Managing Director Red Berry Recruitment Ltd
Helen has a 2:1 Hons Degree in Psychology and Business Management and 18 years recruitment experience.
Having held positions such as Training Manager, Corporate Account Manager, Branch Manager and Business Development Manager, Helen set Red Berry Recruitment Ltd up in 2007 to offer clients and candidates superlative Customer Service when using Recruitment consultancies
Red Berry Recruitment supply Temporary, Permanent and contract staff to the Blue Collar sectors, Finance, HR, Administration , Sales and Creative and with offices is Bridgwater, Yeovil and Shepton Mallet they cover all of Somerset and tip into Devon, Wiltshire and Dorset depending on the branch Location.
Since 2007 Red Berry Recruitment and Helen have won dozens of awards, including Employer of the Year, Business of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year and Young Director of the year.
In Helen’s spare time, she loves the gym and keeping fit, enjoying the odd shopping spree and travel.
Helen is also on the People group of the LEP, Chair for the Somerset IOD, Vice Chair for the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and a Non Exec for I2A, a subsidiary company of Yarlington Homes.
Dr Fiona McMillan OBE
Non Executive Director EDF Energy New Build Gen Co Ltd
Fiona McMillan’s career background is in Education and Training. She was Principal of Bridgwater College for 18 years, during which time she led the College through Incorporation, merger with a neighbouring land-based college and considerable growth. The College was graded outstanding by Ofsted in 2003, and continued to enjoy that status through out the rest of her tenure as Principal.
In 2003 Fiona was awarded an OBE for services to Further Education.
Following her retirement, Fiona was invited to join the Board of EDF Energy’s Nuclear New Build GenCo, and she has served on the Board as a Non Executive Director since then. Her particular focus on the NNB Board is on skills and training, and people development, as well as on stakeholder engagement.
Since 2016 Fiona has been chairing the Somerset County Council’s Employment and Skills Steering Group, and is also now chairing the West Somerset Social Mobility Opportunities Area Partnership Board.
Managing Director, Plymouth Citybus
Richard Stevens is the current Devon Chamber of Commerce; a role Richard is delighted and honoured to perform. Richard has embraced the role and enthusiastically committed his time and energy to promote the Chamber. Engaging with Stakeholders, Richard has been a champion for change; as a member he recognises the need to ensure the Chamber is inclusive and aligns itself with its Members, to that end Richard has sought to involve himself and the Chamber working with Plymouth’s other Business Organisations; Richard was a key contributor in the recent attainment of accreditation by the British Chamber of Commerce; as the Devon Chamber of Commerce.
Richard’s career is in public transport, Richard was appointed as Managing Director of Plymouth Citybus in May 2012. With a turnover in excess of 27 million pounds, Citybus serves over 17 million passengers a year and is the biggest public transport provider in Plymouth, employing 520 people and running a fleet of 185 buses to all corners of the city. Richard has more than fifteen years’ senior management experience of working in the bus industry in the South West of the UK. Previously Richard served as an Operations & Commercial Director for Stagecoach South West and was Operations Director for First Devon and Cornwall; prior to that he held a number of managerial roles, having begun his transport career in 1990 as a bus driver. Richard is particularly proud of Plymouth Citybus attainment of ‘Gold’ Investors in People Accreditation; Richard is passionate about people, he ensures his team live in a responsibility culture, where people are treated with unconditional positive regard. Richard believes that Citybus has a duty to be a good community partner, he encourages all employees to do their bit, the staff at Citybus assists many voluntary and charitable organisations across the city.
Richard is the current joint chair of the Plymouth Area Business Council, chair of the Plymouth Growth Board. Richard sits on the Devonport Task Force, One Plymouth, the Mayflower 400 Leadership group and the Peninsular Rail Task Force. Richard is also a director of Destination Plymouth; the destination management company; he is committed to working with all strategic partners, to ensure that the voice of business in Plymouth and the region is strong, unified and playing to its collective strengths.
In his spare time; Richard is Chair of Trustee’s for a local charity ‘Young Devon’ which works to change the odds in favour of young people. Having relocated his family to Plymouth, Richard is a member of Saltash sailing club, enabling him to indulge in his other passion; sailing.
Chief Executive, Applegate
Stuart is Chief Executive of Applegate, a leading eProcurement marketplace headquartered in Barnstaple and Plymouth. Applegate works with governments and businesses across the world, is a Strategic Partner to the US Department of Commerce International Trade Administration and a Knowledge Partner of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply.
He started his career in banking, serving as Head of E-Commerce Strategy at Barclays and later as Senior Vice President and Head of Digital Commerce at Visa International CEMEA. Under contract from the US Treasury he established the initial national payments infrastructure in Iraq following the 2003 war. In 2010, Stuart moved to Madrid to support the Initial Public Offering of Amadeus IT Group. Following the successful conclusion of the flotation, he was appointed Group Communications Director.
