LEP Board

Nicholas AmesNicholas Ames

Managing Director Supacat Ltd

Nicholas Ames joined Supacat in 2003 at a critical time in its development. He has assisted the team build its defence business and lead it into new sectors such as offshore renewable energy and oil and gas. He greatly enjoys the creativity of the organisation.

Nick is a qualified accountant who spent much of the early part of his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers in London consulting into large corporates and Government bodies. During this time he was also seconded to a water company in Zambia for two years where he assisted with commercialising the business as part of the privatisation process.

He left PwC and joined Serco Group in 1998 where he made the transition to General Management. Nick spent much of this time being responsible for parts of the Mainland Europe operations of the business. He was also seconded to a Private Equity organisation looking at ways of using the Private Equity model with the change management skills of Serco.

Nick is married with four children and enjoys most sports and outdoor activities. He coaches junior rugby at Crediton Rugby club and keeps bees at his home near Tiverton. Nick is a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge where he rowed in the 1988 Boat Race.

Nick Ames is the LEP’s SME Board Member

Nick Ames conflicts of interest

Simon BarkerSimon Barker

Director, Business Development – UK Government Business, AgustaWestland

Simon Barker joined Westland Helicopters Ltd in 1981 as a business trainee after graduation from the University of Bradford.

After a range of roles in the International Marketing and Corporate Planning areas of the Company, Simon took up his current role in 2008, where the key focus is on broadening AgustaWestland’s UK Business base to offset the decline in global defence expenditure in order to attract, retain and develop the key engineering and technical skills required to remain a major player in the world helicopter market.

Outside of work Simon’s main interests are Golf (14 handicap), Rugby (season ticket holder at Bath) and gardening.

Simon Barker conflicts of interest

Dr Stephen BirdDr Stephen Bird

Managing Director, South West Water Ltd

Dr Stephen Bird is South West Water’s (SWW) Managing Director. He is also a Director of Pennon Pension Trustees Limited.

Apart from his SWW responsibilities Dr Bird is Chairman of the Water UK Marine Waters Network and a member of its Environment Policy Advisory Group. He is also a Non-Executive Board Member of UK Water Industry Research Limited.

Prior to joining South West Water, he held posts in the Welsh Water Authority, National Rivers Authority and Wallace Evans Consultants as an Environmental Consultant.

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Managers, holds an MBA and is a Chartered Director.

Dr Stephen Bird conflicts of interest

Frances BrennanFrances Brennan

Vice chair HotSW Lep and Independent Consultant on employment and skills.

Frances has over 35 years experience within the ‘Welfare to Work’ sector both in public and private sectors.

Most recently as Regional Director for the South West for Working Links where she grew the business from its inception, delivering over 25 successful government programmes. Frances developed the stakeholder strategy for working with the newly developed Community

Rehabilitation Companies thus extending her knowledge of offender provision.

Frances is passionate about the South West and all aspects of social inclusion enhancing the positive impact of economic growth for local people.

Currently working with Pluss, an established Social Enterprise, as a Strategic Stakeholder Lead based in Exeter. Frances has also taken a role on the LEP Social Enterprise group to better understand and enhance the opportunities for local Social Enterprises.

Frances Brennan conflicts of interest

Martin BrownMartin Brown

Martin has a background in software and high-technology businesses. He has held a variety of positions in large technology companies such as Symantec and Sun Microsystems and more recently has been involved in the early-stage technology arena. Martin was part of the leadership team of ChangeBase, a UK software business, when it was acquired by Quest in the US. Martin is a board advisor to Digital Shadows, a cyber-security company based in London and San Francisco.

Martin lives in North Devon, is a non-executive director of North Devon+ and sits on the steering group of the Unlocking Business Investment programme for the Heart of the South West area. He is interested in the opportunities that the development of high-tech and internet businesses can bring to the region.

Martin Brown conflicts of interest

Adam ChambersAdam Chambers

Director, Smart Outcomes Limited

Adam runs Smart Outcomes, a specialised change management consultancy service provider, which he founded after leaving Serco. At Serco he was their director in the UK for economic development services with a particular focus on business support and adult skills provision. He established, and as CEO led, Peninsula Enterprise for a number of years prior to that. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Association for Project Management.

