Organised by
Movers and Shakers logo
Official Partners
West Midlands Growth Company logo
EY logo
West Midlands Combined Authority logo
Midlands Engine

'The UK's New Growth Capital'

Tuesday 18th September - The Vox Conference Centre, Resorts World, Birmingham


The West Midlands Forum For Growth has been organised by Movers & Shakers; in partnership with WMCA and DIT, 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.

Find out more about our event speakers by clicking any of the images below:

Dr Victoria Lush

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Aston University

Dr Victoria Lush is a postdoctoral Research Fellow at Aston University currently working as part of the team on Think Beyond Data, an initiative that provides an artificial intelligence R&D capability to businesses across the Midlands. Victoria has worked on a number of postdoctoral research projects, including the EU funded GeoViQua and EXCELL, and has a track record of industrial research collaborations. She has significant research expertise and interest in Human Computer Interaction, digital trust, data visualisation, applied data mining, and data analytics.

Rob Valentine

Director, Birmingham


Bruntwood is a family-owned property company whose goal is to create the right places for people to succeed. Bruntwood develop, let and manage all of their own buildings, combining an innovative approach to property development with a single minded focus on the needs of the customers. Founded more than 40 years ago, Bruntwood is committed to helping make the UK’s great city regions even greater. Director of Bruntwood Birmingham, Rob Valentine is at the heart of the West Midlands region, driven by his passion to make the city recognised as one of the best connected places to work and live. Working for the business for over 18 years, Rob is focused on creating the right environments for businesses to thrive, no matter what sector they operate in. Rob is passionate about developing great ideas and businesses, improving communities and creating places for business success.

Lucrezia Millarini

TV Presenter & Reporter


Lucrezia is a presenter and reporter for ITV News and is a regular face anchoring ITV News London’s flagship programme. Before presenting ITV News London, she was the programme’s Entertainment Correspondent and presented ITV2’s daily showbiz bulletin, FYI. In almost eight years covering news, entertainment and the arts, she has notched up hours of live broadcast experience: in the studio she’s conducted two-ways with political and high profile guests, she’s reported live from Buckingham Palace, covered the London 2012 Olympic Games and is a regular face on the red carpet and at awards ceremonies, where she’s interviewed everyone from Daniel Craig to the Rolling Stones. She even presented Rihanna with her first Oyster card! Lucrezia studied law and trained as a barrister before becoming a journalist. She first worked at a radio station in Oxford but was soon offered a position within ITN’s digital operation in London. There she presented and reported for the digital 24-hour rolling news channel before joining ITV News.

Tariq Shaikh

Leader of UK Regional Markets, Principal


With considerable experience in strategic and management delivery across a broad range of sectors, Tariq (Taz) guides Gensler’s growth throughout the UK. An inspiring and collaborative leader, Taz has worked with well-known brands across the world. His vision sees him striving to develop strong project strategies that result in successful destinations – achieving the ideal mix, balance and range of experiences. He recognises the value of viewing every project from multiple viewpoints – customer, employee, developer and tenant – ensuring that the expectations are always met and exceeded. Taz received a B.A. (Hons) in Architecture and a Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture from the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, and has recently moved back to Birmingham, where he leads Gensler’s regional outpost.

Neil Beetlestone

Head of Central Region, Retail Banking & Wealth Management

HSBC Bank UK plc

Neil Beetlestone is Head of Central region for HSBC UK leading a region of 1500 people through 165 branches. Neil started his banking career 10 years ago having worked in food retail since leaving school. He is extremely passionate about coaching and developing his leaders whilst being determined to change the lives of his customers for the better. Neil’s region covers the whole of Wales, The Midlands, Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk. Each part of Neil’s region has a unique type of customer which gives his region a unique opportunity to be at the heart of each community. A key part of Neil’s role that he is most proud of is being the Co-Chair for two regional community committees which focus on supporting the communities that Neil’s region serves. Neil is passionate about the impact they have on vulnerable communities and the engagement of his team as a result.

