AARC Professional Services – What’s in a Name?

AARC Professional Services is well known as a specialist rail consultancy that brings together the knowledge and experience of a range of industry experts.

But did you know that the company’s name, logo and key imagery all link back to AARC’s Founder and Managing Director, Steve Derrick?

The name has two personal connections, one harking back to the early days of Steve’s career and the other to his family.

“The name is partly derived from when I started my career in a British Rail design office in 1974. Back then I worked on engineering drawings for track alignments ­– effectively working on curves (arcs) – and I began playing around with name ideas based on this,” he says. “I also liked the idea of using my children’s initials – A, R and C – in the name and so ARC Professional Services was created.”

There was a bit of a hitch when it came to registering the company name however, as ARC was already taken – an issue Steve resolved by adding his wife’s initial, which ended up providing an unexpected benefit.

“Adding the additional A to our name meant the company comes fairly close to the front in most directories,” he laughs. “This wasn’t planned at all, but a happy accident!”

The Story Behind the Logo

The company logo is also a nod to the early days of Steve’s career, as it takes the form of a compass.

“I liked the idea of the logo encompassing elements relating to my technical drawing. Back in those days everything was manual – my career began with slide rules, log tables, pen and ink. With the company initials spelling AARC, a compass seemed quite an appropriate logo,” he explains.

A Picture Paints A Thousand Words…

Anyone who’s had dealings with AARC Professional Services will also be familiar with a picture of a Pendolino train passing by Network Rail’s West Coast South Rail Operating Centre in Rugby.

This can be found on the AARC website and across many of the company’s marketing materials and was chosen by Steve because it “encapsulates pretty much everything I was doing at the back-end of my career.” 

“It goes back to one of the most fun, rewarding jobs of my career and that snapshot captures the work I was doing during that time. I was General Manager for West Coast South during route upgrade works, based out of Rugby.

“It covers where I finished up in mainstream operations, but also the infrastructure elements I looked after in terms of signalling, overhead line equipment and track. I’ve been using this image across AARC marketing materials right from the start, because I felt that it captured what we’re about quite neatly.

“What I like about all these aspects of the company imagery is that they come together to showcase both the start of my railway journey and my ‘swan song’ if you will, before moving into consultancy work. It shows what AARC can do and what we’re all about.”

Benefit from the Experience of Railway Veterans

Steve will soon hit the huge milestone of 50 years working in the rail sector, which, as he puts it, is “a long pedigree”. It’s this experience, coupled with a desire to give something back to the rail industry and embrace the skills of fellow railway ‘veterans’, that led to the formation of AARC and its team of associates.

Network Rail

“I’ve surrounded myself with fellow experts in their field, all passionate about the rail industry. Business continues to grow steadily; recent clients have included Network Rail, Transport for London and Amey Infrastructure Wales and we’re continuing to build up a strong reputation.

“People come to us because they trust us and they like the way we work,” he continues. “We don’t just go into a client’s office, do the work, then walk away. We’d much rather go in and support them to do the work – give them a better understanding and knowledge-share our years of experience in order to bring on the next generation.”


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