The LEP Chair and Board work to strengthen the LEP’s role as the main thought-leader influencing economic development in the HotSW area and deliver the area’s Local Industrial Strategy that aligns with the Government’s National Industrial Strategy.
The Board also oversees the LEP’s delivery programme of infrastructure, business support and skills projects worth three-quarters of a billion pounds being delivered by 2025 in line with the Local Assurance Framework.
The LEP’s Board is made up of members who hold/have held senior leadership roles across our key sectors and/or have experience of running an SME and therefore understands the opportunities, challenges and infrastructure needed to make them prosper.
The Chair represents the LEP at key events and media opportunities in the HotSW area and at meetings in London with MPs, ministers and stakeholders. The Chair and non-executive directors will be required to attend board meetings once every two months and periodic meetings or events across the HotSW LEP area, related to their areas of expertise to support LEP activity.
Board members receive no recompense for their work with the LEP, and private sector members are recruited through an open advertising and interview process to encourage a broad cross-section of candidates. Their contribution to the economic community is a valuable resource which is unique to the LEPs.
The private sector Board membership is balanced by representation from the Local Authorities in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay, so giving democratic oversight to the Board and the LEP as a whole.
Managing Director of Yeo Valley Properties Ltd
Karl is the Managing Director of Yeo Valley Properties Ltd having previously been the Executive Chairman of Yeo Valley Farms Production Ltd until June 2020. Karl has been with Yeo Valley since 1996 having joined from the Quarrying Industry and before that having served in the British Army. Karl has been a key member of the leadership team that has seen Yeo Valley grow to be the UK’s largest organic food brand and one of the largest, independent, family owned dairy businesses in the UK. Prior his role as the Executive Chairman he had been Managing Director since June 2017 and prior to that Joint Managing Director from November 2013. Prior to this Karl was the Finance, IT and Procurement Director since 2006.
As well as his role at Yeo Valley Karl is the Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, sits on the SW CBI Council, is a member of the Somerset Growth Board and sits on the Advisory Board for the South West Food Hub.
Karl is also a trustee of the Bridgwater Education Trust, a body aiming to raise the aspiration, motivation and attainment levels of the young people of Bridgwater in Somerset and trustee of ‘Feeding Bristol’, a charity working to eliminate food poverty and food insecurity in the city of Bristol. He is Governor of the Merchants Academy school in Bristol and Member of Trustees of Churchill Academy and Sixth Form. He joined the board of Trustees of South Bristol Youth earlier in 2021 and will take over as Chair in June 2021.
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.
Director, Isca Ventures LLP
David Bird is Head of Debt Advisory at Isca Ventures LLP, a corporate finance boutique helping SME owners to grow and maximise the value of their businesses. He has over 35 years of experience in banking in many varied roles, including spells as South West Regional Director for Santander Corporate and Commercial Banking, Clydesdale Bank and Barclays. David built two banking businesses from scratch to full blown regional profit centres. He has delivered major projects with multi-million pound budgets through leading large teams in the banking industry.
As well as bringing his clear thinking, result driven skills to the LEP Board, David has strong links to social enterprise and is a non executive Director at Westward Housing Group as a member of their audit committee. He is a supporter of the Exeter University Graduate programme, a former school governor and youth rugby coach.
David values collaboration and partnership as factors for success, and brings these values to the LEP Board which aims to develop its partnerships.
David is involved in a number of charities, roles in the education sector, and community projects. He is a founding trustee of the Exeter Chiefs Foundation, which has raised almost £2million in supporting the local community. He enjoys family life, rugby, coaching, and reading.
Councillor David Hall
Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure, Somerset County Council
Councillor David Hall is the County Councillor for the electoral division of Bridgwater East and Bawdrip.
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.
Non-Executive Director and Trustee for national and regional SMEs and NFP organisations
Jane is a Board member and Trustee for several national and regional organisations, including in the region Exeter Science Park, Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust and South West Mutual.
