Steve McCulley was commissioned into the Royal Marines in 1997 and over a seventeen year career he served in all the Commando Units and deployed all over the world, including operational tours to Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan. Promoted to the rank of Major at 29 years old, he placed in the top 5% of students selected to study the Intermediate Command at Staff Course at the UK’s Defence Academy, before going on to command over 175 marines on his second operational tour to Afghanistan in 2011. During an extremely hostile period in Helmand Province, his command, leadership and management skills were fully tested in the most dire of situations. Whilst operating in an area that at the time was considered to be the most dangerous square mile on Earth, he was very seriously injured by an Improvised Explosive Device, which put him in a coma for nearly three weeks and physical rehabilitation for over two years.
Whilst in rehab he soon realised that his military career was over and, faced with great adversity, he turned his passion for cycling into a business and established a successful custom carbon bike building company – LIOS Bikes (abbreviated from the names of his children, Lily & Oscar). After meeting the founder of Brompton, he set himself the goal of creating the world’s lightest performance folding bicycle, which became a reality in 2016 with the launch of the LIOS Nano carbon folding bike.
As he could no longer compete on two wheels, and being a petrol head from a young age, he gravitated towards four wheels and an engine. After being introduced to Mission Motorsport in 2013, Steve soon found himself involved with the forces’ motorsport charity whilst in its infancy and at the beginning of 2014 he was selected to race in the 2014 Caterham Academy.
In what is one of the most completive single-make motorsport series in the country, he placed forth overall at the end of the season and his taste for motorsport was firmly set. Over four years Steve progressed up the Caterham ladder, notching up multiple wins and championship podium finishes. He has over twenty five podiums in four years, in addition to his team winning their class at the Race of Remembrance twice. He is an ARDS A Grade instructor and he continues to build upon his motorsport career in order to enhance his experience as a talented racing driver, coach and instructor.
Having been a former fast track officer in the Royal Marines, Steve’s inspirational communication and leadership skills are drawn from a strong empathetic ability. He is a proactive, self-motivated, innovative leader with a proven track record in management, strategic workforce planning, media & communications, HR and personnel development. He believes in the ability to be a dynamic and inclusive team player, who must be able to work well within a multitude of diverse environments under intense and varied conditions. He strives to build and organise effective teams and deliver results drawing the best from people through empowerment, mentoring and coaching.
Steve has an MSc in Leadership & Management, a Level 7 Diploma in Executive Management and is a PRINCE2 Practitioner. Drawing on the skills he developed over a 17 year military career, he is able to combine theory with real life practice when delivering courses and seminars, as well as coaching and instructing. He is a polished speaker, who is able to tailor his talk to the audience, whether it is large international financial corporations, commercial law firms, private institutions or education, the arts, sports and humanities. He is also a contributor to the UK’s Defence Academy, talking about the realities of conflict.
Steve is an Ambassador for Help for Heroes and the senior racing instructor at Mission Motorsport and, in between driving his kids to their numerous clubs & activities, he spends his spare time keeping as fit as he can.
Examples of some of the businesses, organisations and institutions Steve has talked to are below.
Steve has contributed to BBC Radio 4’s Money Box, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio 2, BBC’s Panorama and BFBS programmes, as well as appearing on BBC News and ITV News for his business activities and on the ‘couch’ with Good Morning Britain for promoting charity work. He also makes a regular appearance on Channel 4, Motors TV and Eurosport for his motorsport activities.
“Steve spoke at our 'entrepreneurship in the cycling industry' event and he truly captivated the audience. His explanation of his journey from the battlefield into business was eye opening and his road to recovery after serious injury is inspiring. He delivered in a relaxed and engaging manner, taking the audience with him as he explained the highs and lows of his rehabilitation, but also illustrating the obstacles he had to overcome when starting his business. Highly recommended.”
Robert Evans (Wealth Management – UBS)
"Since being medically discharged Steve has continued to give back to the military community in which he served, both for and alongside others who have suffered similarly whether mentally or physically, and also in support of the charities, not least the Royal Marines Charity. Steve has been a guest speaker for us on a number of occasions: he is engaging, thoughtful, well prepared and responds extremely well to questions and comments. He is responsible through speaking for us for raising £300,000, while he has also twice donated a bike for auction.
Steve has proved himself a sound businessman, effective leader, motivational speaker and generous donor. He epitomises the understated excellence of the Royal Marines. I commend him warmly.”
Jonathan Ball (Chief Executive – The Royal Marines Charity)
“Steve's candid and insightful talk at a recent Commando Spirit fundraising dinner was a highlight of the evening. His topic was 'Determination – Never Give Up', which he clearly illustrated through his own experience of being seriously injured in Afghanistan, spending 3 weeks in a coma and over two years in rehabilitation. As well as outlining some of the hardships injured personnel go through, he also highlighted how, through determination and application, his passion for cycling became a successful business. Steve ensured that his speech was highly relevant to his audience and his honest account of his experiences were extremely moving and gripped the audience throughout. I would have no hesitation in working with Steve again and recommending him to you.”
Sally-Anne Hunter (Founder & Director – Lifetime Challenge Events Ltd)
“Steve’s story is nothing short of amazing!
As the Programme Director for the Undergraduate Business Management (Entrepreneurship) pathway, I invited Steve to come to the Surrey Business School at the University of Surrey to give a talk to my final year students.
Steve’s talk was hugely motivational to my students and the Faculty staff alike. Everyone who attended were completely inspired by him and his journey. We can teach entrepreneurial traits, but to hear it at first hand and to see it embodied from someone like Steve was truly awesome.
We cannot wait to welcome him back to the University!"
William Lanham-New (Programme Director – Surrey Business School)
“Steve recently spoke at a fundraising dinner. He gave an extremely moving account of how he was injured and how he never gave up on his long road to recovery, even when faced with serious setbacks in his rehabilitation. What is more remarkable, indeed inspirational, was that he established his own business whilst on that incredible journey. Steve spoke with humility and his story of determination and overcoming adversity touched everyone in the audience.”
Mark Davenport (Partner – Eversheds)