Imandeep Kaur


Impact Hub Birmingham

Immy Kaur is passionate about building fairer, more equal and just cities through people, place and open movements. Immy’s work focuses on building teams who understand, embrace and experiment with the powerful role of producing, convening, building civic movements and infrastructure, complemented by the application of design and complex systems science to solve our cities wicked challenges. She is co - founder of Impact Hub Birmingham, which is on a mission to help build a fairer, more equal and just city through people, place and open movements. In 2014, Impact Hub Birmingham launched and successfully crowdfunded over £65,000 on Kickstarter, with more than 650 people backing the #EpicBrum campaign. Impact Hub Birmingham are actively trying to shift the paradigm of how change happens in places, and every day we work to create a sustainable business model that is systematically aligned to our mission. Impact Hub Birmingham describes itself as ‘many things all at the same time, just like the city we call home.’ Currently Immy is co leading the development of a bold new vision and long term project to build the civic infrastructure for the 21st century neighbourhood & co - leading Impact Hub Birmingham’s open impact movements including #RadicalChildcare, DemoDev and Creative Resistance. Immy is a member of Project 00, [zero zero] is a collaborative studio of architects, strategic designers, programmers, social scientists, economists and urban designers practicing design beyond its traditional borders, ventures include WikiHouse, Open Desk & more. Immy is a member of Dark Matter Laboratories, who design institutional infrastructure for a distributed and collaborative future. DML work with partners, clients, and collaborators across the world, researching and developing new support frameworks for collaborative system change. Some of the teams latest work with Impact Hub Birmingham, includes the #RadicalChildcare Systems Lab. Immy was licensee, curator and producer of TEDxBrum including the following major TEDxBrum between 2012 - 2017, with more than 3500 + attendees across the events.

Nathan Cornish


Urban Splash

Nathan’s responsible for all Urban Splash development in the Midlands and South West. He’s overseen some of the most iconic buildings in the UK - Fort Dunlop on the M6 and Rotunda slap bang in the centre of Birmingham - and is now masterminding Grade I Listed Royal William Yard in Plymouth.

Prof. Anthony Metcalfe

Professor of Wound Healing

University of Birmingham

Tony Metcalfe is a Professor of Wound Healing at the University of Birmingham. He has published over 60 research papers in scientific journals and numerous abstracts, reviews and book chapters in different research and therapeutic areas including tissue repair, regenerative medicine and scar free healing, dermatology, ophthalmology, inflammation and oncology. He has received major grants from the MRC, Wellcome Trust, Wolfson Foundation, Freemason’s Grand Charity.

Tony is an enthusiastic communicator on the theme of tissue repair, translational medicine and scar free healing and gives frequent talks to various groups at both the local and national level. Tony has contributed to local and national media, including newspaper, TV and radio interviews on stories relating to wound repair, burns and scar reduction technologies.

Kate Still

Chief Operating Officer

WM Housing Group

Kate Still is Chief Operating Officer of WM Housing Group, one of the largest social housing providers in the Midlands. Kate was previously National Director of Housing for the 80,000 unit, social housing portfolio at Sanctuary Group. Between 2009-2013 she was a member of the Homes and Communities Agency Equality Board Advisory Panel. Before joining the sector, she worked in economic development and was the National Advisor to all 9 English Regional Development Agencies on Social Enterprise and Enterprise in deprived areas. Kate has also worked internationally as Director of Cultural Shift South East - a social business development partnership between UNDP Poland, Misericordia Italy and Oxford’s Said Business School. She has spoken nationally and internationally on a diverse range of issues related to housing and economic development. She is an Alumni of the London School of Economics and an Economic and Social Research Council scholar.

Dr Anne Coufopoulos

Associate Dean (Enterprise & Commercial)

Coventry University, Faculty of Health & Life Sciences

Dr Anne Coufopoulos is currently Associate Dean (Enterprise & Commercial) at Coventry University, Faculty of Health & Life Sciences. Prior to this Anne has been employed in a number of academic roles across the course of her career in Nutrition and Public Health. Anne is also a Registered Dietitian and an accredited workplace Dietitian with the British Dietetic Association. Over recent years Anne has also been focussing upon workplace health and has been working closely with the rail industry in the North-West of England to improve the nutrition related health of employees. This work has been recognised as an example of good practice in managing railway workers health by the independent regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). Anne is also Associate Editor of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management a Trustee of two health focussed Charities; The Institute of Health Promotion and Education (brings together people with a professional interest in Health Education and Health Promotion) and HENRY (supports families to provide a healthy, happy start for their children and lay the foundations for a brighter future).

