Organised by
Movers and Shakers logo
Official Partners
West Midlands Combined Authority logo
UK Trade & investment logo
In association with
Bilfinger logo

West Midlands Forum For Growth 2017

ONE-DAY CONFERENCE - Tuesday 6th June 2017 - Venue: The Vox Conference Centre, Resorts World, Birmingham B40 1PU

  • Be informed; understand the scale and extent of the opportunities in the West Midlands

  • Listen & Learn from Public (Central and Regional Government) and Private Sector Leaders

  • Network with the key players & stakeholders involved in the West Midlands economy


The West Midlands Forum For Growth has been organised by Movers & Shakers; in partnership with WMCA and UKTI, in association with Bilfinger GVA and is the official launch of the West Midlands Combined Authority. This is an authoritative one-day event, bringing together Public (Central and Regional Government) and Private Sector leaders to engage and debate the key issues in growing the West Midlands economy

The West Midlands Combined Authority has an economy worth £85bn of GVA; with growth running at a 4% average (2009-2014), making it one of the fastest growing economies in the UK oitside London. Empowered through devolution, the newly formed West Midlands Combined Authority offers enormous potential to grow the UK economy and provides investors, developers and the construction industry with a massive opportunity

This conference will showcase the ambition and vision for the new Combined Authority and will cover; Infrastructure (HS2 and the interconnected transport network), Industry, Regeneration, Skills, Place Making and Homes. The West Midlands Forum For Growth is timely and will support the development of the region in its contribution to growing the UK economy

“Driving UK Growth through the West Midlands

The West Midlands Combined Authority has an economy worth £85bn of GVA; with growth running at a 4% average (2009-2014), making it one of the fastest growing economies in the UK oitside London. Empowered through devolution, the newly formed West Midlands Combined Authority offers enormous potential to grow the UK economy and provides investors, developers and the construction industry with a massive opportunity

This conference will showcase the ambition and vision for the new Combined Authority and will cover; Infrastructure (HS2 and the interconnected transport network), Industry, Regeneration, Skills, Place Making and Homes. The West Midlands Forum For Growth is timely and will support the development of the region in its contribution to growing the UK economy

Click for more information on conference content

  • Organisations and individuals involved in or interested in the developing West Midlands economy
  • Private Sector: Investors, Funds, Banks, Development, Housebuilders, Housing Associations, Property Lawyers, Property Surveyors, Advisors, Consultants and Contractors
  • Public Sector: Government, Local Authorities, Constituent Authorities, Non Constituent Authorities, LEPs. Public Bodies and Associations

A one-day event that will deliver on multiple levels:

  • Be informed; understand the scale and extent of the opportunities in the West Midlands
  • Listen and learn; from Public (Central and Regional Government) and Private Sector Leaders
  • Gain valuable insights into the vision and ambitions of the West Midlands Combined Authority
  • Network with the key players and stakeholders in the West Midlands economy

Event Speakers

Martin Reeves

Chief Executive

West Midlands Combined Authority

Martin has been Chief Executive of Coventry City Council since April 2009. He had previously been with Bedfordshire County Council for three and a half years as Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Executive.

Martin was previously Head of Performance Improvement at Westminster City Council. He was also Programme Director for WorkSmart the City Council’s flagship transformation programme. Martin spent much of his early career as a lecturer and researcher, and has a PhD in applied economics. He was the President of SOLACE in 2013 and now leads their Digital Leadership Network. He is also the Local Government Association (LGA) National Procurement Champion.

In 2015, Martin was invited onto the independent taskforce, which produced the new 5 year national cancer strategy. He co-chairs the national systems leadership board and chairs the national cross system board for sustainable health & social care (taking over from Jonathan Porritt).

He is also a member of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Advisory Board. In November 2015 Martin was included in the top 20 of the Local Government Chronicle’s list of the 100 most influential people in local government.

Waheed Nazir

Interim Strategic Director for Economy

Birmingham City Council

Waheed Nazir was appointed as Interim Strategic Director for Economy at Birmingham City Council in January 2016, although he has worked for the local authority since 1999 with previous roles including Director of Planning & Regeneration, Director of Regeneration, Assistant Director for Development Planning, as well as CEO of SRB6.