He is enthusiastic about developing the economy of the South West and works with public and private sector partners to help inform and develop economic strategy in the area. In the LEP he takes a particular interest in the development and management of capital investment projects and programmes.

Adam Chambers conflicts of interest

Stephen CriddleStephen Criddle

Principal & CEO, South Devon College

Stephen Criddle is the Principal and CEO of South Devon College, an Ofsted Outstanding general further education college.

Stephen joined South Devon College in 2003 as part of a leadership team transforming the College and in 2009 became Principal & CEO.

He has worked in education for over 20 years following time in industry and is a qualified Chartered Accountant.

Stephen is a trustee of the Devon Studio School and the South Devon UTC Trust and is passionate about the role of further education in raising aspiration, ambition and opportunities for local communities.

Stephen Criddle conflicts of interest

Paul DivianiPaul Diviani

Leader of East Devon District Council

Paul Diviani was elected Leader of East Devon District Council in 2011; he is also a Devon County Councillor for Honiton St Pauls Division, being elected in 2009. Paul was first elected to East Devon District Council in 1999.

Paul has held positions on numerous groups and committees of East Devon District Council. He is Chairman of the Blackdown Hills AONB and SDF Panel; Chairman of the ‘Making it Local’ RDPE Local Action Group; a member of Exeter and East Devon Point Board and of the LGA Rural Commission and Policy Review Team and Director of DR (formerly Devon Renaissance).

Paul has been involved in many business, catering and tourism related organisations and enterprises, including several years as a highly successful innkeeper.

Paul Diviani is the LEP’s Board member representing District Councils in Devon.

Paul Diviani conflicts of interest 

Nick EngertNick Engert

Consultant to Clarke Wilmott LLP

Nick Engert qualified as a solicitor in 1973 and practised in London and the Home Counties until joining Clarke Willmott at the end of 1975. Nick has specialised in planning, property development and associated public law.

Nick is a regular advocate for over thirty years at public inquiries into planning appeals and objections to Local Plan proposals. He was made a partner in 1979 and ultimately chairman of the whole firm in 2000. Nick retired from the partnership in 2009, but remains a consultant with Clarke Willmott with particular emphasis on advising land owners in respect of current major nuclear development proposals in Somerset.

He is a member of Taunton’s Supervisory Board advising the Council on Taunton’s planned expansion and chair of Taunton’s Business Forum.

Nick is committed to raising the profile and standing of the business community in the planning process and in respect of the allocation of available funding. He is also passionaite about to enhancing both the quality and diversity of economic opportunity, and the quality of life in the South West and on improving local access to university education and to skills training.

Nick Engert conflicts of interest 

David HallCouncillor David Hall

Deputy Leader, Somerset County Council

Councillor David Hall is the County Councillor for the electoral division of Bridgwater East and Bawdrip. He is the Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council.

David trained and worked as an accountant in both the manufacturing and retail business sectors. His career evolved within the software industry where he first worked as a business systems project manager, before moving on to business development and commercial relationships management. He now runs his own consultancy business and is a partner in a local property company.

Councillor Hall’s current portfolio includes: Cabinet Member, Business Inward Investment and Policy at Somerset County Council, with service responsibilities for Corporate Policy, the Business and Economy Group, New Nuclear Development, Road Safety, the Heritage Service, Scientific Services, Regulation, the Registration Service, Libraries and Minerals and Waste.

David Hall conflicts of interest

Steve HindleySteve Hindley

Chairman, Midas Group Ltd

Steve is Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.

Steve has over 40 years’ experience in the construction industry at both project and company board level. He is former Chair of the CBI Construction Council and the South West CBI Council.

In addition, Steve is a trustee and chairman for the Devon Community Foundation; a trustee of Children’s Hospice South West and was formally on the board of governors at the City of Bristol College.

He was awarded the CBE in the 2006 New Year Honours List for services to the Construction Industry; appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Devon in 2009 and had an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering conferred upon him by Exeter University in 2011.

Steve Hindley conflicts of interest

Tim JonesTim Jones

Chartered Surveyor/Commercial Property Developer

Tim Jones is Chairman of Devon & Cornwall Business Council, and a number of other organisations involved in economic development including Chairing Enterprise Plymouth and being a Board Member of Plymouth Employment Skills Board. He is also a Board Member of Plymouth Chamber, Vice Chairman of Plymouth Area Business Council and Board Member of North Devon+.

