The first of its kind, the MIDLANDS UK FORUM FOR GROWTH 2020 is the official INVESTMENT CONFERENCE FOR THE MIDLANDS, led by the Midlands Engine Partnership and organised by Movers & Shakers. It brings together more than 150 Public and Private sector organisations from across the Midlands, the UK and overseas, to achieve the region’s vision for greater sustainable growth and economic prosperity.
This three-day event will see informative and engaging keynote address, presentations and panel discussions from a range of high-level public and private sector speakers. Find out more about our event speakers by clicking any of the images below:
Minister Graham Stuart MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Exports)
Department for International Trade
- export policy and promotion, including the export strategy
- UK Export Finance (UKEF)
- UK Defence and Security Exports
- climate change and COP26
- GREAT campaign
- trade missions
- global events
- investment policy in the House of Commons
Minister Graham Stuart MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Exports)
Department for International Trade
Graham Stuart was elected as the Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness in 2005. He joined the Department for International Trade in January 2018 as Minister for Investment. In February 2020 he was appointed Minister for Exports.
The Minister for Exports’ responsibilities include:
Sir John Peace
Sir John Peace is the Chairman of the Midlands Engine Partnership, and of Midlands Connect. He is also the Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, and Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University.
Sir John has had a long and distinguished business career covering the technology, financial services and retail sectors. He has been Chairman, Chief Executive and Founder of Experian plc, Chief Executive of GUS plc, Chairman of Standard Chartered plc, Chairman of Burberry plc.
andy street cbe
Andy Street was elected as the first Mayor of the West Midlands on May 4 2017. The primary function of the role is to chair the West Midlands Combined Authority and brings with it significant powers over transport, housing, skills and jobs.
Before becoming Mayor, Andy combined a career with John Lewis, Britain’s most successful workers’ co-operative, with a host of high-profile economic development roles, working with local and national government.
He was the Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership between 2011 and 2016, helping to build the relationships that have underpinned the economic growth of the region. Additionally, he has been lead non-executive director for the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group.
In June 2015, Andy was awarded the CBE for services to the national economy. He was named the ‘Most Admired Leader’ of the year by business magazine, Management Today in 2014. He received the ‘President’s award’ from the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce in for his work in the region.
Private Sector Speakers
Chief Commercial Officer
Jigna began studying Biomedical Sciences to fulfil her passion for science. Due to unfortunate circumstances, Jigna was unable to finish her degree and was left in the unenviable position of seeking employment without any experience and joined Micro-Fresh in a temporary role as a part-time Client Services Assistant in Oct 2013.
Her first ‘elbow grease’ task was taking on a £250K government funded project in her first week working with the University of Leicester Department of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation specialising in Aerobiology & Clinical Mycology. This was a joint project of Micro-Fresh reducing mould in buildings and corresponding lung health issues. This product was launched July 2020 as ‘Home-Fresh’ of which Jigna is CEO of.
This involved a crash course in Gantt Charts, Deliverables, Milestones and several other terms new to Jigna and she delivered the project three months early! This dedication, perseverance and forward thinking led to Jigna becoming Micro-Fresh’s Commercial Director within five years of joining at the tender age of just 28 years old.
Since then Jigna has driven sales and the Micro-Fresh® brand to all corners of the globe and early in 2019 she was promoted to Chief Commercial Officer shortly before her 29th birthday – another astounding achievement!
She now drives all commercial aspects of the business on a global level, heading up the ten Micro-Fresh® offices around the world, as well as ensuring the company's growth goals are met whilst nurturing the firm's outstanding reputation for innovation and delivery.
Jigna’s drive has led to the Micro-Fresh® brand levied in contracts such as pillows and blankets in Emirates Airlines 1st and business class, Baby & Nursery Bedding in John Lewis and Emirates. Her driving force has led her to set KPIs for all Micro-Fresh international offices, including the US, China, Vietnam, Pakistan and India.
In 2019 Jigna’s efforts were recognised by being awarded the Rising Star of Leicestershire and Rutland 2019. Jigna was also featured in the Sunday Times Fasttrack 100 Awards dinner video of which Micro-Fresh was named as one of the Ones To Watch held at Richard Branson family mansion in Oxfordshire.
Jigna is a champion of young people in business, recently featuring in the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce ‘NextGen’ group for entrepreneurs under 30 and also women in business as a shining example in both categories.
Thanks to Jigna’s continuous success, the company is now tapping into the vast American market, where there is a huge demand for antibacterial products – particularly since the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa and the coronavirus originating in China.
Dr Michaela Kendall
Dr Michaela Kendall is CEO and co-founder of fuel cell pioneers Adelan (Birmingham, UK). One of the world’s first fuel cell businesses, Adelan commercialises a clean energy technology she co-invented in the early 1990s. Managing industrial R&D programmes funded by the US, EU and Chinese governments, Dr Kendall has played a key role in building the UK’s national fuel cell strategy. Addressing the emissions, security and cost of energy throughout her career, a significant personal goal is to foster the widest possible international cooperation to realise the ambitions of global hydrogen and fuel cell networks.
Over a 30-year career, she has worked with powerful strategic policy and technical networks vital to business, including the US EPA, the UN, the EU and national governments. As a leading environmental scientist with faculty positions in America, Asia and Europe, Dr Kendall also holds academic posts (including three Visiting Professorships) at UK universities.
Founder and Chief Executive
At 17 Dan set up his company Young Professionals whilst still in school which was to help students all across the UK secure apprenticeship opportunities with some of the biggest brands on the planet. Now at 22 Dan has a team of 8, an impressive list of over 30 global brands including; IBM, HSBC, PwC, Vodafone and EY, and heads up the UK's largest student & schools network in the UK. In the past year Young Professionals and Dan have provided over 4,000 opportunities to school students helping them to secure apprenticeships or work experience placements.
Nottingham Business School
Lynn is an Associate Professor at Nottingham Business School and leads the NBS small business (SME) support projects, including UpScaler and the Big House (for Creative and Digital Industries), both part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and the Small Business Leadership Programme, funded by the UK Government to support SME growth. The project portfolio also includes the D2N2 High Level Skills Programme, for which NBS delivers accredited short courses to support Women in Leadership, Practical Marketing Skills, and Sustainable and Inclusive Leadership. All of these modules are part-funded by the European Social Fund, and are designed to enhance skills and knowledge in SMEs within the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire region.
Lynn’s research interests focus on how the Ecosystem of support impacts upon the SME community, as well as specific interests in supply chain and business model innovation, most notably in fast fashion and sustainable clothing supply chains.
Student and Board Member
West Midlands Young Combined Authority
.An Avid community activist that is keen on ensuring that leadership and governance in the West Midlands is more inclusive/reflective of the West Midlands that we see today. Formerly the Vice President of Somali Youth For Integrity Midlands and currently Co-lead for Housing and Regeneration for the West Midlands Youth Combined Authority, Ayan has been an active advocate for harnessing the voice and the power of the youth for shaping tomorrow we want to see. When not in lectures or meetings, Ayan is often seen on stage showcasing her spoken word art centred on empowerment- notable performances include opening up both Somali Week Festival 2019, Brum Youth Trends 2019 and Tedx Talk.
Senior Vice President of Commercial
Interstate Hotels & Resorts
Carol Dodds, Senior Vice President of Commercial for Interstate Hotels & Resorts International division, is responsible for leading and directing the specialist commercial functions of revenue strategy, sales, marketing and e-commerce. Carol has played an active role within the development team for many years supporting the growth of the organisation through new client relationships. She joined the company following Interstate’s acquisition of Chardon Management Ltd in September 2013, following an 8-year tenure as VP Revenue Strategy and E-commerce.
Carol has been working in the industry for over 30 years, with experience within many major brands, including 10 years with Forte Hotels and five years with Intercontinental Hotels Group in regional senior commercial leadership roles.
Clare James MBE
East Midlands Airport
Clare James MBE is Managing Director of East Midlands Airport, part of the Manchester Airports Group (MAG).
Before taking on this post in July 2020, Clare held the position of Operational Excellence Director at MAG, responsible for creating centres of excellence in key functions that underpin the efficient operation of an airport, such as business strategy, security procedures, IT and business resilience.
Clare joined MAG in January 2019 from NATS where she held a number of roles, including Group Customer Account Director. In her time at NATS, Clare was responsible for the operation of Air Traffic Control across some of the UK’s busiest airports, including Manchester and London Stansted. Clare also held the post of Airfield Operations Director at Serco.
Before entering the private sector in August 2013, Clare had a distinguished career in the Royal Air Force and completed several active tours in the UK and abroad. Whilst serving in the RAF, Clare held a number of senior posts, including as the Senior Air Traffic Control Officer at RAF Brize Norton, Commanding Officer at the Central Air Traffic Control School, and Head of Regulation – a role in which she helped to establish the Military Aviation Authority.
Clare was awarded an MBE for services to the Royal Air Force in 2007.
Keeping Clare busy outside of work is her husband, Dan (who is still a serving RAF Officer), her two boys, Elliot and Jakey, and her dog Barney. She is passionate about fitness and horses and used to compete in one day eventing.
Co-Founder and CEO of Remote and co-founder and COO of Code Assembly, Jeannie has over twenty years’ experience in the tech industry. She has a key role in business strategy, establishing and maintaining strong relationships with major customers, generating new business opportunities and exploring new markets.
She is a highly skilled team leader and project manager, and has led projects for clients with enterprises of varying sizes, from start-ups to International brands like Sony, Volkswagen Group, Volvo and Kobelco delivering custom business process web applications, apps and SaaS applications.
She is co-author of A Woman’s Work, a book covering both the hard and soft skills leaders need to take their business to the next level, and Legacy - The Sustainable Development Goals In Action, a collaborative project co-written with 50 other change-makers, business leaders and thought leaders who put giving at the core of their business, transforming the world by doing what they do every day.
Chris was appointed CEO in 1999 and has overseen the growth of the business to one that owns over £1bn of commercial property across the city regions of Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Leeds. Bruntwood was founded on a belief that its success comes from the success of its colleagues, customers and the communities in which it operates. This commitment to creating thriving cities has led to Chris playing an active role in many public and private sector partnerships including CityCo, MIF, Manchester Oxford Road Corridor, the Business Leadership Council, Manchester Climate Change Forum and the GM Local Enterprise Partnership.