In his new role, as well as leading on the delivery of planning and regeneration, housing, transportation, skills and employment, Waheed is a member of the corporate leadership team, supporting and driving the Future Council improvement programme Waheed has been instrumental in shaping a new approach to transformational change across Birmingham, overseeing the Big City Plan, a 20 year vision to encourage and support the continued transformation of a world class city centre; the Birmingham Development Plan, the statutory framework which will guide decisions on development and regeneration in Birmingham up to 2031, and the Birmingham Curzon HS2 Masterplan, which sets out the Council’s aspirations for the new HS2 terminus station and the wider regeneration potential of what will be one of the biggest urban regeneration schemes in the UK. Waheed also has a number of advisory roles at a regional and national level.

On a regional level, Waheed is the lead advisor on behalf of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, leading on the Enterprise Zone, advising on planning and working with private sector investment funds to maximise opportunities for the region in delivering economic growth.

Waheed is also involved in a range of work with government around the development of policy initiatives, and sat on the national Land Auction Task Force in an advisory capacity on planning, housing and the growth agenda, to contribute to Government policy around enabling greater housing delivery across the UK.

Paul Kehoe

Chief Executive Officer

Birmingham Airport

Paul Kehoe

joined Birmingham Airport as Chief Executive Officer in October 2008

He started his career in aviation as an Air Traffic Controller in the Royal Air Force and has worked for a variety of companies including British Aerospace plc, Serco Aviation and TBI plc.

Paul has been CEO/MD of a number of UK airports (inc. Belfast International, London Luton and Bristol) and non-executive Director of a number of other UK and overseas airports during his career.

Paul has been an active member of the Airport Operators Association, being a Director and Chair of that organisation 2004-05. Paul is Chairman of Marketing Birmingham, a member of the Warwick Business School Strategy Board, Board Member on the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and is President Elect of Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

Professor Cliff Allan


Birmingham City University

Professor Allan has been Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University for three years. He is also on the Boards of Marketing Birmingham, Millennium Point and PBL plus several national Higher Education Committees.

He has an extensive record of leadership in corporate strategy, international strategy, widening participation, employability and the student academic experience. He held Deputy Vice-Chancellor roles at Sheffield Hallam University and Teesside University and was previously Head of Learning and Teaching Policy at HEFCE.

Ian Stringer

Regional Senior Director

Bilfinger GVA Midlands

Ian is Regional Senior Director of Bilfinger GVA in the Midlands, overseeing 17 out of the firm’s 24 business units represented out of the Midlands office and a total staff compliment of 385 people. He is a past chairman of the firm’s Advisory Board, currently a member of the firm’s Executive Board and a West Midlands CBI Regional Councillor.

Ian has 30 years’ experience in the office sector in the Midlands, dealing with leasing, disposals and acquisitions but specialising in office led mixed-use development consultancy and place making. Ian is part of a team involved in such schemes as Brindleyplace, Paradise, Arena Central, Eastside Locks and Friargate in Coventry, often from inception to delivery.

Clients include Argent LLP, Hermes Investment Management, Birmingham City Council, Friargate Coventry LLP, Arena Central Developments LLP, Birmingham Mailbox Ltd, RBS and KPMG.

Cllr Robert Sleigh


West Midlands Combined Authority

Bob Sleigh is Leader of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and Chairman of the Shadow Board of the West Midlands Combined Authority. Prior to becoming Leader, he was Deputy Leader for eight years and was Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing.

He is a Director of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and West Midland Rail Limited and Deputy Chairman of the ITA.

He has held previous public appointments as Chairman of the National Probation Service for the West Midlands and as Non-Executive Director of the Solihull Care Trust, where he held the
position of Chairman of Community Services.

Politically, he has been Chairman of the Meriden Conservative Association twice and of Solihull Borough Conservatives.

Bob has had a long business career, principally with SMEs, and recently retired from Birmingham-based Gee & Co, where he was Business Development Manager.

Laura Shoaf, MRTPI

Managing Director

Transport for the West Midlands

Laura Shoaf is Managing Director of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) – part of the West Midlands Combined Authority. She has more than 20 years’ international experience in delivering integrated economic and spatial regeneration.

After leaving her native USA, Laura became Head of Strategic Planning and Implementation at the Black Country Consortium and was instrumental in the creation of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

As Black Country Director of Transport, Laura championed and led the area’s transport agenda, directly advising Chief Executives, Leaders and the LEP.