Jane has over 30 years’ experience in financial services and has also worked in the alternative energy and educational sector. Jane qualified as a chartered accountant, later studied for an MBA at the London Business School, and more recently qualified as an executive coach. Jane has spent much of her career working in start-ups and guiding fast growth SMEs. This has given her the skills to face the many challenges experienced by small businesses, particularly with regards to the recruitment and retention of skilled staff, establishing financial, digital and operational infrastructure, raising finance, and M&A activities.
Jane relocated to the South West in 2015 to establish a community Fintech business in Cornwall, providing debt finance for regional and national SMEs. Since moving down Jane has enjoyed the many outdoor activities that the South West has to offer including gig rowing, paddle boarding, kayaking, and she is also a member of her local Hash House Harriers.
Principal and Chief Executive of Exeter College
John Laramy is Principal and Chief Executive of Exeter College, an Ofsted Outstanding, Award Winning Tertiary College with a turnover of £40m. Exeter College has circa 11,800 students and 1080 staff and has been named as one of The Sunday Times’ 100 Best Not-For Profit Organisations to work for in 2019.
John was appointed as Principal and CEO at the beginning of 2016. Prior to this, he was Vice Principal. In total, John has been at Exeter College for over ten years. John completed his Postgraduate Certificate of Education in Post-Compulsory Education in 1996. He proceeded to join what was then called North Devon College in 1997 as a Lecturer, progressing through various roles before joining the Senior Leadership Team in 2004. John has a track record of quality improvement, having spoken nationally on both quality improvement and technical education.
John was a founding director of the Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust and remains a member of this well regarded and successful Schools Trust. He was also a founding Chair of the Exeter Specialist Mathematics School, working nationally with the DfE and Baroness Alison Wolf to establish the key ingredients of ‘Maths Schools’. John remains a member of the Exeter Mathematics School, but stepped away from the Board after it was rated Outstanding by Ofsted in its very first inspection. Both the Ted Wragg Trust and the Exeter Mathematics Schools are highly successful partnerships between the University of Exeter and Exeter College.
In 2018, John became a Non-Executive Director of Pearson Education Limited. John sits on a national steering group for executive education in Further Education, a collaborative between the Education & Training Foundation and the Oxford Said Business School. John is interested in the interface between business and education and, therefore, is very much looking forward to supporting this endeavour as a Director of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.
John holds a BSc (Hons) in Construction Management from the University of the West of England and an MSc in Educational Leadership from the University of Leicester. He is a full member of the Chartered Institute of Building.
Vice-Chancellor, University of Plymouth
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.
Professor Lisa Roberts
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Lisa Roberts took up her post on 1 September 2020. Prior to this, Professor Roberts was Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds where she led on the development of the University’s research and innovation strategy. During this time she led significant increases in the income, quality and impact of research at Leeds. She also led a major step change in how the University worked with business, from start-ups to large corporates; launching a new innovation hub and leading a city-wide team of senior city stakeholders through the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (REAP). Before joining Leeds, Lisa was Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Surrey, leading the Schools of Bioscience and Medicine, Psychology and Health Sciences. During this time she also developed and launched only the 8th School of Veterinary Medicine in the UK and developed a successful One Health Strategy with external partnerships being key to its success.
Professor Roberts is a Professor of Virology, having studied for her PhD at the BBSRC Institute for Animal Health (now the Pirbright Institute) and the University of Kent. Earlier in her career, she worked as a Product Development Manager for Procter and Gamble in the UK and Belgium.
In addition to being a Board member of the LEP, she is a Board member of the Russell Group and Chair of the GW4 Council.
Melanie Squires MBE, BSc (Hons) AG, FRAgS
Melanie Squires comes from a Cornish dairy farming family and has lived in Devon for over 20 years. She joined the NFU SW team in 2002 as a policy adviser, promoted to senior in 2003 and to Regional Director in 2006.