Dr Julie Nugent

Director of Skills & Productivity

West Midlands Combined Authority

Dr Julie Nugent has extensive experience in the productivity and skills sector having held a range of senior roles across government and the further education sector. She has particular expertise in financing further education and has led on developing new funding systems for the Skills Funding Agency and the Learning and Skills Council. Julie has worked in the Black Country and in Birmingham which has provided her with a keen understanding of the importance of skills in improving economic competitiveness and people’s life chances.

Dr Matie Frutos-Pascaul

Researcher in Human Computer Interaction

Birmingham City University

Dr Maite Frutos-Pascual specialises in Human Computer Interaction (HCI), usability, user analysis and user testing, interactive systems and sensor data analysis and integration. Dr Frutos-Pascual gained her PhD degree in Computer Science with her work about the analysis of visual attention and its application in adaptive intelligent systems based on serious games. She graduated with honours at the University of Deusto, Spain, where she worked as a research assistant for nearly 5 years on ICTs for health, mainly on human computer interaction, sensor data integration and user interaction analysis in assistive interfaces for people with individual needs. She joined the DMT Lab at Birmingham City University in 2015, since then she has been actively working in the use of freehand interaction in mixed reality environments using body tracking analysis. Her expertise ranges a variety of different topics in HCI, intelligent systems, data analysis and retrieval using different sensors (i.e. eye trackers, depth sensors, biofeedback), usability and user interaction analysis. Maite has her work published in different international journals with JCR (Q1, Q2) and A* ranked international conferences.

Laura McMillan

Director of Operations and Legacy

Coventry City of Culture Trust

Since leaving University with a Drama degree, Laura has lived in Coventry. She began her career in the Sales and Marketing department of Warwick Castle where she was responsible for publicising the weddings, event and conferences packages. She then moved to the Royal Shakespeare Company where she spent four years in their Marketing department with a focus on their productions and young people’s scheme, the RSC Key. In October 2015, Laura moved to the newly formed Coventry City of Culture Trust to coordinate the citywide bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 overseeing all aspects of the process from bid writing, relationship management, events programmes and governance. Since Coventry was awarded the title in December 2017, Laura has taken the role of Director of Operations and Legacy overseeing the running of the charity and delivery of the 2021 year and beyond.

Gareth Bradford

Director of Housing & Regeneration

West Midlands Combined Authority

Gareth joined the senior leadership team in December 2017 established by Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and WMCA chief executive Deborah Cadman. Gareth worked in central Government from 2010 to 2017, where his roles included a 2.5 year secondment to the No10 Policy Unit as a policy adviser on themes such as affordable housing, land, small businesses, regeneration, planning, build to rent and right to buy. His previous roles were as deputy director responsible for a cross-Whitehall division for regeneration and infrastructure, leading bespoke housing and regeneration deals in growth areas. Also as a team leader working on planning reform and legislation. Before that he was a senior planning officer and team leader at Devon County Council which he joined on graduation with a MSC in planning from Cardiff University. Gareth will oversee implementation of the WMCA’s plans to increase the supply of land for housing and employment to help meet growth levels set out in its Strategic Economic Plan.

Prof. Mohammed Arif

Head of School for Architecture & Built Environment

University of Wolverhampton

Prof Mohammed Arif is the Head of School for the School of Architecture and Built Environment, and a Professor of Sustainability and Construction Futures at University of Wolverhampton. Prof Arif got his PhD from USA and has since worked in industry in the US, UAE and the UK. Prof Arif’s main areas of research are offsite construction and green buildings. His research in the area of occupant productivity in green buildings has been well recognised globally. His past research in affordable housing using offsite in developing countries was also well received and earned him several awards for his work in Malaysia and India. Prof Arif started his career doing Project Management at Walt Disney World, Florida and then moved to an academic career. Prof Arif has been an avid researcher and has published more than 110 refereed articles and graduated 25 PhDs. He has generated millions of pounds in research funding.