In 2015, Laura became Strategic Director for Transport at the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority and then in June 2016 took up her current position where she is responsible for key initiatives across the metropolitan area such as Midlands Connect, the HS2 Connectivity Package and the region’s Strategic Transport Plan, liaising with Government departments and regional agencies for the benefit of the West Midlands. She is also responsible for delivering a £4billion transport package over the next 10 years underpinning economic regeneration in the region.

Laura is a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and a committee member of both UITP and EMTA, highly-respected international and European organisations dedicated to promoting public transport and the dissemination of best practice.

Rob Groves

Senior Project Director

Argent LLP

Rob Groves, Senior Project Director with Argent has over 30 years of planning, design and construction experience. Prior to joining Argent in 2007 he was an Equity Partner at a large multi-disciplinary consulting engineer practice. His experience includes mixed use residential, commercial, industrial schemes as well as major public sector infrastructure.

Rob has led schemes from feasibility through to planning, compulsory purchase, which includes expert witness work, detailed design and construction.

Currently Rob is responsible for the Paradise Circus project which is a joint venture with Birmingham City Council for a new commercial led mixed use development of up to 2 million sq/ft in Birmingham City centre.

Cllr Dr Roger Lawrence


City of Wolverhampton Council

Roger was first elected in 1983, he represents the St. Peter’s ward and is the Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council. Roger cites local democracy, urban regeneration, regional development, organisational and structural change and social inclusion as his main political interests. He has published on European Structural Funds, the Voluntary Sector, and Citizenship.

On a Regional level, Roger has been Chair of the West Midlands Regional Forum (1996-8) and of the West Midlands Local Government Association (2003-4) and (2014-2016), and was appointed to the Board of the Regional Development Agency (AWM) from 2003-9. He has also been a member of the Regional Programme Monitoring Committee for European Structural Funds and of the Black Country Consortium. He is a member of the Black Country LEP and Chairs the West Midlands ITA.

He is the current Chair of the West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership Board and current member of the LGA’s Asylum, Refugee and Migration Task Group (which he has previously chaired). He is a board member of ALDA - the European Association for Local Democracy. He is the Chair of the West Midlands Joint Committee and is working in partnership with other regional leaders on the formation of the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Chris Darroch

Fund Director

Hermes Fund Managers

Chris joined Hermes in December 2009 having over 20 years’ experience in the commercial property sector, gained primarily as a fund manager at Aberdeen Asset Managers, where he was a Director of Fund Management and responsible for the management of over £1.2 billion of assets on behalf of pension fund clients.

On graduation in 1989 he joined Richard Ellis (now CBRE) where he gained a broad range of experience in the commercial property which extended to opening an office to asset manage an under-performing portfolio with a view to realising the investment. Following completion of this project in 1994 Chris joined Scottish Amicable Investment Managers (now Aberdeen).

At Hermes, Chris is the Fund Director for the BTPS UK £5 billion real estate portfolio (the Fund). It is a diverse portfolio which includes ownerships of MEPC and Argent, as well as significant joint venture with Westfield. As fund manager he is responsible for all aspects of managing the portfolio, and is accountable for delivering investment performance.

Since joining Hermes Chris has completely re-structured the UK portfolio, being responsible for approximately £6.4 billion of transactions during the period, whilst delivering top quartile investment returns for the client. Major projects that the Fund is currently involved in include Kings Cross in London, Paradise in Birmingham, NOMA in Manchester, Wellington Place in Leeds and Silverstone.

Peter Ferrari

Chief Executive


AshbyCapital is headed up by its Chief Executive, Peter Ferrari; Peter has over 25 years’ experience in property development and investment.

After obtaining a Master’s degree in Land Management from Reading University, he spent nine years at listed property company London & Edinburgh Trust PLC, developing a range of projects across property sectors in the UL and throughout Continental Europe. In 1995, he joined Heron International as Director of Acquisitions and Development and was appointed Managing Director in 2009.

Paul Thandi

Chief Executive

NEC Group

Since becoming CEO in October 2006 Paul has rebuilt the company’s brands and reputation, created a new senior management team and transformed the Group into a data-led organisation which has included the launch and evolution of The Ticket Factory, now a challenger brand to Ticketmaster.