Continuing its strong partnership approach, in 2018 Bruntwood created Bruntwood SciTech; a 50:50 joint venture with Legal and General Capital focussed on the creation of environments and ecosystems for companies in the science and technology sector.
Bruntwood is recognised nationally for its support of cultural and community initiatives, donating 10% of its annual profits to charitable causes.
CEO, The Emerald Group
& Coventry & Warwickshire LEP Board Member
Sarah is the Co-Founder of the Emerald Group, an IT consultancy in Warwickshire supporting businesses and organisations to harness technology for innovation and productivity. She is a Board Director for the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) leading on the development of local creative clusters with national and regional stakeholders and she chairs CWLEP’s industry body for the digital creative sector. She is a member of the West Midlands Combined Authority Innovation and Strategic Economic Development Boards supporting digital transformation and securing investment in connectivity including fibre and 5G.
Passionate about future digital talent, Sarah is on the Industry Advisory Board at Warwickshire College and works with Ukie, the national trade body for interactive entertainment, on their Digital Schoolhouse Primary School programme. She is also an Enterprise Advisor at Campion School.
In 2018, Sarah became an industry partner with the Institute of Coding at Coventry University supporting the creation of new professional development for the creative sector. She is also working with Warwickshire County Council on future digital skills needs for the transport & logistics sector.
Head of Real Assets
Legal & General Investment Management
Bill joined Legal & General in 2007 and is responsible for transforming its UK property fund management business into a global-reaching real assets platform. Operating in both the direct investment and lending markets, today it actively invests and manages over £35bn AUM providing capabilities in real estate, infrastructure and corporate debt. Bill previously held positions at RREEF, the Real Estate Fund Management business of Deutsche Bank and Schroder Property Investment Management.
Bill is currently Chair of the Property Industry Alliance (PIA), bringing together the UK’s leading property bodies to give them a stronger collective voice on issues such as policy, research and best practice. Bill was a Commissioner for the Lyons Review, is a Past Chairman of the Association of Real Estate Funds (AREF) and a Past President of the British Property Federation (BPF).
Head of UK Analytics
Mark manages the team of analysts at CoStar and is responsible for CoStar’s analytic output, which includes reports (more than 500 of which have written commentary), news articles, webinars and presentations. Mark writes CoStar’s London reports and is the lead author of CoStar’s quarterly UK Investment Report and associated presentations. He joined CoStar as an analyst in 2004 after earning a B.A. in International History and Politics at the University of Leeds. Mark is a long-standing member of the Society of Property Researchers.
Head of Emerging Talent, UK
HSBC UK Bank plc
Iain leads the Graduate and Intern Programmes within HSBC UK and also has ownership of Apprenticeships, Degree Apprenticeships, Traineeships, Industrial Placements and Work Experience Programmes across the whole of the UK bank.
Iain has over twenty years’ experience leading and developing Emerging Talent programmes, including nine years as Head of Graduates at Centrica before joining HSBC in February 2017. Iain was a voluntary Board Director for the Association of Graduate Recruiters (now the ISE) for four years, a member of the CBI’s Higher Education Task Force Advisory Board and an Expert Advisory Board member for the government’s Wilson Review into university / employer collaboration.
He is currently a member of the University of Birmingham’s Employer Board and one of HSBC’s Political Engagement Ambassadors. Iain has a degree in Medieval and Modern History from the University of Birmingham and is an associate alumnus of the Said Business School, University of Oxford.
Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer
HSBC UK Bank plc
Ian Stuart has been Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HSBC UK Bank plc since April 2017. One of the UK’s largest banks, HSBC UK serves 14.5 million retail, commercial and private banking customers, supported by 32,000 colleagues. In addition to the HSBC UK brand, it also includes HSBC Private Bank (UK), M&S Bank, first direct and John Lewis Financial Services. As CEO of HSBC UK, Ian is also a member of the HSBC Holdings plc Group Executive Committee.
Ian has worked in financial services for four decades. He joined HSBC as Group General Manager and Head of Commercial Banking Europe in 2014, having previously led the corporate and business banking businesses at Barclays and Natwest. He started his career at Bank of Scotland.
Ian is also a Business Ambassador for Meningitis Now.
Nick Barton took up the appointment of Chief Executive at Birmingham Airport on 7 January 2019, having joined the airport at an exciting time in its history following the announcement of the ambitious draft Master Plan. Although currently on hold due to the impact of Covid-19 on air travel, the airport’s long-term plans include upgrading and expanding capacity of the terminal operations, aircraft stands and support facilities. Nick has a long track-record as a successful leader, with extensive experience in the airports sector. He was previously Chief Executive at London Luton Airport, Managing Director of London Stansted and CEO of Aberdeen International Airport and is also Deputy Chair of the AOA
Black Country Living Museum
Andrew has 20+ years senior-level experience working across the museums, leisure, arts, heritage and protected landscape sectors. He moved into museums after 11 years working for the Lake District National Park, joining York Museums as Head of Visitor Services in 1996. Senior roles at STEAM – Museum of Great Western Railway and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle Gateshead followed, before Andrew started his current role as Chief Executive of Black Country Living Museum, Dudley in 2009.
He is Chair of the Association of Independent Museums, a member of the National Museums Directors’ Council’s Executive Committee, a member of the West Midlands Combined Authority Cultural Leadership Board, and Chair of the Dudley Towns Fund Board.
Dr Nick Axford
Global Head of Research
Nick Axford is Avison Young’s Global Head of Research. He has over 30 years’ experience in real estate research and consulting in the private sector, having led teams at UK, European, Asia Pacific and Global level. Based in London, Nick is responsible for Avison Young’s market monitoring, analysis and thought leadership activities around the world. Nick is focused on developing an integrated research platform which leverages the full scope of the organization to deliver high quality applied research on both the occupational and investment property markets. He appears frequently in the media and at leading industry events commenting on topical issues relating to the commercial real estate market.
Education Outreach Manager
Nicola leads Rolls-Royce’s STEM Outreach strategy, to enthuse and inspire young people about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Her role is focused on nurturing the company’s future skills pipeline, increasing diversity & inclusion and championing the range of early career pathways available across the business.
Nicola is based in Derby and sits on the Derby Opportunity Area Partnership Board, which is aimed at raising aspirations amongst young people & improving social mobility in the city.
Nicola is a Director of the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust which celebrates and preserves the company’s heritage, and engages and informs employees & the general public about the evolution of Rolls-Royce technology.
Prior to joining Rolls-Royce, Nicola worked in central Government in London for 10 years at the Department for Education. Whilst there, she developed UK Government policy for national headteacher qualifications, Schools Information & Communications Technology, Schools Public-Private Partnerships and International Relations in Education.
Malcolm is a Chartered Engineer and is Location Director of WSP’s 600 strong multidisciplinary property consultancy office in Birmingham. He also leads their Midlands Structural Engineering team and is responsible for delivering technical solutions on a wide variety of projects in the Midlands and abroad. Completed projects include Alder Hey Childrens Hospital, University Hospital of North Midlands, Ski Egypt, Mall of Egypt and in Birmingham, Snowhill 3, HSBC HQ, HMRC HQ . Projects in design are Birmingham International, Curzon Street Station, Indoor Snowparks in the Middle East and Martineau Galleries.
Malcolm is a member of the ICE, IStructE, AMP and PENZ
West Coast Partnership Development
Caroline is Managing Director of West Coast Partnership Development, the ‘Shadow Operator’ for High Speed 2: partnering with DfT and HS2 Ltd to design, develop and mobilise future HS2 services and associated conventional services. Its goal is to maximise the benefits of the significant investment in high speed infrastructure. Originally trained as a Chartered Accountant, Caroline has held various positions across the transport sector, including senior positions at Network Rail and London Underground. She joined FirstGroup as Bid Director, Rail in 2010 and led the successful West Coast Partnership bid.
Global Practice Leader – Cities
In her global leadership role at Mott MacDonald, Clare uses systemic engineering at building and city scales to push boundaries and, most importantly, improve people’s lives. She leads regeneration, low carbon and sustainable innovation projects. From her 30 years’ experience in the sector, originally as a building services engineer on low impact buildings, Clare combines her practical understanding of construction and development drivers and processes at macro and micro levels with policy engagement, bringing insight into the technical, political, financial and behavioural aspects of sustainable development and low carbon living
With more than 30 years’ experience in client management, development management, public private partnerships, and a wealth of experience in the residential sector, Sam draws on this as she takes inspiration from best practice examples from across Europe, to masterplan and develop innovative schemes that meet the changing needs of our urban communities.
Passionate about people, place and planet, Sam believes Blueprint’s progressive approach to design and sustainability is providing genuine choice for customers and partners, as well as enhancing the Midlands’ region’s offer. Sam is responsible for the leadership of the Blueprint team and she also oversees project delivery, expanding Blueprint’s reach across the wider Midlands region.
Paul Norman set up CoStar News in the UK in 2010 and has been managing editor since then. He was previously a news editor at Estates Gazette and before that worked for PC Direct.
Associate, Flying Start Programme
I’m originally from Manchester and currently completing the Flying Start Accountancy programme at the University of Nottingham.
I have just gone into third year and presently attending my second placement with PwC within the audit unit. These placements are integrated into my degree, which allows me to bring my studies into the practical world of accounting and audit. The Flying Start degree is a fantastic opportunity for individuals who want to complete the ACA as you get first-hand experience of real-life audit situations, whilst gaining 12 accreditations for the ACA exams.
Also, I am a keen hockey player and have played the sport since the age of eight. I have achieved England status when I was fifteen years old, played for National League sides and have represented the University of Nottingham whilst being a student. This is an incredibly important aspect of my life and helps me keep the balance between working and studying for my ACA qualification.
Associate Director Development
Adam joined Urban Splash in 2007 and is currently delivering a number of high-profile mixed-use projects including the new 43 acre urban waterside neighbourhood at Port Loop in Birmingham.
An Architect by training Adam is actively involved in all aspects of the development process from acquisition through to completion with significant experience in the sympathetic restoration of historic buildings.