Alison Meir

Senior Manager

University of Warwick

Alison Meir is a senior manager with 20 years of technical project management and business development experience. Alison joined WMG 18 months ago as the Business Development Manager for the WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult, with particular focus in Energy Storage and Management, and Connected, Autonomous Systems. Alison works to provide innovative solutions to industry through cutting-edge research and collaboration, generating critical business strategies for low carbon mobility sectors.

With significant capability in strategic development and operational effectiveness, Alison has a wealth of experience working in large corporate organisations in complex fast-moving environments. Alison has worked in high performance engineering in motorsport, and large-scale technical broadcast, including the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. Alison has senior level experience in high-value commercial management, applying technical knowledge across multi-disciplinary environments, and has an MBA and BSc Chemistry (Hons).

Simon O’Neill

Midlands Managing Partner


Simon O’Neill is EY’s Midlands Managing Partner. Based in Birmingham office - EY’s largest office outside of London with almost 1000 people, Simon became an audit partner in 2006, working with multinational clients in the FTSE100 and FTSE250 in a number of different sectors across the Midlands and wider UK. Simon also spent three years overseeing EY’s Assurance business, and recently the Finance and Operations across UK & Ireland. Previous to this, he held various roles of increasing seniority at the professional services firm.

Simon joined EY’s Birmingham office as a graduate following his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Accounting from University of Southampton and has worked for the firm in the UK and US for 21 years.

Melvin Wingfield



Melvin has supported the growth of Smethwick based A&M since the company was set up in 2002 by Mark Wingfield and Arthur Watts. Melvin is now works full time running A&M’s finance and administration to support a £5m turnover SME. Up to 2014 he combined this with a role as Senior Research Fellow in Local Governance at De Montfort University. A&M has delivered sustained sales and jobs growth over the past 5 years through a strategy of continuing investment in facilities, equipment, people and skills. The combination of EDM spark and wire erosion, CNC machining and design engineering has enabled A&M to manufacture precision components, prototypes, production runs and tooling. Our customers are in the aerospace, automotive, Formula 1, general engineering and production assembly sectors.

Chris Randall

Creative Director

Second Home Studios

Chris Randall is Creative Director of Second Home Studios, producing animation under a Digbeth railway arch since 2004. From serious to silly, the studio has garnered multiple BAFTA and RTS awards and nominations in all styles of animation, also encompassing mixed-media and puppetry. A reputation for innovative stop-motion has attracted the likes of BBC, Sony, Pilsner Urquell, RSC, National Express, ITV and Channel 4.

Lowell Williams

Chief Executive Officer of Dudley College of Technology

Chair of Dudley Academies Trust

Lowell Williams is Chief Executive Officer of Dudley College of Technology, an Ofsted ‘outstanding’ college in the West Midlands. The college is a general college of further education with a turnover of £41 million providing further and higher education programmes for some 12,000 students, including 4,100 young people on full and part- time and Apprenticeship programmes. Lowell is also Chair of Dudley Academies Trust, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Black Country Living Museum and Chair of Shrewsbury Academies Trust. On behalf of West Midlands further education sector he chairs the West Midlands Further Education Skills and Productivity Group, which is a formal partnership of 23 colleges, including all colleges within the West Midlands Combined Authority. In January 2018, Lowell was immensely proud to be appointed one of the first of seven National Leaders for Further Education. In February 2018 Lowell was named the FE leader of the year at the TES annual FE Awards.

Carl Potter

Regional Senior Director


Carl is a Senior Director within GVA based in the Brindleyplace office and has been recently appointed as the Regional Senior Director for GVA’s Midlands office at Brindleyplace, Birmingham. Previously Carl was National Head of Offices, with particular expertise in development agency. Carl advises both public and private sector clients in relation to substantial development schemes from the very earliest pre-planning stages through to project masterplanning and implementation. His track record of advising clients on matters relating to the market, the way in which development is brought forward, and development / viability appraisals provides a rare blend that imparts clear guidance to clients on how or whether schemes will be successfully implemented. Particular experience in respect of the science park market within the UK has led to involvement in a large number of major schemes across the country.