Paul has also led the business through a change of ownership.

Under Paul’s stewardship the Group has agreed major commercial partnerships with internationally renowned organisations such as Genting, Barclaycard and Virgin. Prior to joining NEC Group Paul had 20 year’s experience in the media industry.

Paul is Chairman of Glide Utilities Ltd and on the board of Marketing Birmingham. He also heads up the Midlands Growth Engine Steering Group, is chair of Birmingham and Solihull Employment Skills Board and Chair of the Birmingham Sports Commission.

Richard Parker



Richard is a Partner based in our Birmingham office .He advises clients on Strategy, Policy Investment and Growth and he is our Regional lead on Combined Authorities and Devolution. He works with national and local Government, the private sector and LEPs. He Co-Chairs our national Devolution Delivery Network.

Richard is leading the PwC team that are acting as lead advisors to the WMCA. He worked closely with Council Leaders and Chief Executives in shaping the principles and priorities that were announced in May 2015 and he continues to advise on the programme of work that will create the CA and deliver the devolution deal.

Richard has recently been appointed to advise the Oxfordshire Districts on their plans for Unitary Government and a devolution deal.

He has previously advised on significant pieces of policy development and legislation and has helped structure projects that have delivered over £5bn of investment including the Olympic village, Earls Court and Grove Village Manchester. He has acted as an advisor to the UN and worked with clients in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Japan and North America.

Leigh Natasha Salter

Managing Director

Movers & Shakers

Leigh Natasha Salter is Managing Director of Movers & Shakers, having formerly been the Business and Events Director. Leigh has been responsible for developing the brand over the last 10 years and has recently launched the Movers & Shakers UK Regional events programme. Previously she worked in marketing, communications and research, and also ran the Windsor & Maidenhead Borough’s Business to Community Partnership, facilitating CSR for businesses. She qualified at Oxford University with a BA Honours in Human Sciences, and a scholarship, and is also a member of the BPF and UK-GBC.

Maria Machancoses

Programme Director

Midlands Connect

With a degree in Law and an MSc in International Transport, Maria has spent the last 14 years working in the UK for the transport industry.

Maria is currently the Programme Director for Midlands Connect, a £5m collaboration that together with central government, brings together 28 Local Authorities and 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships across the Midlands, to develop the vision and strategy for transport connectivity throughout the region.

The strategy, to be developed jointly by the Midlands Connect Partnership and the DfT by March 2017, will identify the major infrastructure projects which are needed to improve linkages to the region’s key hubs, therefore increasing economic activity and helping to power the Midlands Engine.

As part of her previous role, Maria managed the WM ITA’s input into the HS2 Hybrid Bill and was actively involved in master-planning activities around proposed HS2 Stations in the West Midlands, with particular input into the wider connectivity measures of the emerging GBSLEP HS2 Growth Strategy.

She is also a member of European Metropolitan Transport Association, and is working closely with Government bodies and the European Commission on key aspects of the European Transport White Paper such the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans and the Connecting Europe Facility.

Anne-Marie Simpson

Head of Midlands Central Area

Homes & Communities Agency

Anne-Marie is the HCA Head of Midlands Central area. Involved in a number of Midlands and national initiatives, she leads the team responsible for delivery of HCA programmes across the West Midlands. Working with private sector developers, house builders, housing associations, local authorities and LEP’s she takes a strategic view of activity to help achieve the aspirations for Midlands Engine for Growth. Ensuring HCA assets and programmes support housing and growth, aligning land and investment to help ensure maximum impact she leads the local team in support of delivery of locally identified growth priorities. She is an active member of the Midlands Urban Land Institute Committee which works collaboratively to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities.

Anne-Marie’s team are responsible for delivery across the Midlands, working closely with local authority partners and LEPs to align investment and support delivery of local growth programmes. Anne-Marie led for HCA on discussions with Birmingham City Council and Greater Birmingham Solihull LEP in respect of the City Deal agreed in July 2012. She worked closely with BCC, DCLG and Cabinet Office to help devise a partnership approach to align public sector assets and investment to unlock growth and help address the significant housing need that Birmingham has identified. Currently working with Birmingham CC and Solihull MBC to maximise the regeneration benefits of HS2, Anne-Marie is focussed on a comprehensive approach to housing and economic growth in a place based approach.

