Anna Bombelek is a Project Manager in the Rail Market & Competition Department at the headquarters of Transdev Germany in Berlin. There she coordinates tender projects in local rail passenger transportation and was among other things involved in the recent success of Trans Regio and the regaining of the MittelrheinBahn. We caught up with Anna to learn more about her and her professional role as she interfaces between Transdev and the local companies for tenders.
Anna, how did everything start for you at Transdev?
In 2018 I began at Transdev Germany as a Project Assistant in the Rail Market & Competition Department and I have been a Project Manager since the beginning of 2021. Before that, I studied transportation economics at the Technical University in Dresden and thus had a broad range of specialist knowledge about transportation. However, my passion for the railways came later – originally, I was primarily interested in air traffic.
It’s great that you decided to work in the rail industry. What made you change?
I already knew Transdev from my studies. When I was looking for a job, the position as a Project Assistant was available. Although I didn’t feel like going to the big city of Berlin at all – I come from a village with a population of 300 in Lower Lusatia – I decided on Transdev and the job in Berlin. And in retrospect, that was a good decision.
What in particular was it about the job that attracted you?
The work in the German local rail transportation tendering market is very interesting, I am closely monitoring the competition between the rail transportation companies. I find the change and the further development of the market exciting. I am particularly pleased that the rail transportation is gaining in importance and that the rail sector is moving into focus in the context of the climate debate.
What are your current tasks as a Project Manager?
I am in bid and commissioning management and coordinate the tenders with a team. I put together project teams for this and enable the best possible work by providing the necessary resources and data. In addition, I coordinate the work of the project team from concept development to costing in order to be able to offer the best possible result in the end. This also means that, as the Project Manager, I am the interface between the Management and the Project Team on the one hand, but also the responsible parties and external partners on the other.
You were the Project Manager for the MittelrheinBahn tender. What did every day work look like?
Lots of phone calls, lots of meetings and constant concentration. The sub-projects such as operations, human resources and finances provide me with their results, which I must be able to understand and reproduce. It is also important to critically question topics and assumptions. I really like the wide range of tasks from operation, vehicles, maintenance to the calculation of possible penalties.
Have you followed projects from the other railway companies in the Transdev Group?
I have already been able to personally visit some companies from the NordWestBahn through my colleagues from Trans Regio in Koblenz and those in Bavaria. At first glance, the project work sounds like a desk and mostly office work. She also regularly brings me to the regions where I can work a lot with local people. I am always happy to visit the companies in the regions. I’ve really missed that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The only company that I still miss on my “all-round Transdev Germany tour” is the WEG in Baden-Württemberg. But I will certainly get to know the colleagues there too.
Do tender projects always mean a stressful time?
Oh yeah! For example, I have been accompanying the Trans Regio project since September 2020 and put a lot of energy, night shifts and effort into it with the team. But in the end, we are all happy that our intensive work has paid off and that we have won the tender.
What helps you to have fun despite the stress?
As I said, I like the variety of topics in my job. We also must think outside the box and find creative solutions to complex problems. And don’t forget, the preparation of an offer is always real teamwork. Submitting a well-engineered offer for an invitation to tender cannot be handled by anyone alone. It is all the nicer when many colleagues are committed, and a real team spirit is created through the various projects. And after work I find my balance by enjoying nature, reading or just meeting up with a few friends.
What’s next on your to-do list?
I am already looking forward to accompanying the commissioning of the regained MittelrheinBahn as a Project Manager. That really rounds off the project for me. I will put together a Project Team again and see that we can all make a successful transition into the next contract term. The existing traffic is a good basis, but there are also innovations such as the changeover from a net to a gross contract or the expansion of fault management. We need more service staff through a higher train attendant rate, and a redesign of the fleet is also pending.
What is your advice to young women who are also interested in the mobility industry?
Try it out! The industry offers so many different jobs and development opportunities for women. It is full of exciting projects and leaves room for innovation. So, I see many opportunities for women in Transdev.