Philip Farrell

Development Director - UK Central Solihull

Urban Growth Company

Phil has been the Development Director of the Urban Growth Company (UGC) since June 2017 and is responsible for leading the various commercial property work streams needed to deliver the UK Central Hub masterplan aspirations. The infrastructure investment value in The Hub over the next ten years is expected to be in excess of £1.6bn.

The UGC has published its Hub Growth and Infrastructure Plan which brings together the ambitions of Birmingham Airport, the NEC, Jaguar Land Rover, Birmingham Business Park and Arden Cross – the site for HS2’s Interchange Station – with the potential to generate up to £4.1bn GVA per annum.

Phil has 12 years’ experience of working in commercial property. This has primarily been focused on the West Midlands, but has also included advising on national and international projects. He has specialised in being the interface between the private and public sectors on complex development and regeneration projects, finding means for both sides to achieve their aims for the collective good.

Phil joined the UGC from Jones Lang LaSalle, where he was a director in their development consultancy team. He was involved in significant projects such as the M42 Gateway in Solihull, Westside and Bilston Urban Village in Wolverhampton, and The Meadway redevelopment in Birmingham. His key clients included The Homes and Communities Agency, Wolverhampton City Council, BAE Systems. Merck MSD and Evonik Degussa.

Martin Sutherland

Chief Executive and Executive Director

Coventry City of Culture Trust

Martin will take overall management of Coventry City of Culture Trust including budgets, marketing, fundraising and research teams, volunteering and development of national and regional partnerships when he starts in September. Martin has been Chief Executive of Royal & Derngate, Northampton for ten years where he developed a new organisation, Northamptonshire Arts Management Trust, to deliver finance, administration, sales, marketing, human resources, IT, programming and management services – for the Royal & Derngate, the Errol Flynn Filmhouse and The Core at Corby Cube. He spent the previous four years as Director of The Corn Exchange & New Greenham Arts in Newbury, Berkshire. Martin is a Board Member of South East Midlands Enterprise Partnership and a Trustee of Music & Lyrics and Unlimited Theatre and is a Fellow of the RSA.

Chenine Bhathena

Creative Director

Coventry City of Culture Trust

Chenine has overall responsibility for Coventry’s UK City of Culture programming, co-curation, community engagement, capacity building and development of national and regional partnerships. Chenine comes to the Trust from the Greater London Authority where she led the Mayor’s Cultural Placemaking Team and was Programme Director for the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture award. Previous experience also includes Creative Programmer for the London 2012 Olympics/Paralympics and Arts Council England (London and national offices). Over the last five years she has made the case for greater investment in culture through major high street, housing and transport development schemes, leading a range of high profile arts programmes for the Mayor including Lumiere London and the Illuminated River. Chenine is a Board Director for IF: Milton Keynes.

Paula Gray

Head of Procurement

Midland Metro Alliance

Paula has 20 years experience working across all types of construction sectors representing both private and public spend clients.

With a strong track record for negotiation, coupled with a passion for developing win-win outcomes, Paula prides herself on a collaborative approach, bringing industry groups together to achieve value driven, sustainable and innovative results throughout the project.

A member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, Paula has a history of creating successful teams that operate to the highest standard of commercial best practice.

Recent professional achievements include award nominations for Innovation and supply chain excellence. Paula is an advocate of shared best practice and learning and works with a number of organisations, both supporting initiatives and speak at events, to encourage working partnerships.

Pamela Cain

Marketing Director

Marchantcain Group

Marketing Director with responsibility for business planning, marketing and assisting developing sales plan strategy. Working closely with MD, FD and Engineering Director to manage an aggressive growth plan focused on design, development AND manufacture of mechatronic products for the low volume, niche vehicle automotive sector. Actively promoting our world class expertise in mechatronics including active aerodynamics (grilles, underbody diffusers, rear spoilers etc), closures (doors, bonnets, boots, fuel filler flaps) glass technology and choreography (including window regulators and electrochromatic glass).

