Dawn Hughes, York House Leisure (YHL).
Jane Imrie

This week's Yorkshire appointments

Dawn Hughes, York House Leisure (YHL)

York House Leisure (YHL) has appointed Dawn Hughes as sales and operations manager at its new residential park near Selby.

Dawn has 21 years’ experience in the leisure and tourism industry. Originally from Hornsea, she has returned to the North to join YHL after working on the southwest coast for the past six years.

Dawn began her career at Skirlington Leisure Park near Bridlington, where she gained experience in various aspects of running a holiday park, including in operational and customer-facing roles. Most recently, she was sales manager with South West Holiday Parks in Devon.

Dawn commented: “I’m delighted to be joining a company that has such an excellent reputation in the industry.

“I feel very lucky to be part of the new venture at Gateforth Park where everything is of such a high standard and everyone involved has so much passion. I’m looking forward to helping people find their perfect park home here.”

YHL director Phil Brierley added: “Dawn is a great addition to our team as we launch the first phase of homes at Gateforth Park.

“This is a really special development which is attracting a lot of interest, and I’m confident that Dawn will be brilliant at showcasing everything on offer here and helping people make a seamless move to park home living.”

Stuart Hodgkinson, Vapour Cloud

Technology firm Vapour Cloud has appointed cloud and network engineer Stuart Hodgkinson.

With 11 years’ IT experience, Stuart joins the Elland-headquartered team having previously worked as a senior network technician for the NHS at Salford Royal Foundation Trust.

Stuart gained an ICT diploma from the Open University in 2007, before securing CCNA Routing and Switching, Wireless, and Security certificates, as well as the ITIL v3 Foundation Certificate in IT Service Management.

With a range of knowledge spanning servers to SVIs, Stuart has worked for Interserve, a number of county councils as well as a manufacturer of PVC compounds.

In his new role, Stuart will be responsible for the installation of servers, networks and storage across Vapour’s five UK data centres, as well as the day-to-day management of the network infrastructure including switches, firewalls and edge routers.

Commenting on Stuart’s appointment, Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer said: “We proudly claim to look for the industry’s brightest talent when we’re on the recruitment hunt, and Stuart’s CV proves the strategy works!

“He’s been involved in managing NHS Trust’s virtual infrastructures, having used VMware hypervisors to virtualise their estates; he’s been responsible for implementing the free-to-patient and staff WiFi mandated by NHS Digital; and has held second and third line support roles, which evidences the depth of his technical know-how.

“This degree of insight is exactly what we were looking for, in our growing cloud engineering team. Whether we’re deploying an agile solution for a start-up or a complex unified communications system for a blue-chip brand, our customers want us to have the answers to all their tech requirements.”

Stuart added: “I was very impressed with Vapour’s technology and the solutions provided to customers, but what also stood out to me is how much the company values employees.

“During my short induction period – before the COVID-19 lockdown – it quickly became apparent that I’ll have an environment to thrive in.”

Simon Kent, Harrogate BID

Harrogate BID (Business Improvement District) has appointed Simon Kent as an interim manager.

A previous director of Harrogate Convention Centre, Simon will take over the day-to-day running of the organisation, including liaising directly with town centre businesses, reporting into the Board and fostering relations with BIDs around the country.

Simon commented: “I’m delighted to take up this interim appointment, and whilst we are living in unprecedented times, I’m confident the BID will be able to deliver long and lasting beneficial results for our town centre businesses.

“Since my appointment, I’ve been working closely with board members to instigate a number of initiatives which we can begin during the coronavirus closedown.

“These included measures to ensure the ‘high street’ will be looking at its best for when trade is able to resume, and we are able to welcome locals and visitors alike back to our town.”

Harrogate BID chairman Robert Kennedy added: “It’s fantastic to have Simon onboard. To have someone of his experience, who can listen to the views of all the board members, and help steer us through these extremely difficult times, can only be a plus.

“With Simon’s knowledge of the town centre, I’m confident that we can all work together and plan for what’s best for our town.”

Michelle Atkinson, The Technology Group

The Technology Group has appointed Michelle Atkinson as its new chief operating officer (COO).

Michelle, who has been working at the Leeds headquartered Unified Communications specialist for the last two years as service director, takes the role with immediate effect.

Michelle’s new role will see her working alongside the firm’s five-strong board of directors to ensure that structures and procedures are in place to drive The Technology Group’s growth plans, which include hitting £15m turnover by 2022 through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions.

Michelle commented, “I’m incredibly proud and excited to take on the role of chief operating officer at a company I have thoroughly enjoyed working at for the last two years.

“The growth in the business has been tremendous since I joined, which is a trend we aim to continue. My focus is to make sure that we have the infrastructure we need to see new acquisitions dovetail into our existing business as well as helping us to maintain strong, consistent growth and deliver best-in-class service”.

“A lot of businesses are suffering at the moment but we are taking steps now to ensure that The Technology Group comes out of this period stronger and even better at what we do. We have an amazing team and everyone has stood to be counted at this tough time. You couldn’t ask for more.”

The Technology Group CEO Jonathan Marsden added, “We are super proud of Michelle for all she has done already, and I know there is still a lot that she wants to do and ideas to action that will make the business the very best it can be.”

Christine Armstrong, Wakefield BID

Not-for-profit organisation Wakefield BID has appointed Christine Armstrong as BID director.

Previously a manager at Harrogate BID, Christine has also held senior positions across the region, including owning and managing the MET club, a high-level networking organisation that operated throughout Yorkshire, Nottingham, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne.

Christine Armstrong commented: “I am really pleased to be joining Wakefield BID and look forward to leading the team in delivering new ideas and initiatives that help build a stronger city centre.

“We cannot deny that we are all in challenging times and that the next few months will command a great deal of resilience, compassion and sheer hard work as we bring our city centres back to vibrant, engaging environments to visit, live and work in.

“Whilst I cannot wave a magic wand, I can promise our levy payers and partners that they have my passion and commitment to support our City as we work together to tackle each and every challenge head-on.”

Graham Howarth, Wakefield BID chair, added: “We are all really excited to welcome Christine onboard. Christine brings with her a great deal of experience and knowledge, which we know will be critical as we tackle COVID-19, and the many challenges that this brings our way.

“Importantly we also know that she will maximise the opportunities and success that we will embrace and celebrate in the coming months.”

Jonathan Steed, Dow Schofield Watts

Advisory firm Dow Schofield Watts has appointed Jonathan Steed as partner in its transaction services team in Leeds.

Jonathan, who joins from KPMG, has over 20 years’ experience providing financial due diligence to clients in Yorkshire.

During that time he has advised private equity firms, lenders and businesses ranging from family firms to larger organisations, and worked on deals across a range of sectors.

Commenting on his appointment, Jonathan said: “Dow Schofield Watts is differentiated by its strong partner-led approach.

“I am looking forward to playing a hands-on role and will be involved proactively at every stage of my clients’ deals. This helps us to really tailor our work to meet the client requirements and can also bring meaningful efficiencies to deal processes.”

Transaction services lead Sophie Colloby added: “I am delighted to welcome Jonathan to Dow Schofield Watts Transaction Services. Robust due diligence will be even more important in the wake of the current crisis as purchasers and lenders want to get to grips with business fundamentals.

“Jonathan’s considerable deals experience – which includes working through previous economic cycles - will be invaluable to our clients. His arrival builds on our years of significant growth in Yorkshire and further increases our bandwidth.”

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