He is Chairman and Founder of Finance Cornwall Fund Managers Ltd.

Tim is also involved in a wide range of Criminal Justice Issues being a Special Advisor to HM Prison Services serving on the South West Regional Offending Board, is a Trustee of Broadreach which deals with a wide range of Drug and Alcohol Services and is a Patron of Tomorrow’s People.

Tim also served for 22 years as Chairman of the Princes Trust for Devon and Cornwall and as a South West Regional Board Member.

Tim has active business interests and has been involved for over 30 years in a wide range of property issues. Tim is now extensively involved in Commercial Property Development across the South West Peninsula and is Chairman for the Dartington Hall Trust Property Board and a Director within Belstone Fox Project Management Ltd and Wessex Investors Ltd.

Tim Jones conflicts of interest

Andrew LeadbetterAndrew Leadbetter

Andrew was elected to Devon County Council in 1997 – representing Topsham and St Loyes, Exeter. He is the Cabinet Member for Economy, Growth and Exeter (which also incorporates Transport and Strategic Planning) and is the DCC member on the Board of the Heart of South West Local Enterprise Partnership. For the previous four years he was Cabinet Member for Business Services, including Workforce, ITC, Procurement and Communications. In addition he is a Member of Exeter City Council and Chairs the Economy Scrutiny Committee.

Outside of Devon County Council, Andrew worked as a Director of Income Generation (West and Wales) for The Conservative Party during the Leaderships of William Hague, Michael Howard and Ian Duncan-Smith.

Previous Business interests have included Road Transport and Property. Now he advises on fundraising and organisational strategy and is a Director/Member of a number of National and Local Charities and organisations – including Chairman of The Devon County Scout Council/Board of Trustees and a Member of the Patrons Board of The Champions Club Community.

Andrew Leadbetter Decs of interest

Gordon OliverGordon Oliver

Mayor and Leader of Torbay Council

Gordon Oliver was elected as Mayor of Torbay in May 2011. He is one of 14 directly elected Mayors in the UK and the only one in the South West region.

Gordon was raised in Torbay before entering into employment with a bank. He spent more than 40 years as an estate agent, the last 15 years as proprietor of a countywide estate agency and property management business.

He entered into local government in 1969 when he was elected as a councillor on the former Torbay Borough Council, and for 24 years he also served on Devon County Council, being elected back on to the Torbay Council unitary authority in 2007.

Gordon has held non-executive appointments on several bodies including Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, South West Regional Health Authority and the West Country Tourist Board. He also served on the Assembly of European Regions from 1987 to 1998. He has been involved in several business and tourism-related organisations, and his interests include classic cars, antiques, local history and maritime events.

Gordon Oliver conflicts of interest

Judith PettsJudith Petts

Professor Judith Petts was appointed the University of Plymouth’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive in February 2016. She joined Plymouth from the University of Southampton where she had been Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise and previously the inaugural Dean of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (2010-13). Prior to this she had spent 12 years at the University of Birmingham as a Head of School and finally as Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research and Knowledge Transfer (2007-10).

Over some 30 years, her research has particularly examined the interface between science and policy-making, and the effective use of evidence in decision-making. Currently she is a member of the Council of BBSRC and of NERC’s Innovation Board. Previous appointments include as a member of the Science Advisory Council of Defra (2011-16); Royal Commission on Environmental of Pollution (2006-11), the Council of NERC (2000-6), of EPSRC’s Societal Issues Panel and Strategic Advisory Network, the Royal Society’s Science in Society Consultative Committee, and the Advisory Board of Veolia Environmental Services.

She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Year Honours, 2012, for services to Scientific Research.

Judith Petts conflicts of interest

Barbara ShawBarbara Shaw

Barbara has worked in housing for more than 15 years. In January 2012 she became Chief Executive of Westward Housing Group which manages 7,000 properties across the south west. Prior to this she worked for The Guinness Partnership and before that, Sovereign Housing. She began her career as a communications specialist and has held positions in the commercial, public and charitable sectors.

