Maria has been instrumental in the success and development of Midlands Connect since helping to set up the partnership in 2014. She has led the growth of the organisation in to one of the largest and most successful partnership programmes in the country, bringing together 23 local authorities, 9 local enterprise partnerships, 8 chambers of commerce, Birmingham and East Midlands airports, HS2 Ltd, Network Rail and Highways England. In March 2017, Midlands Connect published a landmark 25 year regional transport strategy that set out a vision to grow the Midlands economy by £5 billion a year, contributing to the Midlands Engine’s Vision for Growth. The priority projects Midlands Connect is taking forward for more detailed development were updated in July 2018 with the publication of Our Routes To Growth. The partnership, together with government, is driving a multi-million pound programme to accelerate the delivery of its transport priorities to 2020 and beyond. Maria has also worked as Interim Director of the Midlands Engine, a partnership which aims to generate a step change in productivity, economic growth in the Midlands and help drive Britain’s post-Brexit growth. With a degree in Law and an MSc in International Transport, Maria has spent the last 20 years working in the UK transport industry. Prior to joining Midlands Connect, Maria held senior positions in local government, including the West Midlands Combined Authority where she led the authority’s input in to the landmark HS2 Hybrid Bill and was senior advisor in master-planning activities around proposed HS2 stations in the West Midlands.