She graduated with a 2:1 Honours degree in Agriculture from Seale-Hayne faculty (Plymouth University) in 2000, and previously an Agriculture student at Duchy College in Cornwall. She undertook the Worshipful Company of Farmers’ Challenge of Rural Leadership course in 2005, and subsequently becoming a Liveryman.
She holds a Non-Executive Director role on the Heart of the South West LEP Board which covers Devon and Somerset, Plymouth & Torbay. Appointed in 2017 as rural lead, from 2020 chairing the Place theme leadership group, which oversees work areas in infrastructure, rural, coastal, digital, town, transport, energy and natural capital.
She was awarded the Associateship of Royal Agricultural Societies (ARAgS) for her distinguished achievement in the agricultural industry in 2015 and awarded a Fellowship (FRAgS) in 2020. 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 is a current SW CBI Council member. Past 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.
- Past Duchy/Cornwall College Council member
- Past trustee and chair to the Seale-Hayne Education TrustPrior 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. With a long-held passion for farming, food and the countryside she is committed to championing agriculture in all its diverse facets for a sustainable future, both in terms of output, as well as for its custodians, customers, supply chain and the next generation. The NFU is a trade association, she is responsible for ensuring representation of the NFU SW’s farming membership of 9,000 farming businesses across the six counties of the SW with a team of 90 colleagues, in 40 offices. She manages this private sector business across the region ensuring NFU representation, profile and delivery for its members at all levels, campaigning and influencing on their behalves as an A-political organisation.
Paul has recently left BT after 31 years after being BT Group’s English Regional Director where he responsible for developing strategic relationships with combined and local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, business, education and community organisations to focus on the success and growth of the UK’s regional and local economies.
In this new phase of his career Paul will be consulting in the area of technology and innovation; especially 5G, Cyber and Internet of Things. On top of that he will be also working on regional economic matters and is keen to see how in a during and post-Covid world how the South West can use digital technologies to not just survive, but thrive.
Paul is based in the South West and sits on the following external boards:
- Deputy Chair of the South West Business Council
- Tech South West Advisory Board
- Member of the Court of Bristol University
- Board Member of Surf Life Saving GB
- Member of the South West CBI Council
HotSW LEP Inclusivity Champion
Paul Crawford is Chief Executive of LiveWest Ltd which, was formed through the merger of two housing associations, Devon and Cornwall Housing (DCH) and Knightstone Housing in March 2018.
As the largest housing association in the south west, LiveWest owns and manages over 37,500 homes and is also nationally one of the top ten largest developers of new affordable homes.
Paul started his career as a chartered surveyor and has worked in the housing association sector in various housing development and management roles for over 30 years. Paul has also worked in the south west for over 25 years and prior to joining LiveWest, his recent roles included Group Chief Executive and Managing Director for DCH and Sovereign Housing respectively.
With house prices typically10 times more than average salaries across the south west, Paul is passionate about ensuring that the provision of affordable housing of all tenures is seen as integral to supporting the region’s economic prosperity and a cornerstone of a well-functioning society.
Paul is a member of Liveable Exeter Place Board and former Chair of Homes for the South West (H4SW), a coalition of the largest housing associations in the south west committed to solving the regional housing crisis.
Cllr Phil Bialyk is the Labour Leader of Exeter City Council.
First elected to the Council in 2011, he serves as a ward councillor for Exwick. Before being elected leader in May 2019, Cllr Bialyk was Lead Councillor for Health and Wellbeing, Communities & Sport, with responsibility for delivering the UK’s first Passivhaus leisure centre in the city centre, and a new Exeter Bus Station.
Born and raised in Exeter, Cllr Bialyk is a former bus conductor and bus driver. Recently retired, he was for many years a Regional Organiser for the RMT union.
