Graham Smith – Founder

I was born in Guisborough, formerly in the North Riding of Yorkshire in 1964 and grew up in Nunthorpe in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. After leaving school, I studied for my ONC in Civil Engineering and went on to take an HNC in Electrical Engineering as a mature student in the mid-1990s.

My first job was as a trainee technician in the highways maintenance department at Middlesbrough Borough Council, moving across to their street lighting department.

Professional Experience

I moved to Hertfordshire in 1994 and worked as an estimator, a contracts supervisor and a regional manager for David Webster Ltd. In 2004 I moved to Cartledge Ltd to mobilise the Norfolk County Council maintenance contract.

In 2005 I became the company’s training and development manager establishing it’s Highway Electrical Training Centre delivering Highway Electrical Skills Academy (HESA) approved training. I then went on to establish the Assessment Centre which delivered Lantra Highway Electrical Systems qualifications.

In 2011 I became National Electricity Registration Manager obtaining Lloyds Accreditation to enable Cartledge to become the first street lighting contractor to work as an Independent Connections Provider (ICP) and in 2013 became Compliance Manager overseeing training, assessment, industry accreditations and standards such as; HSE, BSI, Lloyds, NICEIC, HEA, HERS, HESA and Lantra.

I moved to the Highway Electrical Association as Chief Executive in November 2016. I worked tirelessly to raise the profile of the HEA and its member organisations within the highway electrical industry moving it forward into the digital age, and in turn raising the profile of the highway electrical industry itself in my role as industry representative working with several related organisations such as Build UK, the Digital Policy Alliance and ADEPT (The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport) providing industry best practice together with health and safety advice thereby raising standards and awareness.

Setting up GSM Highways Limited with Gary, together we have over 60 years’ experience within the Highway Electrical industry, allowing us to assist you in your industry accreditation challenges such as, but not limited to, HERS Portfolio management, HERS & NHSS8 advice, HESA training, Health & Safety advice, ISO9001 & 45001 and internal audit advice.

We are also now very proud to offer Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Highway Electrical Systems, Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Highway Electrical Systems, Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Servicing Highway Electrical Systems. I have previously assisted Lantra as an External Quality Assurer (EQA) in their awarding of the Highway Electrical Systems qualifications and I’ve once again stepped up to that role, assisting the industry sector in meeting its qualification targets.

In my spare time you’ll usually find me on the golf course! I’m also the Senior Court Assistant within the Worshipful Company of Lightmongers, an organisation that encourages the development of education and training programmes, in conjunction with Universities, Colleges, Schools and associated Industry bodies and is heavily involved in charity fundraising.

On the 21st of June 2022 I completed 72 holes of golf and on the same day in 2023 I completed 90 holes raising money for the British Heart Foundation. I’ve been challenged in 2024 to complete 108 holes – that’s six rounds of golf in one day during the month that I will reach my 60th birthday.