Vikki Todd and Phil Dean
Vikki Todd and Phil Dean, PG Legal.
Nick Hill

This week's North East appointments

Your latest roundup of appointments from across the region is here.

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A North East commercial law firm has appointed a marketing manager to support the company during its long-term growth plan.

Chartered marketer, Vikki Todd, has joined PG Legal from Watson Burton LLP to oversee the firm’s marketing strategy as it looks to expand its client base and increase market share.

Vikki has nearly 20 years of experience in the legal industry and brings with her a real working knowledge of law firms acquired during her time both delivering legal services within the property sector and working in business development and marketing.

Phil Dean, director of PG Legal, said: “We are delighted to have an experienced marketing professional such as Vikki joining our team. Vikki’s experience within the legal profession and background in the delivery of legal services from an operational side is an ideal for us.

“We needed someone who understands both the legal industry and our client base and who has the ability to increase brand awareness and presence in the North East to further build our business.”

Vikki will work with the directors to ensure that the firms plan, its digital presence and business development activity continue to build upon its notable presence within the market place.

Vikki added: “I am delighted to be joining PG Legal at an exciting time for the business. The competitive and ever-changing legal services marketplace continues to present a challenge to firms and I look forward to working with the team to promote the firm, it’s people and services as well as identifying new markets and opportunities”.

“Whilst we are looking to the future, PG Legal has been built on the provision of easy to access, sensible legal solutions for businesses, an ethos which will remain at the core of everything we do moving forward”.

Andrew Grundy, Baldwins

Accountancy firm Baldwins has strengthened its banking and finance team due to increased demand for its services.

Baldwins, a CogitalGroup company, has appointed Andrew Grundy as associate director in the North East team.

Andrew joins the firm with 14 years’ experience in the banking sector having previously worked with HSBC, Santander and Yorkshire Bank.

Andrew will help businesses from across the region raise finance as well as offering tailored help and advice for each client’s individual needs.

Speaking about working with Baldwins, he said: “It’s refreshing to work with a company that recognises the importance of a local presence, having 11 North East offices enables great connectivity with clients.

“This is a really exciting time to join the business as the continued expansion gives us even greater opportunity to assist clients with a range of finance and banking needs.

“I’m feeling energised and highly motivated to assist as many Baldwins and non-Baldwins clients as possible.”

Andrew joins the North East director of banking and finance Phil Empson.

Phil said: “Demand for banking and finance services is constantly growing and our team with it. The appointment enables us to react to client needs quickly and effectively, as well as enhancing our profile both internally and externally.”

Baldwins’ banking and finance offering was set up five years ago under department head Martyn Shakespear.

Baldwins specialises in accountancy and business advisory services, including corporate finance and specialist tax advice to all businesses from start-ups to mature companies, across a broad range of business sectors.

Alison Thornton-Sykes, Architects Benevolent Society

Alison Thornton-Sykes, principal architect with Newcastle-based architects, JDDK Ltd, has become an ambassador for the Architects Benevolent Society (ABS).

ABS is one of the longest established occupational benevolent funds in the UK dedicated to helping past and present members of the wider architectural profession, and their families, in times of need.

The Society has been in existence since 1850, and was formed to relieve poverty for members of the architectural profession in ‘necessitous circumstances’.

The ABS is a registered charity, funded mainly by voluntary income and rental income, and annually gives approximately £1m to over 600 members of the architectural community and their families.

Alison commented: “I’m honoured to become an ABS Ambassador and help spread the word about the charity and the great work it does not only providing financial assistance but also practical mental health support to people experiencing anxiety, stress and anxiety based depression through ABS’s partnership with Anxiety UK.”

“A surprising and indeed sad fact is that one in twenty members of the wider architectural profession – i.e. architects, architectural technicians and landscape architects - will seek help from ABS at some stage.

“The role of the Ambassadors is to help raise the profile of the charity amongst the profession and help where we can with the fund-raising events which vary from National Baking Day to various runs, rides, walks to corporate gifts. I have already got JDDK signed up for all the events coming up in the next few months!”

She added: “Mental health, of course, is now a major issue, not only to the architectural profession, but throughout all society. By raising awareness of the difficulties people are experiencing, the services that can be accessed via ABS and then providing rapid access to help, the charity is able to provide real help, and often faster than the normal channels.”

“As Principal Architect at JDDK Architects I have worked on many community projects for a range of charitable organisations who are driven to change people’s lives for the better. It is humbling to work with these people in such settings and by becoming an ABS Ambassador I hope to be able to make a contribution to such change.”

Melanie Farman, Nicholson’s Transport

Teesside-based Nicholson’s Transport has appointed a new business director to oversee the next phase of the firm’s growth.

Melanie Farman has been promoted to the position after joining Nicholson’s as commercial manager in 2011. Her role will focus on improving organisational efficiencies and enhancing service within the Billingham-based business.

Melanie commented: “We have a level of stable growth so my role is to maintain that, refining our processes so that we can build on our strengths, while maintaining the excellent relationships we provide for our current and potential customers.

“I really enjoy the diversity of working in transport and logistics and no two days are ever the same. As a family business with lots of shared values, you can get things done efficiently and everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.

“The Nicholson’s team enjoy working here and that is a great encouragement as we move into the next phase of growth.”

Nicholson’s Transport was set up in 1987 by David Nicholson and currently employs 45 staff with a turnover of approximately £4.5m.

One of Melanie’s first tasks has been to further develop its driver training operation Learning In Logistics (LiL) working with a range of external partners including Stockton Borough Council, while providing a ‘pipeline’ of home-grown quality drivers for Nicholson’s Transport.

LiL provides formal qualifications such as Driver CPC and Class 1 Licences, as well as softer skills such as customer service, communication and IT.

David Nicholson said: “When we first appointed Melanie it was to look after our customers, someone calm and collected and with the skills to get the job done well.

“Melanie’s professionalism shines through in everything she does and she is a trusted and valued member of the Nicholson team. We wish her all the best in this important role.”

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