strikes and myriad other human resource issues. So he’s no stranger to digging into complexities on the job, whether they’re related to personnel or greener public transportation.
“It’s funny how things turn out and where life takes you,” he says. “I really enjoy being part of the industry and working with the people I work with. Above everything else, it’s really fun coming to work every day.”
Lewis grew up in the countryside of the Midlands, far different from his home in urban North London today. He studied business at Cardiff University in South Wales (where he snuck out by train into Bristol so he could safely watch England soccer). “It was dangerous otherwise.”
His career trajectory led him first to management consulting with KPMG, providing strategic advice, performance management and restructuring initiatives to government departments. He also worked on merger and acquisition consulting, where his team handled commercial due diligence investigation of the target company’s market positioning, their competition and providing advice on management intelligence and the veracity of what was being reported.
Then Lewis moved on to an engineering design firm that acquired Traffic Support, now Taranto Systems, where he began running the business.
“I’ve stuck with that business since,” he says. “I’ve been a vertical business unit leader now for 10 years. I got the job when I was 29, I developed into it on the job and made loads and loads of mistakes. It’s been really interesting.”
Now he’s ready for the next chapter.
“My focus now is making Taranto as good as it can be. It has been a completely positive experience coming into Modaxo, just the way in which the businesses are structured. I have loads of insight into what we are doing that I didn’t have before,” Lewis says.
“I can see a world of opportunity where we might buy other businesses that become part of Taranto.”
Like his fictional hero, Indiana Jones, Lewis seems to be in constant movement. He always enjoyed soccer until an injury ended his playing career. He’s run a couple London Marathons (!) and stays fit with regular gym sessions. Family life also keeps Lewis on the go. He and his partner have four children, including a recently arrived baby boy.
“It’s a bit of a flow where certain kids have to be places during the week and then there are certain times where everybody’s in the house – and it’s chaos.”