Jonathan Snelson has been appointed as group fleet director of Vertu Motors.
Rebecca Wayman

This week's North East appointments

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

Jonathan Snelson, Vertu Motors

Vertu Motors has strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of Jonathan Snelson as group fleet director.

Jonathan, who has been with the Gateshead-based motor retailer for almost two years, has more than 22 years of experience in the motor retail industry.

After a brief spell in retail sales at the start of his career, Jonathan made the move into fleet. Since then, he has held senior roles within L and L Automotive, Sytner and, most recently, joined Vertu Motors as fleet director for VAG, Nissan and Renault.

As group fleet director, Jonathan’s objective will be to establish key relationships and act as the central point of contact for fleet customers for sales and aftersales.

He said: “Vertu is a company which is constantly evolving in every aspect of the business and it creates opportunities, rather than waiting for a break. This is something I will continue to demonstrate and utilise in my new role.

“I enjoy building strong, effective relationships and I am eager to continue that and support the future of Vertu’s fleet division in my new role.”

David Crane, chief operations officer of Vertu Motors plc, added: “Jonathan has invaluable industry experience and has established an excellent track record since joining us in 2016. I have no doubt that he will excel in his new position.”

Simon Rutter, Blake Hopkinson Architecture

Blake Hopkinson Architecture has promoted associate Simon Rutter to partner following six years with the North Shields-based firm.

Simon Rutter, 49, joined Blake Hopkinson in 2011 after 17 years with Ryder Architecture in Newcastle. Since joining, he has managed various large-scale projects, helping the firm expand through notable schemes in the residential and commercial sector.

The promotion of Simon to partner follows the appointment of Blake Hopkinson Architecture to a £10.65m regeneration scheme in the centre of Bradford to convert the former TJ Hughes Department Store building into new commercial offices.

The scheme is a major contract win for the firm to deliver a central commercial development in the West Yorkshire city on behalf of Ingot (Bradford) Development Ltd.

Speaking on his promotion, Simon Rutter said: “I’ve spent 33 years working within the architectural industry of the North East and during that time I have been fortunate to work on a broad portfolio of high profile schemes both in and outside the region.

“Since joining Blake Hopkinson Architecture six years ago, I’ve relished being part of an ambitious and growing firm at what was a key stage in my career. The dynamic team are always a pleasure to work alongside and I am proud to now be taking on a leadership role to shape a positive future for the firm as partner.”

Dr Gareth Jenkins, Arcinova

Multi-service contract research and development organisation, Arcinova has appointed a new chief scientific officer to further accelerate the company’s growth.

Gareth has joined Arcinova from Britest, a manufacturing process consultancy, where he was CEO. His experience includes research, development, scaleup and commercialisation spanning laboratory, kilo-lab, pilot and commercial plant scales.

In his new role, Gareth will focus on identifying technology that will enable Arcinova to further enhance its innovation-led approach to pharmaceutical development. An initial area of focus will be to drive Arcinova’s adoption of flexible, modular continuous manufacturing processes.

In doing so, the organisation and its customers will continue to benefit from streamlined efficiencies in keeping with Arcinova’s agile approach to drug development. Another key element of Gareth’s role will be to harness biology to access complex, novel materials from simple, sustainable resources.

Commenting on his new appointment, he said: “I’m looking forward to supporting the continued expansion of Arcinova. The company has seen impressive growth over the last two years and I feel that I am coming on board at an exciting phase in its development.

“Arcinova’s commitment to innovation closely aligns with my passion for industrial biotechnology, synthetic biology and continuous manufacturing and process engineering.”

Ian Shott, executive chairman and managing director of Arcinova, added: “I first worked with Gareth in 2005 when I was CEO of Excelsyn, a pharmaceutical development and manufacturing services company. I am therefore delighted to be able to welcome Gareth to the Arcinova team - and to be working with him again.”

Steve Hesler, Wates Construction

Wates Construction has appointed a new project manager, Steve Hesler, underpinning the business’ strategic move to new premises in Durham.