Notable projects include the redevelopment of key buildings at the listed Royal William Yard, Plymouth, which has been recognized on a regional, national and international basis for the design and regeneration of heritage assets. Adam also spent a period of time at Argent as a Project Director working on the Paradise Commercial Regeneration Scheme in the Heart of Birmingham.
Melanie Leech CBE
Melanie joined the British Property Federation in 2015, following nine years as Director General of the Food and Drink Federation.
Melanie began her working life as a Police Constable in the Metropolitan Police Service. She joined HM Customs in 1988 and subsequently held a number of senior roles in the civil service. Her role is to champion a diverse, successful and sustainable real estate UK real estate sector recognised for the positive benefits it delivers to communities across the country.
Melanie is also a Trustee of the property industry charity LandAid and a member of the Council of the University of Essex. She was awarded a CBE in 2015 for services to the food and drink industry.
Senior Development Director
A member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, Lindsay has 36-years of experience within the property and construction industry, having previously led large scale projects in the UK, continental Europe and the USA, across sectors such as residential, commercial, education, retail, hospitality and education. His impressive career record includes a range of senior and board level roles with internationally renowned property and construction consultants Gleeds, asset management firm Currie & Brown, and his own successful firm Locus Consultants. During his time with these businesses, Lindsay led large teams and was responsible for strategic growth as well as cost and project management for a range of blue-chip clients including Deutsche Bank, Avenues The World School, Marks & Spencer plc, Prosperous Global China, Jaguar Land Rover, Ballymore & Hines, the University of Warwick, Coventry University and University College Birmingham. In his last role as Vice President of Gleeds’ New York office he also oversaw work worth $1bn on the iconic One Wall Street development.
Director: Responsible Property Investment
Nina has overseen responsible investment within M&G Real Estate for over 9 years, driving its ambitious Responsible Property Investment (RPI) strategy, which seeks to enrich the lives of people and communities by creating and managing world class places which deliver positive value for its investors, society and the environment. Nina and her team work with internal and external stakeholders to ensure that M&G Real Estate’s fund range embed environmental and social considerations, identify opportunities whilst minimising risk associated with obsolescence and depreciation. She also oversees investor reporting on RPI/ESG initiatives, engaging directly with investors to ensure that funds are meeting their sustainability requirements.
With over 15 years experience in responsible investment and real estate, prior to joining M&G Real Estate in 2011, Nina was an associate director within the Upstream Sustainability Services Team at Jones Lang LaSalle. She has an MA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge and is Practitioner Member of the Institute for Environmental Management & Assessment (PIEMA). Nina is an active member of several industry groups, and is currently chairing the Better Building Partnership Net Zero Working Group and participating in the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) Paris Aligned Investment Initiative working group.
Divisional Managing Director
Shaun has spent the last 20 years working for Taylor Wimpey and has performed several different roles within the company before becoming Divisional Managing Director. He has experience of working in the South West and at a national level and now heads up all elements of TW’s business in the Midlands from land buying through to customer services. Currently TW have four offices across the West and East Midlands delivering homes for a wide range of customers. In his spare time Shaun enjoys watching and playing sport with the family
Regional Managing Director
Lovell Partnerships Midlands
Stuart is responsible for the Midlands region and has worked Lovell for many years, previously holding the role of Commercial Director. Since his appointment the region has grown to become a leading partnership housing provider, which has been achieved by Stuart leading the region into a number of strategic partnerships with Housing Associations, Local Authorities and the West Midlands Combined Authority, and by driving a true multi-tenure focussed approach. This has made Lovell the partner of choice across the Midlands.
David joined Harworth in January 2019 and is the Regional Director for the Midlands with over 25 years’ experience of regeneration in both private and public sector organisations. Previously Director of City Centre and Major Projects Development at Coventry City Council, David has also held senior positions at Black Country Development Corporation, English Partnerships, Advantage West Midlands, St Modwen Properties PLC, AMEC Developments Ltd and Lovell Partnerships Ltd. David is also on a number of external boards including the BCSC Urban Regeneration Panel, the local BID committee for Coventry City Centre, the Investment Advisory Group, and the Investment Property Board of the West Midlands Combined Authority.
Prof. Tracey Bhamra
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise)
Professor Tracy Bhamra is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise) and Professor of Sustainable Design at Loughborough University. As strategic lead for Enterprise she has a broad portfolio and her responsibilities include growing student and graduate enterprise, enhancing academic knowledge exchange and impact from research, the growth and development of the University’s Science and Enterprise Park along with regional engagement. Prior to taking on this role in 20she was the Dean of Loughborough Design School.
National Head of Cost Management
Sara Boonham is National Head of Cost Management and Sector Lead for Town and City Centre Regeneration at Gleeds, a global property and construction consultancy. Sara has been instrumental in the successful delivery of town and city centre regeneration schemes across the UK and is leading on the future visioning of our urban centres and the unlocking of schemes by bringing together public and private sector expertise and funding.
Director of Bruntwood Birmingham
Bruntwood is a family-owned property company whose goal is to create the right places for people to succeed. Bruntwood develop, let and manage all of their own buildings, combining an innovative approach to property development with a single minded focus on the needs of the customers. Founded more than 40 years ago, Bruntwood is committed to helping make the UK’s great city regions even greater.
Director of Bruntwood Birmingham, Rob Valentine is at the heart of the West Midlands region, driven by his passion to make the city recognised as one of the best connected places to work and live. Working for the business for over 18 years, Rob is focused on creating the right environments for businesses to thrive, no matter what sector they operate in. Rob is passionate about developing great ideas and businesses, improving communities and creating places for business success.
Founder and Chief Operating Officer
of UK Regeneration
Jackie Sadek has 30 years’ experience in property, specializing in public-private sector partnerships. From 2014 to 2016 Jackie was Specialist Adviser to Government on urban regeneration.
Jackie is Founder and Chief Operating Officer of UK Regeneration (UKR), developing new models of housing delivery, currently bringing forward 1,500 homes in a garden settlement in Bedfordshire. She was Member of Grimsey Review team on the future of the high street, reporting in 2013, 2018 and 2020 and was on the judging panel of the MHCLG Great British High Streets Awards 2019. She was a Member of the “Restoring Your Railway” panel for DfT, reversing the Beeching cuts. She is co-author of “Broken Homes” on the housing crisis with former Estates Gazette Editor Peter Bill (to be published in October) and is a regular columnist for the EG.
Stakeholder Engagement Lead
Lesley leads stakeholder engagement and communications for West Midlands 5G (WM5G). WM5G stakeholders represent a broad range of organisations in a variety of sectors and scenarios. Lesley’s prior private and public sector experience, including with local authority organisations and central government, gives a breadth of knowledge across a variety of sectors and range of stakeholders. Lesley’s background has covered account management, stakeholder engagement, business development and business transformation. Her key strengths have been in the development of successful relationships with colleagues and clients, establishing credibility and ensuring achievement of shared goals – these attributes align well with the aims and ambitions of WM5G.
Paul is a Director at NewRiver REIT and is responsible for the Company’s strategic partnerships with local authorities across the portfolio. Paul is a qualified chartered surveyor with over 25 years’ experience in retail agency, asset management and development, having started his career with Clive Lewis & Partners. Paul later became a Partner at Tushingham Moore before joining Smith Young to work on Eddie Healey’s Stadium Group projects in UK and Europe.
SY Moorhouse Wright was formed in 2000 in conjunction with Smith Young and was then sold to Savills in 2005, where Paul became Director of Retail Development and Asset Management, working from London and Manchester.
Paul is a member of British Property Federation and sits on the Regional Policy Committee, High Street Adaptation Working Group and West Midlands Commercial Property Forum.
Senior Development Manager
Rebecca has over 12 years’ experience in the real estate sector. With a background as a chartered surveyor, Rebecca has worked at Grainger Plc, spearheading the creation and delivery of Grainger Trust, the first for profit housing association in the UK. Further experience followed at PfP Capital where Rebecca worked for the PRS Joint Venture with the Universities Superannuation Scheme. Rebecca now works at Muse, working with the public and private sector to deliver mixed tenure regeneration schemes. Rebecca is also a non-executive director for B3 Living.
Banks Long and Co
With over thirty years' experience in commercial property, Tim specialises within the investment and development sector with a particular emphasis on retail and leisure.
A graduate of Nottingham Trent University and a member of the RICS, Tim advises on a wide range of development and regeneration projects across the East Midlands including the Cornhill Quarter in Lincoln.
Tim provides strategic advice to Landlords who own City Centre properties across the UK. The demand for this advice has increased significantly since March 2020.
Banks Long and Co are a multiple disciplined firm of Chartered Surveyors with 32 staff based in Lincoln, providing a full range of services including Agency, Valuations, Professional Services through to Building Surveying, Quantity Surveying and Project Management.
Tim joined Banks Long and Co in 1999 as a Partner becoming Managing Director in 2011. His expertise combined with his knowledge of Greater Lincolnshire makes him the ideal candidate to represent the region at MFFG.
Pygott & Crone
Tim is an equity Director of Pygott and Crone, the award winning property consultancy with offices across the East Midlands and London specialising in commercial and residential property sales and acquisition, survey and valuation, land and development, appraisal, estate and asset management, agriculture and auction, financial services and insurance.
Tim has over 35 years' experience in the property industry and works closely with both public and private sector clients advising on marketing, acquisition, investment and development of land and property across the UK and Europe. He is a founding member of Team Lincolnshire Ambassador Programme, Vice chairman of Invest Gainsborough, a trustee of Lives and the Star Trust charities and a Freeman of the City of London. Tim will be representing the Greater Lincolnshire LEP at MFFG, promoting the region's South Lincolnshire Food Enterprise Zone –based at the heart of the UK Food Valley.