In a small but growing company many of us have multiple roles; consequently I am also responsible for HR. With my long work history I have gained a wide range of skills and capabilities which are used on a daily basis.

Robin Dobson

Director, Retail Development


Robin joined Hammerson in 1997, he leads the development team and is responsible for bringing forward future retail regeneration schemes together with retail/asset extensions. Completed projects include The Oracle, Reading; Bullring, Birmingham; Highcross, Leicester; Cabot Circus, Bristol; Union Square, Aberdeen; Victoria Gate, Leeds and Watermark, Southampton. He also worked with Hammerson France to deliver Terrasses du Port, a €450m retail led redevelopment of the Marseille docks which opened in 2014. Robin also has responsibility for bringing forward pipeline Joint Venture development projects in Croydon and Brent Cross in London.

Robin sits on the CR Board for Hammerson and is a member of the BPF and FRICS.

Dawn Baxendale

Chief Executive

Birmingham City Council

Dawn Baxendale is the new Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council, commencing her appointment from 3 April 2018. Previously, Dawn was Chief Executive for Southampton City Council. Originally from Huddersfield, Dawn has had an impressive career in local government and has an excellent track record for providing leadership that delivers success. Starting with a fast-track management scheme with the European Commission, in Brussels, working for the World Bank in Romania, she’s worked the length of the UK and is passionate about public service and the critical leadership role that Local Authorities play in delivering successful places for their communities.

Martin Yardley

Deputy Chief Executive (Place)

Coventry City Council

Martin is currently Deputy Chief Executive (Place), at Coventry City Council.

Alongside this role Martin is also Chief Executive of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CW LEP). His time with the CW LEP has seen its influence grow considerable to a situation where it is influencing or placing spend of in excess of £300m into the local economy.

Martin is a Chartered Town Planner by profession with a specialist interest in how planning can enable economic growth and development. As Director of Place he heads up a team that covers approximately 2,000 FTE’s that work in areas as diverse as street cleansing and highway maintenance to implementation of a challenging £9bn regeneration agenda.

During his time as a planner he worked for both the public and private sectors in roles as diverse as Head of Planning and Sustainability in Leicestershire to being a planner advising house builders within the East Midlands. To add to his professional qualifications Martin has completed a Masters in Business Administration at Warwick University.

Nicola Hewitt

Commercial Director

West Midlands Growth Company

Nicola leads the West Midlands Growth Company’s inward investment programme, as well the commercial division of the organisation, overseeing the services in place for supporting investors that are locating or expanding in the region. Nicola manages highly targeted campaigns that focus on the West Midlands’ sectors of strength and key overseas markets. Nicola was previously Director of Marketing and Communications consultancy View from the Hill, following on from international marketing roles at Hoople, Brintons and Codemasters.

Mark Gregory

Chief Economist


Voted top UK Voice on LinkedIn, Mark Gregory is UK Chief Economist at EY, providing knowledge, analysis and insight to help businesses understand the economic environments in which they operate. He is a business economist with almost 30 years’ experience in more than 40 countries as an advisor to the Governments and industry on economics, policy and regulation. This includes working with the Governments of Argentina and the World Bank to develop solutions to the debt and economic crisis in 1989 and 1990.

Mark is the sponsoring partner for EY’s Economics for Business Programme and EY ITEM Club, the UK’s leading independent economic forecasters, and EY’s renowned UK Attractiveness programme, the leading independent voice on Foreign Direct Investment. He works with both the private and public sectors, supporting economic development, growth and regeneration and is a key contributor to EY’s economic offering across the globe.

Prior to his role at EY, Mark was Global Head of Strategy & Business Development for Wireless at IBM and worked with clients to understand the implications of economic and market developments for their business models, cost structures and processes. Mark holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in Business Economics.