As Council Leader, his main areas of responsibility are:
- Corporate Vision and Strategy
- Liveable Exeter Transformational Housing Programme
- Partnerships and the sub-regional growth agenda including Local Industrial Strategy
- Strategic finance
- Organisational Development & Human Resources
- Internal change of Council operations
- Performance framework
- Strategic communication
- Exeter City Living (Development Company)
- Commercial & property assets (includes redevelopment of Paris Street/Sidwell Street, Exeter City Centre)
Cllr Bialyk is a registered football referee with the Devon FA.
Managing Director, Plymouth Citybus & HotSW LEP SME Champion
Richard Stevens is the current chair of the Devon & Plymouth 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 is the Chair of the Business Leadership Group for the HotSW LEP, Deputy Chair of the LEP Strategic Investment Panel and Deputy Chair of the Local Transport Board.
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 and East Cornwall, employing 550 people and running a fleet of 185 buses to all corners of the city. Richard has more than twenty 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 an empowered responsibility focused culture, where people are treated with unconditional positive regard. Richard believes that Citybus has a duty to be a good community partner and encourages all employees to do their bit, the staff at Citybus assist 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, Chair of the Marine Tech Expo; Richard sits on the Devonport Task Force, One Plymouth, the Mayflower 400 Leadership group and the Peninsular Rail Task Force board and Chair of the PRTF Stakeholder Group. 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.
Richard was awarded an Honorary Degree as a Master Business Administrator (MBA) by Marjon University in October 2018.
In his spare time; Richard is Chair of Governors for All Saints Academy, Secondary School. Having relocated his family to Plymouth, Richard is a member of Saltash sailing club, enabling him to indulge in his other passion; sailing.
I am elected as a County Councillor for the electoral division of Salcombe. I intend to serve the interests of all residents, regardless of political persuasion.
I became a Councillor out of a sense of duty and in the belief I have something to offer. I wholly believe in Public Service for the benefit of all.
My priorities are to serve my community wherever possible to the best of my ability.
During the 1970’s I spent my working life setting up oil exploration contracts globally, before coming to live in the South Hams in 1983. Since 1983 my wife and I have started and run various tourist related businesses, one of which we still own. I am still active within the local business community, alongside maintaining and letting various properties we own locally.
Vice President Uk Government Business – Leonardo Helicopters
Sarah has worked for Leonardo Helicopters for 25 years, and took up her current role as Vice President UK Government Business in January 2019. Her previous position was as Managing Director Aviation Training International Limited – a joint venture company – which she held for 10 years, prior to which she was UK HR Director for Leonardo Helicopters UK.
Sarah is passionate about the South West, and keen to support the growth potential of its people and businesses whilst protecting the environment and countryside.
Sarah is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers. She is married and lives in Dorset. Her hobbies and interests include walking, travel, watching sport, supporting wildlife charities and enjoying local fine food and wine!
Steve has been the Leader of Torbay Council since May 2019. He is also the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Torbay Council and has been a local councillor since 1995.
He grew up in Torquay and has raised his family there. He also worked as a caseworker for 18 years for Adrian Sanders, the former Liberal Democrat MP for Torbay, which gave him a great outlook on some of the challenges that the communities in Torbay face.
His key priorities include tackling poverty, empowering and engaging with local communities, putting the environment at the heart of the Council’s decision-making and dealing with the high levels of looked after children in Torbay.
As part of his role on Torbay Council, Steve attends:
â€¢ Cabinet Committee
â€¢ Community Governance Review Working Party
â€¢ Corporate Parenting Board
â€¢ Council Employment Committee
â€¢ The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Joint Scrutiny Committee.
â€¢ Priorities and Resources Review Panel.
He also sits on numerous outside bodies, which include:
â€¢ Community safety Partnership Board
â€¢ Heart of the South West Steering Group (LEP)
â€¢ Local Government Association Coastal Special Interest Group (SIG)
â€¢ Local Government Association General Assembly
â€¢ Local Government Association Unitary Councils network
â€¢ South West Councils
â€¢ Virtual School Governing body
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.
Grew up in a South Somerset and returned after University for a few years.