She is a member of the Midlands senior management team and is part of the HCA national leadership network. Prior to joining the HCA, she worked in both local government and for a number of urban regeneration vehicles over 20 years.

Bill Hughes

Head of Real Assets

Legal & General Investment Management

​Bill joined LGP in November 2007 having previously held the position of UK Head of Real Estate at RREEF, the Real Estate Fund Management business of Deutsche Bank. Prior to that Bill was Deputy Managing Director and Head of Research at Schroder Property Investment Management. This followed positions at DTZ Research and JLW Fund Management Strategy.

Bill is an Associate of the Society of Investment Professional, having passed the Institute of Investment Management and Research (IIMR) exams. He is also a member of the Green Construction Board (GCB), the Investment Property Databank Consultative Committee, the BPF Policy Committee, the Distressed Retail Property Taskforce, and the Bank of England Property Forum.

In July 2012, Bill was appointed as Junior Vice President of the British Property Federation (BPF), which will culminate in him taking up the role of President of the BPF in July 2014. He is also the current Chairman of the Green Property Alliance (GPA) and was Chairman of the Association of Real Estate Funds (AREF) until December 2011. He is a Member of Edinburgh University Investment Committee and and an Honorary Fellow of the College of Estate Management.

Professor Ardavan Amini

Professor of Enterprise Systems

Birmingham City University

Ardavan Amini is Professor of Enterprise Systems at Birmingham City University with extensive research and industrial expertise in systems engineering and systems architecture, working with many commercial enterprises such as Rolls-Royce Aerospace and the SME sector within the region. He began his carrier as an enterprise systems consultant and joined the University to establish the International Academy of Enterprise Systems Innovation with SAP in 2009. He has been the invited speaker on academic and industry forums in Germany, Austria, USA and UK, lecturing on the co-creation of the next generation of digital and enterprise systems to drive innovation and productivity.

He has been an advisor to Birmingham City Council on Smart Cities and has also participated in number of “task and finish” groups in the domains of Open Data, Skills and HS2. In addition, he has represented the University at the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation working group, working with government agencies, academia and industry partners. This has resulted in the development of the Smart City strategy for OPDC.

Professor Amini currently holds number of external roles; Chairman of SAP UK & Ireland Database, Technology and Innovation User Group; Head of Academy Cube UK & Ireland National Office and is a Member of the Institute of Collaborative Working academic forum.

Patrick Burns

Political Editor

BBC Midlands

Patrick Burns is the BBC Midlands Political Editor.

He is a regular face on tv news programmes including Midlands Today and the BBC News Channel. He is also the presenter of the Midlands section of the Sunday Politics.

Patrick contributes to the five BBC Midlands local radio stations and to a variety of BBC online output including his blog: and Twitter @PatrickBurnsBBC

Patrick has been a member of the lobby at Westminster for over thirty years and has interviewed every prime minister since Margaret Thatcher. At that time, he was a member of the team of national political correspondents under the legendary BBC Political Editor, John Cole.

Last year’s general election was the ninth that he has covered. He admits it was the most challenging and unpredictable of them all.

Before specialising in political journalism, Patrick was a general news reporter working for the BBC in Northern Ireland at the height of ‘The Troubles’ and for BBC Television News in London.

He began his BBC career as a graduate News Trainee based at Broadcasting House in London, having recently graduated from the University of Manchester with a degree in Politics and Modern History.

Beyond his day job, Patrick has been a school governor for many years. He is the Chairman of the Board of the King Edward’s Foundation in Birmingham which oversees two top-rated Independent schools and six leading state academies.

He went to school in Birmingham where he lives with his wife Pauline. They have two grown-up children who are both doctors.