Stuart has served as a non-executive director on the boards of several companies, mainly in the technology sector, and as chairman of a venture capital trust. He has provided pro bono support to several charities including the Charities Aid Foundation West Africa, the Diocese of Exeter and Pilton House Trust and is a Governor of Petroc College.
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.
Finance Director, EIC Group
Jackie is a joint owner of family metal finishing business EIC Group/SW Metal Finishing Ltd, which has a turnover £7.8 million with 4 factories, all situated across the South West Region. The business employs 150 people.
Jackie’s primary responsibilities in the businesses are her roles as Finance Director of all group companies, and being responsible for the group commercial property portfolio, which has a value of £19 million in commercial property across the South West.
Jackie has been employed in the family business since 1999 and joined the board of WEAF in 2016. WEAF is a dynamic South West aerospace forum; board members being predominantly representatives from the aerospace OEMs. Jackie represents the SME community on the board of WEAF and provides financial expertise.
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.
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.
Managing Director, Yeo Valley
Karl is the Managing Director of family-owned dairy producer Yeo Valley. Based in the South West Yeo Valley employs 1,750 people across its sites. Karl joined Yeo Valley in 1996 and has held a number of roles including Finance & IT Director and Procurement Director before he took up the Joint MD role in 2013.
Prior to joining Yeo Valley Karl worked in the quarrying industry in the South West from 1989 to 1996, and before this he served in the British Army.
Karl is a qualified Chartered Management Accountant.
In addition to his role at Yeo Valley Karl is a member of the South West CBI council, the Somerset Growth Board and a Trustee of Young Bristol, a youth charity based in Bristol and a Trustee of the Bridgwater Education Trust.
Councillor 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.
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.
South West Regional Director, NFU
Melanie Squires comes from a Cornish dairy farming family and has lived in Devon for the last 18 years. She joined the NFU South West team in January 2002 as a policy adviser, promoted to senior in 2003 and then to Regional Director in March 2006.
She is a 2:1 honours degree graduate in Agriculture from the Seale-Hayne faculty of Plymouth University (1997-2000) and prior to this obtained a National Certificate in Agriculture from the Duchy College (1992) in Cornwall. She undertook the Worshipful Company of Farmers’ Challenge of Rural Leadership course in November 2005 and subsequently made a liveryman of the Company.
She has held the following posts:
- A Director for SW Chamber of Rural Enterprise (SW CoRE) 2006-2014,
- A member of SW Food and Drink Board (2006-2011),
- SW Sustainable Farming and Food Board (2006-2011),
- A past member of the Forestry Commission regional advisory group,
- A SWRDA rural advisory group member.
- A Vice-President of Cornwall Federation of Young Farmers in 2006-2009.
- Duchy/Cornwall College Council member
She is a current trustee to the Seale-Hayne Education Trust and incoming 2016 Chairman, oversees the administration of the Dairy Crest/NFU Scholarship
(West country Dairy Awards) and a SW CBI Council member.
In June of 2008 she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours for services to Gloucestershire’s rural community and for animal welfare efforts during the flooding of July 2007. She was also awarded the Associateship of Royal Agricultural Societies (ARAgS) for her distinguished achievement in the agricultural industry in 2015.
Prior to joining the NFU, she was assistant agricultural co-ordinator with the Cornwall Agricultural Council for Objective One and has also worked full-time as a dairy herdsperson for several years prior to her time at Seale Hayne. A long held passion for farming and food means she is committed to the furtherance of agriculture in all its diverse facets for a sustainable future, both in terms of output, as well as for its custodians, and the next generation. The NFU is a trade association and her role combines representing a farming membership of circa 10,000 farming businesses across the six counties of the south west with a fantastic regional and field based team of 90 staff, in 43 offices. She therefore manages this private sector business across the region as well as ensuring representation at all levels with lobbying/influencing as an A-political organisation, supporting the governance structures and elected farming officeholders.
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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.
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.
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.
Harvey Siggs is the Leader of Mendip District Council, and has served on the council 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.
Sir 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.
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.
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.
Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Training
Stuart is currently the Devon County Council cabinet member responsible for Economy, Skills and Training. Within the port-folio he is also responsible for post 16 education, trading standards and broadband. He represents Devon on the Greater Exeter Strategic Partnership. For the last eight years Stuart was the cabinet member responsible for Adult Social Care and Health, the service turnover was just over £250m spending 46% of the Council’s budget.
In addition to being a County Councillor he is an Executive member of Teignbridge District Council with responsibility for Corporate Services which encompasses resources and HR and being a member of the Police and Crime Panel.
In addition to the above Stuart will be the DCC representative on the Boards of the Innovation Centre and Exeter Science Park. He will continue to be a Dartmoor National Park member, a position he has held since 2001.
Stuart recently retired from his screen print business and has been the Finance Director of a national buying group for promotional marketing products having been one of the founder members nearly 20 years ago. He has been involved in starting two charities and has been Chairman of an enterprise agency.
When not engaged on business and council interests Stuart enjoys sailing his boat from QAB in Plymouth, and has won numerous prizes for racing boats over nearly 50 years of sailing.
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.