Thomas Emanuel is a Director at STR. He is based in London, and leads a team focused on driving business with Industry Partners. He has spent his entire career in the hotel industry, beginning in 2000 with Miki Travel, before joining Hyatt Hotel & Resorts, where he gained experience in corporate sales at both the worldwide sales office and at property level. Thomas then led the corporate sales function for Hazlitt’s Hotels, a group of independent boutique hotels in London. In 2006, Thomas joined Deloitte, working in their HotelBenchmark practice, where he was responsible for creating and leading the department’s business development function. He held this role until the formation of STR in March 2008, and has since focused on overseeing STR’s rapid expansion outside North America. Throughout his time with STR, Thomas has gained a wealth of experience working with hotels, investors, developers, consultants, banks, governments, destination management companies and many others. Thomas has also been a guest lecturer at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, and been invited and participated in the OECD's high level meetings on tourism policies. Travelling extensively, Thomas has worked in over 45 countries across 6 continents and regularly speaks at major hospitality conferences around the world. He is also frequently interviewed for his insights on the hotel industry by news outlets including Reuters, CNN, Bloomberg, and CNBC, as well as various tourism and hospitality publications.
Business Unit Director, National Logistics
Andrew is Managing Director, National Logistics at SEGRO.
Prior to joining SEGRO Andrew trained as a Chartered Accountant at Deloitte and held a variety of finance roles at Bass plc, Intercontinental Hotels and Alliance Boots.
Having joined SEGRO in 2009 he spent his early years as Group Treasurer, then Head of Corporate Finance and latterly Director of Finance, before assuming his current role.
Andrew oversees SEGRO’s UK big box logistics portfolio with a current value of more than £1 billion. This has been with notable success in the past few years or so with over 3 million sq ft committed and under construction at SEGRO Logistics Park East Midlands Gateway and ongoing major infrastructure at other large strategic logistics sites in the Midlands.”
Atalanti Angelopoulou is a Market Analyst at CoStar Group. She is responsible for conducting market research and data analysis for commercial real estate markets in the Midlands and the East of England. Atalanti is also responsible for producing news articles, videos and presentations, covering the latest trends in the regions. She joined CoStar in 2017 after earning a MSc in International Real Estate and Planning at the University College London. Previously, Atalanti worked as an analyst at a boutique property company in Greece, focusing on the hospitality and holiday home market.
Midlands Regional Chairman
Matthew is the Chairman of the Midlands region, and Senior Partner for the Birmingham office. He leads a team of 2,500 client specialists from offices in Birmingham, the East Midlands and Milton Keynes. He was previously West Region Chairman for PwC (2013-15). He leads the PwC Deals practice across the Midlands and North, including Business Recovery Services (BRS) his practising specialism. He is the Independent Senior Partner to a number of high profile and fast growing clients. He is a board level advisor with transactional experience across a broad range of sectors, including industrial manufacturing, real estate, retail, banking and consumer products. Matthew has lead a series of high profile restructuring assignments, including the restructuring and subsequent sale of Caparo Industries, the rescue of the iconic London Black cab manufacturer, Manganese Bronze, as well as large property restructurings & construction/development appointments, including The Cube in Birmingham. He was also the lead administrator of Royal Worcester & Spode concluding a sale to Portmeirion. Matthew is also Chair of the West Midlands Growth Company, the organisation charged with attracting new businesses and investment to the region and creating jobs. He has also been the partner sponsor for PwC’s Ride the Nation charity event for the PwC Foundation in 2015, 2017 and 2019, which to date has raised more than £300,000, making a real difference to the communities we work within every day. The event was conceived, and continues to be run, planned and organised solely by our people.
Caroline joined Avison Young late 2014 to develop the company’s placemaking, marketing and engagement specialism within real estate management. Having grown the team’s portfolio to cover retail centres, parks, mixed use developments and business parks both inside and outside the Midlands over three years, she now leads on marketing and engagement for the wider real estate management division across the country. She has been part of the Avison Young team developing responses to high street and town centre adaptive reuse and reimagining. Prior to joining, she had spent seven years in business development and marketing with the NEC Group and time as a management consultant focussed on the leisure and hospitality sector, working with companies as diverse as Live Nation and the London School of Economics.
Head of Logistics and Industrial Research
Kevin leads the research function into industrial and logistics markets for Savills, collecting, collating and analysing occupational and Investment data on those markets. This data is included in Savills regular Big Shed Briefing research but also in bespoke reporting for clients. Kevin is a regular commentator on the market in the press and appears at industry events offering his thoughts on the direction of the industrial and logistics market. He has previously chaired the society of property researchers.
Cities Programme Leader
Group Director, Development and Sales
Fiona is the Group Director for Development and Sales at L&Q, a regulated charitable housing association and one of UK’s most successful independent social businesses.
She is responsible for the delivery of 100k quality new homes, while improving the customer journey for people renting or buying L&Q homes.
Prior to joining L&Q, Fiona was the Executive Director for Development, Enterprise and Environment at the Greater London Authority. As part of the senior management team for the GLA, she was responsible for overseeing the delivery and implementation of key strategies such as the London Plan, the Economic Development Strategy, transport, environment and climate change and in overseeing the operation of the Mayor’s powers in relation to significant planning applications in the capital.
A graduate of the University of Northumbria and the London School of Economics, Fiona has worked in a variety of voluntary and public-sector roles.
Rob Groves, is the Regional Director of Argent and has over 30 years of planning, design, construction and commercial experience. His development experience includes mixed use, residential, commercial, industrial schemes as well as major public sector infrastructure.
He is head of Argents’ Birmingham office and is leading the Paradise project in Birmingham, which is a joint venture with Birmingham City Council for a new commercial led mixed use development of 2 million sq./ft. in the City centre, which is one of the biggest city centre projects in the regions. The project was one of the first in England to secure Enterprise Zone funding, delivering major site wide infrastructure changes to the city centre, the first phase of which is close to completion.
He was formally Chair of the Midlands East Anglia British Council for Offices and is still a Board member and he is currently the Deputy Chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority Town Centre Task Force.
Managing Director of Long Harbour's BtR Multifamily Business
Rebecca joined Long Harbour in 2015 and has deployed over £450m for the Multifamily programme in this period. Having raised a further £500mn of equity in 2019, Rebecca is responsible for the entire delivery cycle from strategy and deal origination through to structuring, delivery and asset management phase. Prior to joining Long Harbour, Rebecca spent 8 years at Laing O’Rourke working in their property and PFI investment team. Here she worked on their offsite delivery solution, securing the planning and delivery of 1.3mn sqft of mixed-use space and over 4,000 residential units in Ireland, UAE and UK.
Global Cities Director
As the Global Cities Director for Arcadis, John leads a global team dedicated to delivering outcomes that improve quality of life, safely and sustainably.
John is a globally recognized thought leader in urban sustainability and water and has more than three decades of experience in the field. He now leads a portfolio of eighteen global cities for Arcadis. Prior to his current positions, he was the Executive Vice President and the Director of Strategic Client Development for Arcadis North America; and Global Water Director. John has a wealth of experience which includes management of drinking water, wastewater utilities, water for industry, water quality and public health, marketing, communications and customer and public relations.
John holds a BS degree in Environmental Sciences from The American University and a Master’s degree in Public Health from New York Medical College.
Chief Operating Officer, UK Development
Bek Seeley is the Managing Director for Development at Lendlease.
In her current role Bek is responsible for leading the senior development team for the successful delivery of Lendlease’s European pipeline including the Euston Estate, Thamesmead North, Birmingham Smithfield, Elephant Park, Silvertown Quays, IQL Stratford, Deptford Landings, High Road West and both Milano Santa Guilia and MIND in Milan.
Most recently she held the position of Chief Operating Officer for Development and was instrumental in winning a number of major projects for Lendlease, as well as overseeing operations and the overall growth of the business.
Before joining Lendlease in 2015 Bek’s career spanned the public and private sectors, having held a range of operational and commercial roles including in economic development, infrastructure, built environment and public services.
Bek regularly speaks at industry conferences and events, including at MIPIM and the West Midlands Forum for Growth.
Ashley was appointed Managing Director of St Joseph in May 2019. St Joseph is Berkeley Group’s newest division and with an aim of developing residentially led mixed use developments in the West Midlands. Ashley joined the Berkeley Group in 2000 and has held various posts in St James, Berkeley Commercial and St William. Ashley’s previous roles with the Group have been focused on property acquisition and securing planning permission on sites acquired in London and the Southeast.
UK Director of Development and Project Management
Having trained as a Civil Engineer and then Chartered Surveyor, Robin leads the development team and is responsible for bringing forward future regeneration schemes together with retail/asset extensions. Completed projects include The Oracle, Reading; Bullring, Birmingham; Highcross, Leicester; Cabot Circus, Bristol; Union Square, Aberdeen; Victoria Gate, Leeds and Watermark, Southampton.
He also worked with Hammerson France to deliver Terrasses du Port, a €450m retail led redevelopment of the Marseille docks which opened in 2014.
Robin also has responsibility for bringing forward pipeline Joint Venture development projects in Croydon and Brent Cross in London.
Robin sits on the CR Board and Investment Committee at Hammerson and is a member of the BPF and FRICS.
City Executive, Birmingham
Simon is Arcadis City Executive for Birmingham and the Midlands, with over 400 staff in the Birmingham office. With 30 years property and asset experience he helps clients make the best of their built and natural assets in relation to achieving their vision, strategy and key priorities. He has led and delivered a range of projects across the public, private and infrastructure sectors and has a deep understanding of the placemaking, housing and regeneration arena.
Arcadis is the leading global Design & Consultancy firm for natural and built assets. Applying our deep market sector insights and collective design, consultancy, engineering, project and management services we work in partnership with our clients to deliver exceptional and sustainable outcomes throughout the lifecycle of their natural and built assets. We have knowledge and expertise to improve the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world.
Arcadis client base spans the public and private sector and we are delivering some of the most exciting projects in the region. Working on amongst others High Speed 2, UK Central, Arena Central, Perry Barr Regeneration & Commonwealth Games Alexander Stadium Redevelopment.
Public Sector Speakers - Elected
Cllr Matthew Holmes
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning & Transportation
Derby City Council
Cllr David Mellen
Nottingham City Council
David has over 30 years’ experience of local government, the public and voluntary sector. He has been a Nottingham City Councillor for 18 years, the cabinet lead for Children and Young People for 11 years and in May 2019 was elected Leader of Nottingham City Council.
David has been responsible for education, children and young people and community safety. In May 2019, David became the lead for Regeneration, Schools and Communications. With an unprecedented series of developments, including the £2bn regeneration of the Southside of the city well underway, the next few years will provide a huge opportunity for Nottingham to further enhance its reputation.