Lord Heseltine



Lord Heseltine was a Member of Parliament in Britain from 1966 to 2001. He was a Cabinet Minister in various departments between 1979 and 1986 and between 1990 and 1997. He was Deputy Prime Minister from 1995 to 1997. He is founder and Chairman of the Haymarket Group, one of the largest privately owned media companies in the UK. Most recently Lord Heseltine was appointed by the government as an advisor to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Growth. He is also chair of the Independent Advisory Panel for the Regional Growth Fund providing advice to Ministers on the quality of bids. In October 2012 he published ‘No Stone Unturned in Pursuit of Growth’, an independent review into how the public and private sectors in the UK work together to create wealth. He has written books on Europe and his political autobiography, ‘Life in the Jungle’. Lord Heseltine is an enthusiastic gardener and is a Vice President of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Sarah Middleton

Chief Executive

Black Country Consortium Ltd

Sarah is the Chief Executive of Black Country Consortium Limited (BCC) and has been since its incorporation in 2006. Sarah joined the Consortium Partnership in October 1999 and has been central in developing the Black Country Sub-Regional partnership, its 30 year vision, Economic Strategy and Spatial Strategy, including joint approaches on Planning, Investment, Economic Intelligence and the Black Country Education and Skills Strategy. Sarah qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG and previous roles include Deputy Chief Executive for East Mercia Chamber of Commerce (including responsibilities as General Manager for Business Link Walsall) and Chief Executive of Walsall City Challenge.

Simon Marks



Simon is a Partner of Arcadis the 28,000 strong global design and consultancy firm for natural and built assets. He is the City Executive for Greater Birmingham and is responsible for leading the firm across the Midlands market. Simon is also the Main Board Director of the GBSLEP Optimising Assets Group and chair of the Enterprise Zone Executive Board.

Applying deep market sector knowledge with global insights and collective design, consultancy, engineering, project and management services, Arcadis works in partnership with clients to create exceptional and sustainable outcomes throughout the lifecycle of their natural and built assets.

Dr Colin Clinton



Colin joined Arup during 1988, having previously worked in the public sector on major Inner Cityinfrastructure projects and Urban Regeneration schemes for Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, West Midlands County Council and the City of Birmingham for a sustained period from 1971 to 1988.

In 2002 as a Chartered Civil Engineer, Colin was appointed a Director of Arup, and in 2004 became the youngest President of the Institution of Civil Engineers. In January 2010 he was appointed Director of Business Development East Asia Region (EAR), reporting to Arup’s East Asia Regional Board. The role, based in Hong Kong included responsibility for creating, developing and leading a newly formed group focussed on identifying investors and projects, securing new relationships and business opportunities across China and East Asia.

From June 2011, and in addition to his BD role, he was Project Director for the Rose Rock International Finance Centre (RRIFC) in Tianjin, Northern China. One of the largest Civil Engineering projects in mainland China at 3.2 Billion US$. The 1M sqm development incorporated a 588m landmark tower. Having identified, negotiated and secured this major commission for Arup, Dr Clinton initiated and led the project team of over 100 staff.

Throughout 2013 and 2014 Dr Clinton developed relationships with some of China’s largest engineering firms, including China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG). The focus with these firms included outward investment into the UK, Europe and the West, development of international engineering standards and the mobility of professionally qualified engineers. Towards the end of 2014 he created an East Asia region-wide 2015 BD Strategy, in alignment with Arup’s new China Plan 2020, and the Arup Group Strategy launched in October 2014.

In April 2015 he returned from China to the UK and, at his own request, was based in Arup’s Liverpool Office. In Sept 2015 Colin accepted an invitation by UK Gov’t for a part time secondment role as Head of China Business in UKTI Regeneration and Investment Organisation (RIO). He accompanied the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to China for the Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD), visiting Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu. He supported the leaders of Cities in the Northern and in late Oct 2015 Colin led a programme of business investor meetings as part of the China State Visit by President Xi to UK.

From January 2016 and in his 3 day a week secondment role to UKTI RIO Colin has been based in Birmingham supporting the inward investment strategy for Birmingham, WMCA and the Midlands Engine. He directed the production of the ME investment Pitchbook and help launch it at MIPIM in Mar 2016.
He is a member of the ME promotions group and is chairing a sterring group for the creation of a ME Pavillion at MIPIM in 2017.

Mike Wright

Former Executive Director

Jaguar Land Rover

Mike Wright recently stepped down from his role of Executive Director, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) a role he held from December 2010, having been a member of the JLR Executive Committee since 2002. Reporting to CEO – Dr Ralf Speth, his role was created to focus on the development of corporate strategies to deliver the company’s growth ambitions. His global responsibilities included leadership of Group Strategy, Global Financial Services, Corporate & Social Responsibility, the Special Operations division and (from 2010 to 2014) Government Affairs.

