Dr Pete Waterman OBE, DL is one of the original working class heroes. From humble beginnings in Coventry, he has travelled the world and rubbed shoulders with some of the 20th Century’s most influential people. In his own way too, Pete has shaped various industries and continues to be a leading thinker in areas as diverse as music, travel (particularly by rail) and training.
Author, DJ, Pop Idol judge and television presenter, Pete is perhaps best known as one third of the hugely successful music production and song-writing partnership, Stock Aitken Waterman and for his world-famous PWL label. In addition to this, Pete has the unique distinction of being the most successful producer-songwriter in British history. His many awards and recognitions include 13 Ivor Novellos as well as being named the Music Industry’s ‘Man of the Year’ in 1990 – which is not bad for someone who left school unable to read or write.
Responsible for over 500 million record sales around the world, Pete has worked with a who’s who of artists including Kylie Minogue, Donna Summer, Rick Astley, John Travolta and Steps. Today, Pete is as passionate about music as he was when, as an enterprising young boy, he cycled between local churches earning a few shillings singing in their choirs.
But music isn’t Pete’s only life-long passion. Railways are in his blood. With an encyclopaedic knowledge of the UK rail industry, Pete built from scratch two successful train businesses and in the process created hundreds of jobs in Crewe. He has an extraordinary determination to salvage and preserve steam locomotives in order to educate and to entertain future generations. He is also an avid collector of model trains and after being frustrated by a lack of high-quality model railway kits, Pete established his own company – which is now widely regarded as being a world leader in this area (as well as creating and sustaining jobs at the factory where these kits are made in Scotland).
After receiving Honorary Doctorates from Coventry University (2001) and the University of Liverpool (2004), Pete was awarded an OBE in the 2005 Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for services to the music industry. Today, he devotes a large amount of his time to public service, sitting as a Director on the Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership – where he is also Deputy Chairman of the Local Transport Group – and as Patron of the National Skills Academy for Railway Training, whose formation he led in 2010. In 2013 the government invited him to sit on its HS2 Growth Taskforce, which was challenged to identify and promote opportunities that would provide economic development and other benefits from this major project.
Celebrating his 70th birthday in January 2017, Pete has no intention of slowing down. His lust for life, excitement for new ideas and overall determination to continue making a positive change in everything he does burns as brightly today as it’s ever done.
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