Anne Brereton

Director of Managed Growth & Communities

Solihull MBC

Anne leads the place shaping agenda for Solihull Council in particular the UK Central vision and the development of a managed growth masterplan for the area, which aims to deliver 100,000 new jobs and £14billion GDP. Anne is also a Board Member of the newly created UK Central Urban Growth Company which will co-ordinate the £1.5bn investment and infrastructure delivery in the UKC Hub area. Anne also oversees the 20 year regeneration project in the north of the Borough where an estimated £1.8billion will be invested in a community of around 40,000 people.
Anne is a Chartered town planner and has worked on a number of significant regeneration, growth and development projects involving complex partnership structures and different delivery mechanisms.

Before joining Solihull Council, Anne was Deputy Chief Executive and Strategic Director at South Bedfordshire, leading a significant growth agenda and establishing a local delivery vehicle and joint planning and transportation Committee for Luton and South Bedfordshire. Prior that that, Anne worked in Malvern, Worcestershire and South Wales as the planning advisor to the Joint Venture partnership with the Welsh Development Agency.

Anne is currently responsible for a wide range of Place services including environment, neighbourhood management, waste and street scene, highways and transport, community safety and public protection, bereavement services, housing, planning and economic development, inward investment and regeneration, Arts & Libraries, Customer Services and Partnerships & Communities.

Deborah Cadman OBE

Chief Executive

West Midlands Combined Authority

Deborah became Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority in September 2017, following a long and distinguished career in public service.

After gaining a degree in politics, she began her career in 1984 with the London Borough of Newham, before moving to Birmingham City Council where she worked on major regeneration projects and gained a master’s degree in economics. Moving to Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council in 1996 as Head of Policy, Deborah gained a second master’s in management, before taking up a two-year secondment with the Department of Environment Transport and the Regions as Local Government Advisor to the Ministerial Team. In 2003, after being appointed the Audit Commission’s Best Value Service Lead Inspector for the London region, she became Chief Executive at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, before becoming Chief Executive of the East of England Development Agency. Deborah was Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council from 2011 to 2017 and has also been interim Chief Executive of Waveney District Council, Babergh District Council and Mid-Suffolk District Council.

She is a trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Trust and Joseph Rowntree Housing Foundation and as a dedicated and passionate female advocate at the forefront of the public sector, Deborah recently won the First Women Award for Public Service. Deborah is listed in Local Government Chronicle’s ‘100 Most Influential in the Sector’. Deborah was awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to local government.

Faraz Baber


Terence O'Rourke

Faraz recently joined the specialist planning and design consultancy Terence O’Rourke as a Director. He was previously an Executive Director for Policy at London First. There he led on all activity relating to property, planning and development policy and was directly responsible for managing the real estate accounts and related commercial activity. Prior to joining London First in 2011, Faraz was Policy Director at London Councils where he managed a large multi-disciplinary team focused on housing, planning, transport, environment, culture and London 2012 implementation. His previous experience also includes senior management policy and public affairs roles at Surrey County Council, British Property Federation (BPF) and the Royal Institution of Chartered surveyors (RICS). A highly experienced and multi-skilled professional with extensive knowledge within the property sector, Faraz has successfully delivered on a number of high profile policy led campaigns. He is a Bartlett School graduate, with dual qualifications: chartered surveyor (FRICS) and chartered town planner (MRTPI). He is a member of the Department of Communities and Local Government Planning Sounding Board which provides industry advice to Government. Faraz is a Board member of the RICS P&D Professional Group and also serves on the RICS Planning Policy Panel.

Tim Johnson

Managing Director

City of Wolverhampton Council

Tim is Managing Director of the City of Wolverhampton Council having been appointed to the role in July 2018.

Prior to this, he was the council’s Deputy Managing Director and Strategic Director of Place where his portfolio of responsibilities included city development, city housing, city transport, city environment, corporate property and commercialism.

Tim is an experienced strategic local government director, specialising in place shaping, organisational change management and community regeneration. He has a proven track record of developing and delivering complex, innovative projects and programmes and has overseen a regeneration programme which has £3.7 billion of public and private investment either on site or planned in the city.