Mike Wright began his career in the automotive industry at Rover Triumph in 1975. He has held a variety of senior sales and marketing positions in a number of international markets - including four years in Germany - working at different times for Rover, Land Rover, and Jaguar under the ownership of BAe, BMW, Ford and now Tata.

In June 2014 he published an independent review of the global competitiveness of the UK’s advanced manufacturing supply chain commissioned by the Labour Party. Mike chaired the CBI West Midlands Council (from 2014 t0 2016) and is Chair of the Advisory Board of Aston Business School. He is also a director of EEF Ltd, and a Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Mark Rogers

Chief Executive

Birmingham City Council

Mark graduated from Oxford in 1983 and embarked upon working life by becoming a volunteer care assistant in a residential special school. In 1985 moved he into his first teaching role.

In 2001, Mark was seconded to be the Head of Specialist Services in Tameside, working on the Authority’s first inclusion strategy. Having quickly developed an appetite for local government, Mark was appointed as Assistant Director, Children & Young People, for Stockport Council in 2003.

In March 2006, Mark joined Solihull Council’s Corporate Leadership Team, having been appointed to the post of Director of Children’s Services.

In December 2013 Mark was appointed to the role of Chief Executive and Director of Economy at Birmingham City Council and took up role in March 2014.

Finally, Mark still maintains his commitment to children’s services as the Society of Local Authority Chief Executive’s lead for this area.

Mark Howden

Head of Regeneration

Balfour Beatty Capital

Mark has over 20 years experience in regeneration and economicdevelopment. He has worked in a number of senior public sector roles, specialising in securing economic benefits from major capital programmes to ensure they drive economic growth, with a range of public sector clients. He has also overseen the development of a number of major policy initiatives relating to procurement and economic development strategies. Mark was also a board member of GM Procure whilst in his previous role that oversaw a joint procurement of the decent homes programme in Greater Manchester with the twin objectives of reducing costs and supporting skills and employment locally and is currently a non-executive director on the boards of Blackburn with Darwen & Bolton and Oldham Local Education Partnerships.

Mark joined Balfour Beatty Investments in July 2008 to take up his role as Head of Regeneration leading on our new business regeneration activities and setting the priorities for delivery on new projects across a range of sectors. Previously he worked for Manchester Enterprises, the sub-regional economic partnership. Mark has been involved in a number of high profile projects including:

  • Regeneration on the Olympic Park – part of the successful East Wick & Sweetwater team
  • Scottish NPD programme
  • Energy from Waste
  • Health PFI
  • Building Schools for the Future
  • BBC Relocation
  • Oxford Road Partnership
  • Decent Homes

David Jennings


Movers & Shakers

Managing Director - Business Vantage Ltd
Chairman - Movers & Shakers Property Networking Forum

David started his career in Construction and Property. In 1990 he jointly founded and was a Joint Managing Director of the Salisbury Consulting Group; he sold his interest in 1995. In 1996 he formed Business Vantage, a business and research consultancy which specialises in property and construction and advises major UK plc’s.

David is the Founder Director and Chairman of Movers & Shakers formed in 1996 the UK’s most successful and popular networking forum.

He is also a Founder Director and shareholder of Stonemartin plc, an AIM listed serviced office business; founded in 1999.

David is Founder Director and shareholder of ResourceFull Ltd formerly Nice4Work Ltd.

Cllr Shaun Davies


Telford & Wrekin Council

Councillor Shaun Davies is the Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council and passionately believes that local authorities working hand in hand with businesses, schools and colleges and as employers in their own right, hold the key to strong, resilient communities and the future prosperity of the Borough.

Councillor Davies was first elected to Telford & Wrekin Council in 2011 and was immediately appointed to the Cabinet. He led the Council’s transformation into a Co-operative Council. Cllr Davies’ belief in the impact of employment and skills on the community lead him to spearhead a taskforce responsible for driving down youth unemployment in the area and establishing sustainable opportunities for employment and skills development for young people across the area.

Councillor Davies is a Legal Aid Solicitor, Chair of Great Dawley Town Council and Labour Member for the Malinslee and Dawley Bank Ward.


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