She is passionate about delivering great services to customers and making organisations highly efficient and professional, whilst still focusing on people. She has an MA in business management.

Barbara Shaw conflicts of interest

Harvey SiggsHarvey Siggs

Harvey Siggs is the Leader of Mendip District Council and Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways for Somerset County Council.

Harvey has served on both Councils in a number of roles. He is the Vice Chair of the South West Councils and Chair of the South West Employers’ Panel.

Harvey is also a Member of the Committee of Regions.

Harvey lives in Wells, Somerset. He is a motorcyclist and classic car enthusiast.

Harvey Siggs is the LEP’s Board member representing District Councils in Somerset.

Harvey Siggs conflicts of interest

Sir Steve SmithSir Steve Smith

Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Exeter

Professor Sir Steve Smith has been Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter since October 2002. Previously he was Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) and Head of the Department of International Politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and Director of the Centre for Public Choice Studies at the University of East Anglia.

Sir Steve is currently Chair of the UCAS Board Board member of the Russell Group; Member of the Times Higher Education (THE) Editorial Board; Board member of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership; a Trustee of the Education and Employers Task Force, and of the Eden Project.

He was President of Universities UK (UUK) – the representative body for the executive heads of UK universities – from 2009-2011, and remains a member of its International Policy Network.

Sir Steve holds a BSc, an MSc, and a PhD in International Relations from the University of Southampton. He has served as President of the world academic body in his field from 2003-2004.

Steve Smith conflicts of interest

Martha WilkinsonMartha Wilkinson

Martha Wilkinson is Chief Executive of the Devon Community Foundation, which she joined Devon Community Foundation in 2009 just as the economic crisis was hitting its stride and the Foundation needed a complete restructure and renewed focus. The Foundation distributes grants to local groups and organisations which are tackling disadvantage and deprivation across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay. She relishes the challenge of working with all sectors to bring about positive changes in the lives of the most vulnerable people.

Martha started her career in retail with the John Lewis partnership and spent 10 years working in retail, ICT and manufacturing. She then went on to join the Senior Management Team of Business Link Hereford & Worcester, and built upon that experience to start a Social Enterprise in East London which helped major multi nationals in the City of London and Docklands build supply chains with local small businesses in order to create prosperity and jobs in the deprived City Fringe area of London.

In 2002 Martha became a self-employed consultant in economic development. Her work included developing strategy, assessing and evaluating the impact of economic development and especially the engagement of local communities in development plans.

Martha loves to garden and cook at her home near Wiveliscombe in West Somerset which she shares with her husband and daughter.

Martha Wilkinson conflicts of interest

Ian Bowyer

Ian Bowyer is the Leader of Plymouth City council and has been a Councillor for 25 years. Ian has represented Eggbuckland Ward since 2006. Ian was the Cabinet Member for Finance 2007-2012 when he led the Council on the financial position and management of major projects including the Life Centre and Energy from Waste facility. Ian was Elected Leader of the Plymouth Conservative Group in 2013.

Ian Bowyer conflicts of interest

In attendance

Chris GarciaChris Garcia

Heart of the South West LEP Chief Executive, Chris Garcia

Chris Garcia was appointed as the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s Chief Executive in June 2013. Chris has a background in both public and private sector leadership roles and an in depth knowledge of building economic development partnerships working with the public, private, education and voluntary sectors.

One of Chris’s first early senior roles was as a partner at KPMG, focusing on the private sector in the South West. He later ran his own successful family business, providing new technology and knowledge sharing support to both government departments and major technology firms. Previously Chris also worked as the Director of Enterprise and Skills at the South West Regional Development Agency and for the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).

His senior management experience has included 13 years as a non executive director of a significant charity – a leader in the field of developing people and management. Alongside this role Chris worked closely with voluntary organisations, establishing the Western Development Partnership, a major economic development partnership for the West of England.

Chris is passionate about living in the South West and wants to ensure that Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay are equipped to work and succeed in a global economy, by driving economic growth and boosting jobs throughout the area.

Chris Garcia conflicts of interest

Additional conflicts of interest (non board members)

Keri Denton
Kevin Mowat
Mark Williams
Patrick Flaherty
Sean Fielding
Jerry Roberts
Stuart Brown
Tracey Lee