David has chaired the Crime and Drugs Partnership, served on East Midlands Councils, LGA City Regions Board, Nottingham Education Trust, D2N2 LEP Board with extensive experience leading strategic vision and implementing change. Prior to undertaking his role as Councillor and Leader, David was a head teacher at a Nottingham school.
Cllr Ian Ward
Birmingham City Council
Ian Ward has been a Birmingham City Council Councillor since 1995 and has been Leader of the Council since 2017. He was previously Deputy Leader of the Labour Group (2005-2017) and Deputy Leader of the Council (2012-17).
As Leader of Europe’s largest local authority, Ian has responsibility for a wide range of areas including the development and implementation of the Council Business Plan and financial strategy, structure and governance of the Council, communications, Council-wide efficiency and the delivery and promotion of sports.
With Birmingham attracting record investment, he is also responsible for major projects, economic growth and jobs, inward investment, housing development and the promotion of Birmingham regionally, nationally and internationally. He has lead responsibility for the city’s Business Improvement Districts and for the Birmingham Development Plan, the city’s statutory planning framework document.
He is West Midlands Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Transport, having previously held the Economy role.
During a political career spanning 25 years, Ian has undertaken lead roles across a wide range of areas. He has also been Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, served on many cultural partnership bodies and Arts boards, including Cultural West Midlands, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Hippodrome. He served for many years on the Planning Committee and the Integrated Transport Authority for the West Midlands.
As Deputy Leader of the Council, Ian had political responsibility for budgets, land and property holdings, human resources and equality policies, the Council’s performance, Customer Services and Communications and the Council’s Sport portfolio. He successfully led Birmingham's bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games and has also been instrumental in attracting a host of national and international sporting events to the city.
Sir Peter Soulsby
Leicestershire County Council
I was born in Bishop Auckland and studied at City of Leicester College of Education and the University of Leicester. In 1973, I was elected to Leicester City Council.
Eight years later, I became Leader of the Council – a position I held almost continuously for the next 17 years.
During this time, I oversaw the council’s transition from district council to a unitary authority, taking on responsibility for all local government services in Leicester. I also spearheaded Leicester’s City Challenge programme, bringing over £400m of jobs and regeneration to Leicester – including the land for the King Power Stadium and the development of the National Space Centre.
In 1999, I was immensely proud to be knighted by the Queen for services to the City of Leicester.
In 2005, I contested, and won, the parliamentary seat of Leicester South and remained as a Member of Parliament for that constituency until April 2011, when I resigned the seat in order to stand for election as Leicester’s first directly elected City Mayor.
On May 5th 2011, I won that election, and I was re-elected in 2015, and I am privileged to have been re-elected in May 2019 to serve as Leicester’s City Mayor for a third term.
I've lived in Leicester for more than 40 years. My late wife and I had three children, Cassandra, Eleanor and Lauren, and nine grandchildren.
Cllr Matthew Holmes
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning & Transportation
Derby City Council
Elected in 2008, Matthew rose quickly through the ranks within his political group to become its deputy leader.
In 2010 he became deputy leader of Derby City Council with cabinet portfolio that included regeneration, planning and climate change.
He left that role in 2012 and went on to further establish himself as a leading Derby City councillor.
In 2018 he took the role of Deputy Leader of the Council for the second time and currently holds a portfolio that includes Strategic Regeneration, Planning, Inward Investment and Transport.
Matthew has enjoyed a varied career in the music industry, leisure and retail sectors and is currently a Senior Network Specialist within the NHS, a role he continues to hold alongside his busy council work.
Deputy Leader of Derby City Council.
Cabinet member for Regeneration, Planning & Transportation.
Mickleover Ward Councillor & Neighbourhood Chair
Cllr Barry Lewis
Derbyshire County Council
Councillor Barry Lewis became the Leader of Derbyshire County Council in May 2017, having served on the county council since 2009.
In addition to his leadership responsibilities, Barry is the county council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture and Tourism.
Holding a Masters in Archaeology and Heritage Management following his BA (Hons) degree in Environment and Archaeology, Barry had a near 20 year-long career in archaeology and heritage management, including delivering a successful programme for the University of Nottingham in Malaysia.
He also wrote a book on the deep history and archaeology of hunting in Britain from the Ice Age to the present, as well as a number of magazine and journal articles. He maintains an interest in the built heritage of the Midlands region and is a life member of the Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust.
Barry is a local businessman, the owner and Managing Director of Amber Valley Wines, a Derbyshire vineyard, and the owner of Derwent Mills Cottages, a small but busy holiday letting business.
He is also a volunteer adviser and former Chief Executive of Wines of Great Britain, a high-profile national body dedicated to the growing of vines, production and marketing of UK wines.
Leicestershire City Council
Nicholas Rushton lives in Ashby de la Zouch, in Northwest Leicestershire. He has been the Leader of Leicestershire County Council since 2012 and his portfolio includes Strategic and External Relationships, Economic Development, Resilience and Planning for Minerals and Waste. He has been Chairman of the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Combined Fire Authority since 2015. Nicholas is also a board member of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership. Nicholas has been a county councillor from 1989-93 and again from 2001 to present. He also sits on Northwest Leicestershire District Council and Ashby Town Council since 1986 and he is currently lead member for Finance and Resources for both councils. On the national scene, Nick is a member of the Local Government Association’s General Assembly and is a member of its Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board. Nick is also the East Midland’s representative on the LGA’s Executive Board. Nick is the Vice-Chairman of the County Councils Network, the national body representing upper tier county authorities lobbying government for finance and local government reform. Nick is also an Executive Board member of East Midlands Councils and is a Board member of the Midlands Engine and Midlands Connect Strategic Steering Group.
Cllr Abi Brown
Stoke-on-Trent City Council
Abi Brown was first elected to Stoke-on-Trent City Council in 2010, and has been Leader of the Council since May 2019, as well as holding the Corporate Resources, Strategy & Partnerships portfolio. Prior to that, she was Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Partnerships from May 2015. Abi enjoys leading big projects, and alongside her current role, is also the Chairman of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s housing company, Fortior, and a board member of its Registered Provider arm. She is Chairman of the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone project board, one of the most successful EZs in the country, a project she has led since inception. Abi also led Stoke-on-Trent’s shortlisted bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021, as well as bringing the Poppies: Weeping Window to the city in 2018. A familiar speaker at regional and national events, Abi’s interests include all aspects of regeneration.
Cllr Alan White
Staffordshire County Council
Cllr Ian Courts
Leader and Portfolio Holder for the Economy
Ian Courts was elected to Solihull Council in 2003 to represent Dorridge and Hockley Heath Ward. As a Councillor, Ian has served as Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economic Development, and Regeneration for a number of years, apart from 2010-11, when he was Mayor of Solihull. Ian has been involved throughout with the development of the UKCentral brand for Solihull. Ian became Leader of Solihull Council in 2019, having served as Deputy Leader since 2014. In his role as Leader, he sits on several regional external bodies, including the West Midlands Combined Authority as Portfolio Lead for Environment & Energy and HS2. He also sits on the board for the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Economic Partnership and chairs the GBSLEP European Structural Funds Committee. Educated at a state school in the Isle of Ely, before being awarded an Exhibition to Trinity Hall to study Law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge University. Qualifying as a solicitor with a large London legal practice, Ian joined the John Laing Construction Group, went into business management and stayed with the firm for over 30 years until retirement in 2004. He has particular interests in business and spatial planning, climate change, environment and the natural world. He travels widely.
Cllr Ian Brookfield
City of Wolverhampton Council
Ian is the Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council and the Wolverhampton Labour Group.
As Leader Ian is also the Chair of the Cabinet, the decision-making body at the council. His priorities focus on attracting businesses to the city which will provide good, well paid jobs and investing in support for children and young people, so they get the best possible start in life.
Before becoming Leader in May 2019, Ian served as Mayor, Chair of the West Midlands Pension Fund and Chair of the City Council finance committee.
He sits on the Board of the West Midlands Combined Authority where he is the portfolio holder for economy and innovation. As part of this regional role he is also the lead for the emerging Screen Industry Body which aims to transform the current screen industry, helping to drive investment, growth and create thousands of new jobs.
Before becoming a full-time politician, Ian worked as a qualified nurse in the North West and the West Midlands and more recently worked at the Royal Mail in Wolverhampton.
Public Sector Speakers - Officers
Director Business Development and Associate Professor
Lincoln International Business School, University of Lincoln
Marion Plant OBE
Principal & Chief Executive Officer
North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College
- Deputy Chair and Trustee of WorldSkills UK
- Vice Chair for the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and skills lead
- Board member of Coventry University and Chair of the Academic Affairs committee
- Member of Coventry and Warwickshire Skills Advisory Panel
- Vice Chair of the Nuneaton Towns’ Fund Board
- Trustee of the National Society Council (Church of England)
- Member of the Education & Skills Funding Agency Advisory Group
- Member of the Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Programme Board
- Founder member of Colleges West Midlands
Director of Policy & Infrastructure - East Midlands Councils/TfEM
Strategic Policy Advisor - Midlands Connect
- Housing – Management of the Council’s housing services including housing options, homelessness, private sector housing, housing enforcement, regeneration and commissioning.
- Strategic Planning – Leadership of the strategic land use planning service including Telford & Wrekin Local Plan, neighbourhood planning and infrastructure delivery planning.
- Business Growth – oversight of the Council’s business support services including the Telford Growth Hub and all age employment support programmes
- Enterprise Telford – Management of the Council’s inward investment services
- Estates & Investments – Management of the Council Commercial Property Investment Portfolio. Asset Register, Management of public sector land disposals (both Council and Homes England).
- Development Management – Management of all Planning and associated applications, Enforcement, Councils ecological and historic assets, Building Control.
- Housing Investment Programme – Councils wholly owned housing company Nuplace, which has delivered over 400 units to date with a further 400 in the pipeline.