The expansion of Wates’ team across the region comes as the contractor officially opened the doors to its brand new office at Shannon House, Belmont Business Park.

As the newest addition to Wates’ growing North East team, Steve Hesler has joined the business with over 24 years of industry experience having begun his career as an apprentice joiner and climbing the ranks to contract and project management roles.

Paul Dodsworth, business unit director of Wates Construction, said: “Anticipation has been building as we have been looking forward to taking up residence of our new Durham office, and its opening marks a very significant moment for our business.

“Shannon House provides us with much more than new premises. It is an ideally located base from which we will uphold our established reputation as an efficient and expert contractor and a trusted partner to local suppliers and subcontractors across the region.”

Kate Wickham, North East Local Enterprise Partnership

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) has appointed Kate Wickham, managing director of Gateshead-based Gate 7, as a board member.

Kate, who in 2017, was recognised with a MBE for services to export and outward investment, joins current board members from the private, public and education sectors.

Kate said: “Joining the North East LEP board felt like a really good opportunity to do something for the North East. I’m looking forward to working together with the existing board members to use our mix of backgrounds and experience to benefit the region.

“I think I can provide an alternative viewpoint and I’m honoured to have been appointed to the board.”

Since being appointed as managing director of Gate 7 in 2011, Kate has invested heavily in equipment, expansion and a new purpose-built factory in the USA.

The company specialises in the supply of decals and printed components to the construction equipment, agricultural and industrial markets and has global contracts with JCB and Volvo, and European contracts with Komatsu, Bobcat and Kuhn.

Kate added: “The North East has a great track record for successful exporting and we’re a hard-working region with a lot to offer.

“There’s no end to what we can achieve here given the opportunities and I’ll be working hard to support businesses in the North East, using my experience in manufacturing, exporting and growing an SME.”

Brand Elverston, Ocucon

The world’s first Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) system, Ocucon has strengthened its senior team with the appointment of Brand L. Elverston, former director of Asset Protection Strategic Initiatives at Walmart, as a consultant to the business.

Breaking new ground in surveillance technology, Ocucon delivers a powerful, cloud-based storage and retrieval platform, combining intelligent data analytics with the facility to store, analyse and retrieve unlimited amounts of HD video surveillance footage from within the Ocucon portal.

It is the first technology of its kind to offer unlimited cloud-based storage as a service.

Founder of Elverston, LLC, Brand is an industry leader in consultative services. In joining Ocucon, he brings a wealth of experience in retail technologies and programmes not only focused in the loss prevention and asset protection industry, but also aiding the overall customer shopping experience.

In his new role, Brand will be responsible for Ocucon’s business development and growth, offering strategic advice and assisting in the development and delivery of Ocucon’s new services.

Brand Elverston said: “As a market leader in surveillance technology, I’ve been following Ocucon’s journey since its launch last year.

“It has grown from strength to strength and I am very much looking forward to coming on board as a consultant to the business. With my specialist experience and broad range of business contacts, I believe I can help support and elevate Ocucon’s continued growth.”

Matt Verlander and Hannah Furness, GVA

GVA has made two new senior appointments within their planning and land development teams in Newcastle.

Matt Verlander has been appointed as a director will be responsible for leading the planning development and regeneration (PDR) team in the North East.

He brings over 20 years of expertise in planning and development consultancy, managing multi-disciplinary projects, together with extensive experience of negotiating complex major planning permissions and the delivery of mixed use regeneration schemes.

Matt joins from Arup where he led the planning team in the North East having previously held positions with King Sturge and Llewelyn Davies in London and Newcastle.

Hannah Furness has been appointed as an Associate within the land and development team.

She has been active for 12 years within the real estate development and regeneration sectors, primarily across the North East, spanning the public and private sectors. She has joined from Capita Property and Infrastructure.

Gordon Hewling, regional senior director and Head of Building at GVA, Newcastle, said: “These are further key appointments within our PDR and Land & Development teams.

“The office holds a strong position in the market, providing strategic real estate advice to both the public and private sectors.

“Matt and Hannah bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise which will strengthen our advisory capacity within the planning and development sectors across the region.”

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