Had a career in Hotel and Management mainly with local authorities. Changes in funding and provision caused a rethink.
Went back to University and studied Psychology with Probation studies. Joined Surrey Probation Service and held various management roles prior to transferring across to the Prison Service. Worked in a variety of establishments. Final posting was with HQ to write the National Strategy for Women leaving custody.
Retired home to South Somerset, set up and managed the award winning Community Justice Panel using Restorative Practices as the model. Elected to SSDC in 2015.
Interests outside of SSDC:
Yeovil Town Football Club
Somerset County Cricket
Family History Research
Vince was born and raised in Torquay, Devon. After leaving school, Vince has completed a Diploma in Business Studies at South Devon College, a Higher National Certificate in Business Studies at Exeter College and a Diploma in Management Studies course at Plymouth Polytechnic.
Vince has forty years experience working in the holiday leisure sector. His first job was at Beeson’s Holiday Centre; when the Ladbroke Group acquired Beeson’s in 1981, it opened up a number of career opportunities for Vince. He spent the next eight years managing various holiday villages and catering concessions, including those located at Kew Gardens and the Tower of London. In 1990, he joined the Specialist Leisure Group.
During his career, Vince worked his way up through the ranks to become the Managing Director of Shearings Hotels, of the Specialist Leisure Group. As Managing Director of Shearings Hotels, he provided oversight of operations for 50 hotels located all around the UK, which had a turnover of circa £68M and employing over 1,600 staff. Vince retired from this role in October 2018.
Vince has been involved with an impressive number of Devon-based organisations, partnerships and Boards:
- Vince spent ten years on the Board of Governors at South Devon College, where he was the Chair up until July 2010.
- He has been the acting Chair of the Board of Governors at Torquay Academy for over 10 years, since January 2010.
- Vince has been a Trustee of the TBGS Multi-Academy Trust since 2013.
- He is currently the Chair of the Torbay Economic Development Company Ltd; a not-for-profit company, owned by Torbay Council.
- During 2020, Vince became a Non-Executive Director of TorVista Homes Ltd, a new social housing company set up by Torbay Council, to provide good quality affordable homes for the people in Torbay to rent.
- Also in 2020, Vince was appointed Chair of the Torquay Town Deal Board, which has recently successfully secured £22 million towards the regeneration of Torquay Town Centre.
- Vince also joined the Board of Young Devon in November 2020, as the new Chair of Trustees. Passionate about Devon, the county in which he grew up and studied, and helping local young people thrive; Vince is determined to make a positive difference, wherever he can.
Chief Executive, Heart of the South West LEP
David Ralph started as Chief Executive of Heart of South West LEP at the beginning of June 2018. Previously, he had spent 5 years as CEO of the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire (D2N2) LEP from 2013 where he oversaw the development of the D2N2 Strategic Economic Plan and sector strategies, 3 Growth Deals with HM Government to deliver a £1billion capital investment programme, securing and implementing £200m ESIF programme, the Derby and Nottingham Enterprise Zone, the D2N2 Skills Deal and Time for Innovation programme, community fund and led the executive team to develop the HS2 East Midlands hub. He was also closely involved in the proposed North Midlands Devolution Deal and one of the key architects in establishing the Midlands Engine, chairing the officer steering group. Whilst in this role David was a NED of the Nottingham Enterprise Zone, and Marketing NG, the Outer Estates Foundation and a Governor of Nottingham College and on the advisory Board of Nottingham Business School.
Before the East Midlands, David was CEO of the Have Gateway Partnership working closely with local stakeholders including the ports of Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich and BT Adadastral Park across Suffolk and Essex and prior to that was Chief Exec of the Barton Hill New Deal for Communities programme in Bristol and the Nelm Development Trust in Norwich.
David is a keen sailor, walker and trail runner.
Declarations of interest
To view a record of the declarations of interest for the LEP Board, please use this LINK to be redirected to the central location for all declarations of interest.