- Building Innovation Telford – Management of the Councils operational property assets, integrated design and project management service, PFI contract management
Prof Mohammed Arif
Prof of Sustainability & Construction Futures
University of Wolverhampton
Prof Mohammed Arif is the Head of School for School of Architecture and the Built Environment. He is also a Professor of Sustainability and Construction Futures. Prof Arif also heads the Brownfield Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC). Prof Arif has been instrumental and has led the National Brownfield Institute (NBI) initiative which is now funded under the Get Britain Building fund. Prof Arif has also led a range of initiatives in Brownfield including the development of BRIC Index, which is a way to classify Brownfield sites based on a range of parameters. His other major initiative has been to connect a range of national databases for a comprehensive evaluation of Brownfield sites. Prof Arif also works in the area of Social Return on Investment (SROI) and has been looking at assessing SROI for Brownfield sites. Prof Arif is also a prolific research professor and has more than 150 refereed articles to his credit and has supervised 26 PhD students and has received £23 million is external funding.
Director of Development
Wellesbourne , University of Warwick
Martin is Director of Development for the University of Warwick’s Wellesbourne campus, where his role is to spearhead the development of one of the region’s most important research and development focused investment sites.
Martin has been in post since April and joined the University after 12 years at Coventry City Council, most recently as Executive Director of Place where he was responsible for the new council headquarters at Friargate and the major City Centre South investment. He led the successful national bid for the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre bid, building the public-private partnership for the centre which is now based in Coventry. Martin is also the Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Strategic Director of Communities & Place
Derby City Council
Rachel joined Derby City Council in September 2019 as Strategic Director of Communities and Place, coming from West Sussex County Council where she was Director of Communities. As Deputy Chief Executive at Derby she has responsibility of a wide range of front facing services to communities and leads on the Council’s partnership working with businesses, the voluntary and community sector and cultural partners to build confidence in the future of the city.
Over a 30 year career in local government Rachel has worked for a variety of councils in different regions but always as a champion for the power of public services working alongside the communities they serve to unlock creativity and drive better outcomes.
Head of City Development,
City of Wolverhampton Council
Liam has over 17 years’ worth of experience in both the public and private sector and specialises in high profile development projects. Liam is responsible for driving forward the development and delivery of large scale strategies, partnerships, major interventions, programmes and projects for the cities growth and regeneration in all property sectors.
Having previously lead on the WMCA’s acquisitions programme, and as Land & Property Director at Court Collaboration he has a strong background in acquiring a number of development sites. Prior to this, as Head of Major Projects at Birmingham City Council, he led on multiple city centre disposals, was involved in the delivery of the Advanced Manufacturing Hub at Aston and the Peddimore scheme, negotiated the Paradise Circus partnership and was the lead Council officer on the New Street / Gateway project directly dealing with the disposal of the Grand Central shopping centre, which sold for £340m and won the national RICS project of the year in 2016.
Executive Director: Housing & Land
Greater London Authority
David Lunts joined Old Oak and Park Royal Development as the Interim Chief Executive Officer in February 2019. Whilst leading on delivering London’s largest Opportunity Area, he continues on a part time basis with his responsibilities as the Executive Director for Housing and Land at the GLA.
Between 2009-2012 David led as the Executive Director for London at the Homes and Communities Agency. His earlier career included three years at the GLA as Executive Director of Policy and Partnerships under Ken Livingstone, a leading role in housing and regeneration with Manchester City Council during the 1980s and early 90s and a three-year spell as director of Urban Policy for John Prescott at the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Director Business Development and Associate Professor
Lincoln International Business School, University of Lincoln
Ruchi is a business professional with over 2 decades of multi-industry, cross cultural experience across UK and India. She has worked in diverse industries like Sports, Telecom and IT @ Microsoft - before joining the University of Lincoln, where she is Director Business Development at the Lincoln International Business School.
Ruchi manages business relationships in Greater Lincolnshire, across the UK and even internationally. She is additionally the Regional International lead for India, building key partnerships across nations. She and her team have received many awards for their work at the University, which span innovations with local businesses, the Military and International partnerships.
As an additional interest, Ruchi is a keen speaker on Diversity and inclusion, with a focus on Inspiring Women leaders. She is currently authoring her first book on Women Leadership which focuses on taking charge and ‘Getting off the Sticky Floor’.
Head of Media
East Midlands Airport
Ioan Reed-Aspley is East Midlands Airport’s Head of Media. Having started his career over 20 years ago running theatre press offices, he has since held communications roles in local government, the NHS, and for a national conservation charity. Immediately prior to joining MAG (the company that owns East Midlands Airport) he provided freelance communications advice to a number of organisations in the region including Nottingham University Business School and Futures Advice, Skills and Employment.
Marion Plant OBE
Principal & Chief Executive Officer
North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College
Marion Plant is Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) and Chief Executive of the Midland Academies Trust which is responsible for four secondary schools. Marion also served a 3-year term as a non-executive director at the Department for Education. In 2018 Marion was awarded the ‘Business Woman of the Year Award’ by the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce and in September 2019 was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Leicestershire Live Women in Business Awards, devised to celebrate the outstanding achievements of female professionals in the region.
She serves on several national/ regional bodies including:
Strategic Director for Communities
Warwickshire County Council
Mark leads the Communities Directorate at Warwickshire County Council, which brings together Education, Fire and Rescue, as well as a range of front-line services including: Waste Management; Highways; Planning; Public and School Transport; Fleet Management and Civil Engineering Design Services; Trading Standards; Community Safety and Economic Development.
In support of the Council’s priority of supporting economic growth, Mark’s responsibility extends to Economy, Skills, Infrastructure and Regeneration; a main driver of which is to facilitate the investment of businesses within Warwickshire and support them to grow and succeed.
Originally from North Devon, Mark joined Warwickshire County Council in 2003 from Gloucestershire County Council, having previously worked for both Devon and Somerset. With over thirty years’ local government experience and a professional background in consumer law, Mark has previously held a number of Assistant Director roles spanning regulatory services; transport; economy and regeneration.
Mark lives with his family, including two teenage sons, in Hatton, Warwickshire and, away from work, Mark cites running and following the fortunes of West Bromwich Albion as his main interests.
Lincoln Science & Innovation Park
Tom Blount has been Director of Lincoln Science and Innovation Park since 2014. In that time he has opened or acquired more than 10,000m2 of high end laboratory and office space near Lincoln city centre. In the last 3-years alone, this has seen new technology businesses in Lincoln raising more than £10m of external finance and creating more than 100 new, graduate level jobs.
Lincoln Science and Innovation Park is now in the process of agreeing a £10m investment to begin expansion onto Phase II of its development.
Prior to his move to Lincoln, Tom worked for University of Warwick Science Park and ran the Advantage Proof of Concept Fund in the West Midlands.
Prof Liz Atkins
Professor of Vocational Education and Social Justice
Liz Atkins is Professor of Vocational Education and Social Justice at University of Derby, UK. Her research has focussed on low-attaining young people, and the way in which their transitions from school to work are variously constrained and enabled by their VET programmes. Liz uses qualitative approaches in her research which is theoretically informed by concepts of social justice, and in her research practice attempts to ‘do’, as well as ‘make’ social justice. She has published widely on issues related to vocational education and work, as well as on aspects of qualitative research. Her forthcoming book, co-authored with Bill Esmond, Educating for the hour-glass economy? Technical elites, reproduction and social justice, will be published by Routledge in 2021
University of Leicester
William is the Commercial Director at University of Leicester leading on spin-out development and the commercialisation of intellectual property. He has been working on the development of Space Park Leicester over the past 5 years, working with local and national partners to build a vision and delivery of a major new innovation campus focussing on satellite data and space engineering. SPL will provide a major new infrastructure asset for the UK space economy and will be transformational for Leicester and the Midlands. The project reflects his professional background in innovation, industrial marketing, inward investment and regional economic development.
Professor Ming Sun
Associate Dean for Research
Nottingham Trent University
Professor Ming Sun is Associate Dean for Research at the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University. He is responsible for leading and managing research and research related activities across the School. Ming studied architecture for his first degree and completed a PhD at Newcastle University in 1993. He subsequently started a successful academic career and has worked in five universities in the UK. He is an international leading researcher with nearly 30 years research experience in information technology applications in construction, construction project management and sustainable buildings.
Director of Policy & Infrastructure - East Midlands Councils/TfEM
Strategic Policy Advisor - Midlands Connect
Andrew is responsible for East Midlands Council’s work on infrastructure, transport (including rail franchising) and development. He acts as the principal advisor to Transport for the East Midlands (TfEM) chaired by the Mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby and to the HS2 Executive Board chaired by the Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council Cllr Kay Cutts MBE. He is also the professional lead for the EMCs Low Cost CPD programme for planners. In addition, Andrew provides policy support to Midlands Connect, the sub-national transport body for the Midlands, and to the project team working to establish a locally led development corporation in the East Midlands. In a personal capacity, Andrew is a Corporate Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), a Trustee and a Vice Chair of the Town & Country Planning Association, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Digital & Skills Portfolio Co-Lead
West Midlands Young Combined Authority
At the age of 17, Kari is a successful AI consultant, and the founder of Youth4AI. An Artificial Intelligence Youth Program with the sole aim to encourage more young people to explore and understand the world of AI.
Kari’s rapid rise within the tech world has been acknowledged with multiple awards, with the most recent been named Barclays Entrepreneur Awards 2019 “Icon of the Year” for the Midlands region.
Additionally, she is an in-demand event speaker and a champion of young entrepreneurship and Generation Z voices and currently sits on the West Midlands Combined Authority Young Board, as co-portfolio lead for both skills and digital, as well as serving as an official observer for the West Midlands 5G board.
Head of Energy Services
Nottingham City Council
Wayne Bexton is Head of Energy Services at Nottingham City Council and has worked in public sector energy and sustainability fields for over 15 years, having previously delivered sustainability advice in the private sector. Wayne has delivered numerous high profile, high value environmental projects and programmes for the public sector across the East Midlands, receiving industry recognition along the way including the National Lottery Awards Environment Category Winner, Solar Power Portal - Best Commercial Project and the Access Alliance Best Scheme Award. Currently leading on Nottingham’s ambitious energy and carbon neutral delivery programme, which is recognized as the leading local authority response to the climate emergency.
