This week's North East appointments
Kari Owers, Entrepreneurs’ Forum
The Entrepreneurs’ Forum has appointed Kari Owers to its board.
As the managing director of O Communications, Kari has over 25 years of experience in strategic communications.
The Entrepreneurs’ Forum has welcomed a former North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year to its board who will help drive a new digital-focused offering.
Kari who is also a business mentor and communications adviser to several non-profit organisations, and North East ambassador for the Prince’s Trust Women Supporting Women campaign, was named North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012.
Kari will be the host of the Forum’s new ‘An Evening with’ events, a series of evening events that will provide Forum members the opportunity to hear from entrepreneurs and to network with peers.
Commenting on her appointment, Kari said: “There has never been a better time to join the board of the Forum; entrepreneurs will naturally be the ones who look for the opportunity to create and grow businesses that will lead us out of the impact of the pandemic in the months and years to come.
“The Forum has a special member base that is positive and forward-thinking and gives a boost of energy to their peers leading businesses, tackling issues head-on and it brings the right people together to challenge and support each other.
“Joining the Forum was the first thing I did when I started my business and over the last 15 years I have benefitted from advice and mentoring from many of its members, whilst learning from top entrepreneurs tell their stories and building new relationships at their events.
“I have gained invaluable knowledge and made new friendships that have lasted over the years, so now I’m happy to give back.”
James Robson MBE, chair of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, added: “We are very proud to have some of the region’s leading entrepreneurs on our board, sharing experience from a wide range of sectors and giving guidance to their peers.
“A longstanding member of the Forum, Kari has been a fantastic ambassador for the organisation over the years.
“Her input as an experienced entrepreneur and as a member of the Forum is hugely valued and I’m looking forward to working with Kari and the board on exciting developments happening within the Forum.”
Graeme Potts and Laurence Reeves, MSP
Manufacturing specialist MSP has promoted Graeme Potts to engineering manager and Laurence Reeves to technical lead.
Formerly technical account manager, in his new role Graeme will manage the applications and engineering department, building MSP’s product development strategy as well as developing the applications team.
Graeme joined MSP in 2010 after graduating from the University of Sheffield with a degree in mechanical engineering.
MSP director of operations, Margaret Toberty commented: “Ever since Graeme and I started our professional journey together some 10 years ago, I have been incredibly impressed by the progress he has made.
“When the plan for MSP’s future strategy was formed, I had no doubt Graeme would ultimately play a key role in our growth programme. I am convinced with Graeme at the helm of our engineering department, we will witness a step change in our contributions to the advanced manufacturing industry.”
As technical lead, Laurence will drive and implement the innovation of the MSP PerfectPart suite of products. Working alongside Graeme and the MSP Board, he will manage the development of new features into multiple product lines.
Speaking about this new appointment, director of development Marianne Whitfield said: “Laurence has worked with MSP since leaving school and was supported throughout his studies at the University of Cambridge by our Student Bursary Scheme.
“Laurence has a great understanding of metrology and its impact on the manufacturing of complex parts and has made a massive contribution to the technical development of MSP’s software, and more recently, our AutoClock device.
“I’m thrilled to see Laurence take on this senior role and look forward to working with him during the next phase of MSP’s growth.”
Sophie Milliken, Smart Works Newcastle
Smart Works Newcastle has appointed Sophie Milliken as its new chair.
Sophie, who will take over from the outgoing chair Jane Hartley in March 2021, is currently the managing director of graduate recruitment and employability consultancy SRS, as well as a supporter of Northern Power Women and co-founder of City Ladies Networking. She also sits on the Board of Age UK Northumberland.
Sophie has been a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development since 2013 and was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts in 2019. Her first book From Learner To Earner was published in August 2019, with her second book, The Ambition Accelerator to be published later this month.
Sophie commented: “I’ve been a long-time admirer of Smart Works as it is a charity which covers both of my passions - employability and supporting women.
“I’m absolutely delighted to accept the role of chair and look forward to continuing the great work that has been done already as well as looking at future opportunities to grow the service throughout the North East.”
Lewis McDonald, RWO
Civil and structural engineering firm RWO has appointed Lewis McDonald as civil engineer.
Lewis brings a range of project management experience to the role, including experience as the lead engineer on multiple projects in the regional residential sector and several North East road improvement schemes.
His new responsibilities will include overseeing highway and drainage design contracts for house builders Story Homes and Taylor Wimpey among other clients. He will also provide on-going technical support to the senior management team as part of a growth strategy that is seeing RWO expand its commercial activities nationally.
Alex Erskine, director of civils, commented: “Access to high quality engineering expertise and resources continues to be paramount for the building and construction sector.
“Our continued investment in experienced engineers like Lewis will see us well placed to provide top-class skills, services and support to clients for years to come.”
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