Corporate Director Development & Growth
Nottingham City Council
Chris has supported the growth of Nottingham City’s economy over the past 7 years - helping to achieve historically low levels of unemployment, the development of a new knowledge-based economy and the current regeneration of the City Centre. He has played a leading role in the development of the Midlands Engine and the Derby-Nottingham Metro. Chris has 25 years’ experience of economic development and public sector strategy – working for central government, local government and the private sector. Currently his favourite activity is counting the number of cranes rising across Nottingham and the number of jobs flowing from these developments.
Born and raised a Londoner, Chris moved to the East Midlands in 2008 and has become a passionate advocate for it – recognising its unparalled combination of quality of living and economic dynamism.
Acting Assistant Director, Planning & Development
Birmingham City Council
Simon is the Acting Assistant Director within the Planning and Development service area for Birmingham City Council. As a qualified Architect Simon is Birmingham City Council's lead design advisor championing design quality within the built environment.
Having responsibility for 'Specific Specialist Areas' such as the City Design Team, City Centre Planning Management, City Centre Development, Enforcement and Householder Simon encourages and enables the highest standards of Place Making, Planning, Architecture, Urban Design, Arboriculture, Historic Conservation and Landscape Design across all new development in the City for the benefit of all the citizens of Birmingham.
Simon is known for his ability to successfully combine Architecture and Urban Design to create holistic environments and is responsible for recent Masterplans such as ‘Birmingham Curzon HS2 Masterplan for growth’, ‘Birmingham Smithfield Masterplan’, ‘Langley Sustainable Urban Extension’ and most recently the ‘Rea Valley Urban Quarter Masterplan’.
This includes acting as the focal point on design issues and stimulating design quality through multi-agency project team working and close interaction with external developers, key stakeholders and partners in relation to the design of new development being promoted and managed through the Planning and Development Service that reflects the international standing of the City of Birmingham.
Simon is listed in the Birmingham Central University ‘Sphere of Influence’ the 50 top influencers within the architecture and landscape sector to graduate from the Birmingham School of Architecture.
Kevin is Chief Executive of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council having been appointed by the Council in April last year.
Prior to taking up this role at Dudley, Kevin was Director of Governance and Solicitor to the Council at the City of Wolverhampton Council for over 5 years.
Kevin has held Board Level roles in Local Government, always in the West Midlands.
By profession, a Solicitor of over 30 years’ experience, Kevin specialises in Local Authority Governance, with a keen interest in developing high performing business units across service blocks.
Kevin is passionate about enhancing the skills sets, experiences and learning of young people so that they develop an interest in life long personal development based on a sound education while at school.
Whilst not at work, Kevin is a keen amateur cook, a past regional finalist on TV’s Master Chef and is currently taking flying lessons.
Executive Director: Place
As Executive Director: Place for Shropshire Council, Mark leads their work in the areas of economic growth & development, infrastructure, assets, planning housing, waste, leisure & culture. In addition to addressing the COVID-19 recession, current areas of focus are progressing plans to develop 1,000 new homes through the Councils own housing company, delivering the new bypass to the north of Shrewsbury, progressing the redevelopment of the Riverside area of Shrewsbury and chairing the River Severn Partnership.
Mark joined Shropshire two years ago having been an equity partner in an international private sector consultancy, but previous to that held key positions as the Strategic Director for Development & Culture at Birmingham City Council and Chief Executive of Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council. He also led the establishment and management of the Greater Birmingham Local Enterprise Partnership, helping to lay the foundations for the West Midlands Combined Authority.
He is a Chartered Building Surveyor by profession, is a Visiting Professor: Urban Policy & Development at Birmingham City University and is an Associate the Local Government Information Unit for whom he authors ‘briefing’ papers across the public sector.
City of Wolverhampton Council
Tim has been Chief Executive of the City of Wolverhampton Council since July 2018. Prior to this, he was the council’s Deputy Managing Director and Strategic Director of Place where his portfolio of responsibilities included city development, city housing, city transport, city environment, corporate property and commercialism.
Tim has extensive experience as a strategic local government director, specialising in place shaping, organisational change management and community regeneration. He has a proven track record of developing and delivering complex, innovative projects and programmes and has overseen a regeneration programme which has £4.4 billion of public and private investment either on site or planned in the city. He is currently helping lead the local and regional response to the Covid-19 public health crisis, focusing on the economic recovery of Wolverhampton and the wider West Midlands.
In the seven years he has worked at the City of Wolverhampton Council, Tim has played a major part in the transformation of the city and the council. This was nationally recognised in June 2017 when the City of Wolverhampton Council won a record four awards at the prestigious MJ Local Government Achievement Awards 2017 including Local Authority of the Year, Most Improved Council and Senior Leadership Team of the Year.
Tim has over 20 years’ experience in local government working for Liverpool City Council, London Borough of Hillingdon, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council before joining the City of Wolverhampton Council in May 2013.
He represents City of Wolverhampton Council on a number of external forums across the region and city including the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Association of Black Country Authorities, Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), West Midlands Growth Company and WM5G Company Limited.
Head of Service
Leicestershire County Council
Jon Bennett has been Head of Service for Leicestershire County Council’s Strategy Property Services for the last four years. He has extensive experience and before joining the council, worked in the private sector for nearly 25 years, specialising in property development and acquisition.
In his current role, Jon leads the team that ensures the council’s property portfolio is optimised and is in line with the needs of the authority. He is also responsible for developing, managing and delivering the council’s approach to generating rent and capital receipts from its land and buildings - and generating renewable energy for both income and as a contribution to the authority’s carbon reduction strategy.
The commercial properties and investments are held in the council’s Corporate Asset Investment Fund which has a capital value of £172m and generates £7.5m pa.
Director – Housing, Employment & Infrastructure
Telford & Wrekin Council
Current role includes:-
Katherine has worked in local Government for over 20 years starting her career as a Planning Officer and progressing to head up services from waste management, housing policy, strategy and homelessness through to property & estates, planning, skills and economic development.
Katherine led the transformation of the Council’s core development services bringing them together and embedding key cultural change to deliver a business focussed, coordinated service focussed on delivering sustainable growth, delivering flourishing communities alongside a commercial return.
Leading the Council Team that negotiated the Telford Land Deal with MHCLG – a unique Government Deal this is delivering £44.5m from the sale of government owned land in Telford back into site preparation, infrastructure and job creation. The Deal won the APSE Best Collaborative Working Initiative in 2018 and has been recognised by the LGC and MJ for Innovation in Finance and Commercialisation of the Property Estate.
A Director of Nuplace, Telford & Wrekin Council’s wholly owned Housing Company, which has constructed and owns and manages over 400 private and affordable rent properties in Telford and is currently developing further sites incorporating delivery of supported and specialist homes.
Currently leading on the £25m Telford Town Deal having delivered a range of high street and estate regeneration programmes.
Katherine has a BA (Hons) degree in Geography and an MA in Environmental Planning Nottingham and is Chartered Member of the RTPI.
Director – Prosperity & Investment
Telford & Wrekin Council
Service Area Responsibilities:
Predominant experience gained working in Local Authorities in the West Midlands in roles within Regeneration, development and property management. Career highlights to date include:
Overseeing Council rationalisation programmes – delivering over £100million of capital receipts and over £10million of revenue savings.
Management of unique devolution deal with Homes England, to accelerate the delivery of public sector land holdings for both Housing and commercial development.
Regeneration projects – involved in the delivery of a range of Regeneration schemes including Southwater (a leisure led development including new cinema, hotels, restaurants and library).
Commercial Property investment portfolio - overseen the management/improvement of Local Authorities portfolios to increase in income.
£50m Investment fund - delivery of a range of investments to generate additional revenue. The majority of the investments being delivered where the Council has acted as developer, including new hotel’s, industrial and retail units.
Chief Executive Officer
Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee
Ian is the Chief Executive Officer for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and for the last 2 years has been overseeing the establishment of the Organising Committee and early stages of planning and delivery of the city and the region’s largest-ever cultural and sporting event.
He brings a wealth of Games, finance and commercial experience to this role, having served as Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games from 2009 to 2015, leading the Corporate Services and Support Functions including finance, legal, procurement, HR, programme management and office management. The event procured almost £250m of goods and services, recruited 1,500 staff and exceeded attendance and commercial targets.
Ian’s previous roles include Head of Commercial Finance for AG Barr plc and sat on the Board of Funkin Cocktails Limited.
Director of Property Services & Development
Coventry City Council
Richard is a chartered surveyor with over 30 years professional property experience in both the public and private sectors.
Richard has extensive expertise in delivering complex development projects and has considerable experience in taking projects from inception through the development process to hand-over and occupation.
Richard works with council colleagues and with stakeholders outside the authority, working closely with Coventry University, Warwick University, JLR and WMG. He is also responsible for the Council's land disposal programme, working with national developers including Taylor Wimpey, Barratt's, Bellway and Persimmon.
He also represents the Council on several external bodies, he is a director of a number of Council owned or joint venture companies including Coombe Abbey Hotel and Friargate Joint Venture and he is the council's appointed director to the board of UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, a joint venture between CCC and Warwick Manufacturing Group. He was a Council appointed director to the board of the Ricoh Arena at the time of the sale of the arena to Wasps RFC.
In the past Richard has developed a number of high profile schemes in partnership with companies such as Richardson Capital, Land Securities and Barberry Developments.
Director of Regeneration and Enterprise
Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
Helen Martin is the Director of Regeneration and Enterprise at Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council. A Town Planner by background, Helen has worked for a number of authorities across the West Midlands region in her 24 years in Local Government. Helen has worked for Dudley MBC for the last 15 years and her current role covers Planning and Regeneration, Visitor Economy, Sports and Leisure, and Corporate Landlord. A key strategic aim for the division is delivering inward investment and regeneration projects and promoting Dudley, the Black Country and the West Midlands as a destination to live, work, invest in and visit. Helen and the team at Dudley have received national recognition for their role delivering regeneration and environmental improvements through multi agency projects.
Derby City Council
Paul joined Derby City Council in August 2019 as Strategic Director of Corporate Resources and Deputy Chief Executive. Prior to that he was at Milton Keynes Council, as their Deputy CEO, having previously been their Corporate Director for Resources. In January 2020, on the retirement of Derby’s current Chief Executive, he took on the role of Acting Chief Executive and then in March 2020, three days before lockdown, he was appointed to his current role of Chief Executive.
Paul is a qualified accountant and has worked in a wide variety of organisations including PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Ministry of Defence, Department for Education, the NHS and four other councils. He lives in Derby and actually started his career at Derby City Council, back in 1991, as a Trainee Accounting Technician.
Rachael is the Director of the Midlands Engine and has been in post since June 2019. Rachael’s career spans periods in local government, leadership roles in regional and national government agency - leading national programmes at scale - as well as consultancy for private sector firms delivering transformational programmes. Her career throughout has centred on strategic economic development and regional growth. She is a Committee Member of the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence, a Strategic Advisor for the Social Enterprise World Forum and Founder of Societi, the UK Foundation for Kawasaki Disease.
Lead Investment Officer
Greater Lincolnshire LEP
David has been part of the Economic Development team in North East Lincolnshire for over 25 years.
He has worked with the area's significant food and seafood sector and is the Council’s director on the board of Grimsby Fish Dock Enterprises Ltd - the company that manages the Fish Docks and Grimsby Fish Market.
David was a key player in attracting the early phases of development of the now world class offshore wind, operations & maintenance cluster in Grimsby. More recently the investment interest in land based, new energy and new fuels production on the South Humber bank has been a key focus.
David believes that the ports of Grimsby & Immingham (the largest by volume in the UK) with their potential for future Freeport status and the substantial Enterprise Zone allocation in the area creates an unrivalled opportunity for Greater Lincolnshire, the Midlands Engine, North and North East Lincolnshire Councils
Coventry City of Culture Trust
Prior to joining the Trust, Martin spent ten years as the Chief Executive of Royal & Derngate theatres in Northampton (where he also established the Core at Corby Cube arts centre). He previously led The Corn Exchange and New Greenham Arts in Newbury and was a theatre, comedy and dance producer and General Manager based in London.
Director – Development Corporation Programme
Ken leads a programme to form a locally led development delivery vehicle for the East Midlands. A role hosted by Nottinghamshire County Council on behalf of Midlands Engine. The programme is focused on the opportunities adjacent to the proposed HS2 Hub Station at Toton; Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station; and East Midlands Airport.
Ken is an experienced development and regeneration professional and Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute. Previous experience includes LCR Ltd, which is a commercial developer owned by DfT with a track record of leading the delivery of homes, jobs and investment around complex transport-linked land and property assets. He also worked at Solihull on plans behind the Urban Growth Company at ‘UK Central Hub’ incorporating Jaguar Land Rover, Birmingham Airport, NEC, the HS2 Interchange site, and various areas in between.
UK Central Solihull Urban Growth Company
Chief Executive, Nottinghamshire County Council & Chair
Midlands Engine Operating Board
Anthony was appointed to the post of Chief Executive of Nottinghamshire County Council in April 2015.
Formerly the Corporate Director for Children, Families and Cultural Services, and Deputy Chief Executive, Anthony has substantial experience in delivering strategic improvements to meet local and national priorities.
As Chief Executive, Anthony is the Head of Paid Service and has overall responsibility for the Council’s £1.1 billion budget and around 18,000 employees who work directly or indirectly for the Council.
Over the last 3 years, Anthony has also played a role in the Midlands Engine. He is Chair of the Midlands Engine Operating Board and has oversight of the Engine’s strategic programmes and projects. Anthony is the Senior Responsible Owner for the East Midlands Development Corporation programme.
Anthony is the Chair of the Association of County Chief Executives, and also one of the nine chief executive leads (representing the East Midlands), working with MHCLG on the transition from the European Union.
Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Growth Hub/Risual
Director of Investment and Commercial Activities
West Midlands 5G
Ian Martin is the Investment and Commercial Activities Director for West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). Leading the development of the WMCA’s investment strategy ensuring its capital investment programme is on track to deliver the £8bn worth of benefits to the region over the next 30 years. This investment package consists of flagship projects such as HS2, extensions to the Midland Metro, devolved transport schemes and the regeneration of Coventry City Centre. Ian joined the WMCA from Homes England, where he led investment of the Government’s Home Building Fund into housing developments across the Midlands and the North West. He is a trained town planner, qualified as a chartered surveyor and has spent more than a decade working for real estate consultancy JLL, both in the UK and Hong Kong. His previous experience also includes working for Lloyds Banking Group, where he was responsible for corporate property finance lending in the regions.
Director of Housing and Regeneration
West Midlands Combined Authority
Gareth is Director of Housing and Regeneration for the West Midlands Combined Authority where he oversees over £600m+ of devolved housing and land funds across an area covering 19 local councils and 3 local enterprise partnerships. He leads the development and implementation of the region’s ambitious housing and regeneration strategy including its goal of delivering over 215,000 new homes by 2031 and for the region to lead nationally in design quality, advanced methods of construction, brownfield remediation and town centre regeneration. Gareth led the region’s negotiations with Government to secure its landmark housing deal in March 2018 and runs a directorate responsible for policy and delivery on town centre regeneration, brownfield development, employment land, land assembly and remediation, affordable housing, one public estate, design, housing supply and securing unprecedented new investment from the public and private sector into real estate.
From 2010 to 2017, Gareth worked in a variety of roles in Central Government. For nearly 3 years he was a policy adviser to the Prime Minister at No10 Downing Street during the Coalition and Conservative-led governments. In No10 he led on a variety of high profile policy areas including housing, energy, transport and local government including being at the forefront of No10’s role in key fiscal events and a variety of flagship policy announcements such as those on social care, starter homes, planning reform, and local government finance. During his time in Government, Gareth led a cross-Whitehall division responsible for securing regeneration and housing on the back of major infrastructure (e.g. HS2) and led work on town centres and coastal communities. In 2012 he led the Government’s flagship neighbourhood planning policy through Parliament as part of the Localism Act.
Prior to his time in Central Government, Gareth worked in variety of roles in local government in Devon including responsibilities around infrastructure planning, planning policy, and strategy. His largest project was securing the planning, design and delivery of the county’s planned new towns of Cranbrook and Sherford.
Gareth has an MSc with a Distinction in Planning from Cardiff University to which he was awarded an ODPM Bursary, is a chartered town planner, was a finalist in the young planner of the year competition and in 2016 was identified as ‘one to watch’ in Planning Magazine.
West Midlands Growth Company
Neil is Chief Executive of the West Midlands Growth Company. Supported by local authorities, universities and a wide range of regional businesses, the Growth Company was established in 2017 to create new jobs, expand existing businesses and attract new inward investment and visitors to the region. Its plans are aligned to the ambitions set out in the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Strategic Economic Plan. Previously, Neil held similar economic development roles in Liverpool and Newcastle upon Tyne. He is currently Chairman of the Midlands Trade and Investment Group, a member of the British Tourism Industry Group and sits on the LandAid Midlands Board. He is also a non-executive director of Creative England.
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.
Director of Regeneration
City of Wolverhampton Council
Richard is the Director of Regeneration at the City of Wolverhampton Council having been appointed to the role in August 2018.
Richard is an experienced director with over 20 years' experience in regeneration in the private and public sectors. He has held senior roles in Borough/District, Unitary and County Councils and has extensive delivery-based experience ranging from masterplanning and funding assembly, to land and property management and development. He has expertise in delivering housing, property, economic development and skills, transport, conservation and tourism schemes. Richard has led on largescale regeneration projects in Kent and Medway and the East and West Midlands including throughout the Combined Authority area.
He chairs the i54 development steering group and sits on a number of external forums across the region supporting the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Association of Black Country Authorities and Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Richard oversees the Enterprise and Skills, Adult Education, City Development, Planning and Local Economy functions and leads the city’s key regeneration priority projects such as Interchange and I9, Brewers Yard, Civic Halls, Canalside South and Westside.
Dr Julie Nugent
Director of Productivity & Skills
West Midlands Combined Authority
Dr Julie Nugent has extensive experience in the productivity and skills sector having held a range of senior roles across government and the further education sector. She has particular expertise in financing further education and has led on developing new funding systems for the Skills Funding Agency and the Learning and Skills Council. Julie has worked in the Black Country and in Birmingham which has provided her with a keen understanding of the importance of skills in improving economic competitiveness and people’s life chances.
Most recently Julie led on the West Midlands negotiations with Government securing the first Skills Deal in the country with additional investment of £100 million to develop the regions skills.
deborah cadman obe
West Midlands Combined Authority
Deborah became Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority in September 2017, following a long and distinguished career in public service.
After gaining a degree in politics, she began her career in 1984 with the London Borough of Newham, before moving to Birmingham City Council where she worked on major regeneration projects and gained a master’s degree in economics. Moving to Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council in 1996 as Head of Policy, Deborah gained a second master’s in management, before taking up a two-year secondment with the Department of Environment Transport and the Regions as Local Government Advisor to the Ministerial Team. In 2003, after being appointed the Audit Commission’s Best Value Service Lead Inspector for the London region, she became Chief Executive at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, before becoming Chief Executive of the East of England Development Agency. Deborah was Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council from 2011 to 2017 and has also been interim Chief Executive of Waveney District Council, Babergh District Council and Mid-Suffolk District Council.
She is a trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Trust and Joseph Rowntree Housing Foundation and as a dedicated and passionate female advocate at the forefront of the public sector, Deborah recently won the First Women Award for Public Service. Deborah is listed in Local Government Chronicle’s ‘100 Most Influential in the Sector’. Deborah was awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to local government.
Coventry City Council
Martin has been Chief Executive of Coventry City Council since April 2009. He was also the Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority from March 2016 to September 2017. He had previously been with Bedfordshire County Council for three and a half years as Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Executive. Martin has held senior leadership roles in a District and an outer London Borough and was Programme Director for WorkSmart; Westminster City Council’s flagship transformation programme. Martin spent much of his early career as a lecturer and researcher, and has a PhD in applied economics. He is a Professor (University Advisory Panel) at Coventry University; is the first Honorary President of LARIA (Local Authorities Research and Intelligence Association) and on the board of the Centre for Cities. He has been President of SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives) and is currently its national spokesperson on local government finance and future funding. He is the Local Government Association (LGA) National Procurement Champion. He is on the King’s Fund General Advisory Council and Chairs the National Cross System Board for Sustainable Health & Social Care.