In the five years he has worked at the City of Wolverhampton Council, Tim has played a major part in the transformation of the city and the council. This was nationally recognised in June 2017 when the City of Wolverhampton Council won a record four awards at the prestigious MJ Local Government Achievement Awards 2017 including Local Authority of the Year, Most Improved Council and Senior Leadership Team of the Year.

Tim has over 20 years’ experience in local government working for Liverpool City Council, London Borough of Hillingdon, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council before joining the City of Wolverhampton Council in May 2013.

He represents City of Wolverhampton Council on a number of external forums across the region and city including the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Association of Black Country Authorities and Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and as Chair of the Board of Governors at the City of Wolverhampton College and Chair of the Board of Governors of the city’s new housing company, WV Living.

Andy Street CBE


West Midlands

Andy Street was elected as the first Mayor of the West Midlands on May 4 2017. The primary function of the role is to chair the West Midlands Combined Authority and brings with it significant powers over transport, housing, skills and jobs.

Before becoming Mayor, Andy combined a career with John Lewis, Britain’s most successful workers’ co-operative, with a host of high-profile economic development roles, working with local and national government.

He was the Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership between 2011 and 2016, helping to build the relationships that have underpinned the economic growth of the region. Additionally, he has been lead non-executive director for the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group.

In June 2015, Andy was awarded the CBE for services to the national economy. He was named the ‘Most Admired Leader’ of the year by business magazine, Management Today in 2014. He received the ‘President’s award’ from the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce in for his work in the region.

Richard Cowell

Assistant Director Development

Birmingham City Council

Richard joined Birmingham City Council’s Planning and Regeneration Department in 2008. He currently heads up a number of multi–disciplinary teams leading on a range of development, planning and regeneration initiatives, with a primary focus on the city centre.

One of his first projects was the production of the City’s strategic city centre masterplan, the Big City Plan, launched in September 2010. The Big City Plan is one of the most ambitious and far-reaching city development projects in the UK and is seeing billions of pounds of investment in both infrastructure and major new development schemes. Following the launch of the Big City Plan Richard led the work to secure the city centre Enterprise Zone and the publication of the first Enterprise Zone Investment Plan (2012).

Richard remains focused on the implementation of the strategic vision of the Big City Plan and key initiatives to drive growth across Birmingham. This includes Birmingham Smithfield and the Curzon HS2 Growth Strategy, which has secured an extension of the Enterprise Zone and over £700 million of infrastructure investment targeted at maximising growth around the city centre High Speed 2 (HS2) terminus station.

Neil Rami

Chief Executive

West Midlands Growth Company

Neil oversees the West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC), formerly Marketing Birmingham, which was established in April 2017 to create new jobs, expand existing businesses and attract new investment and visitors to the region, aligned to the ambitions set out in the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Strategic Economic Plan.

Under Neil’s leadership of Marketing Birmingham, the city secured the highest number of foreign direct investment projects on record, attracting significant new investments from companies such as HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Jaguar Land Rover and ASOS. The city’s visitor economy has also grown significantly in recent years, with Birmingham enjoying the largest growth in international visitors of any UK city outside London and the tourism sector now contributing £6.5 billion to the local economy, a 22% increase (£1.16bn) since 2013.

Previously, Neil held similar roles in Liverpool and Newcastle upon Tyne. He is a member of the British Tourism Industry Group; Chair of the Midlands Trade and Investment Group and is a former Governor and Board Member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Neil is also a Board member of Creative England

Ian Mulcahey

Managing Director, London


Passionate about solving complex urban problems, with particular expertise in the integration of infrastructure with urban growth and regeneration, Ian has been at the forefront of growing Gensler’s Firmwide Planning and Urban Design Practice. As Managing Director of the London office, Ian oversees projects across the UK and Europe, bringing a deep understanding of the various political, commercial and social drivers that influence planning delivery. Most recently, Ian has been at the forefront of the national debate on the future of aviation in the UK with the London Britannia Airport project. Ian is passionate about game changing design and has led two award-winning concept projects for London. In 2011, the Thames River Park was awarded the ‘Best Conceptual Project’ and the ‘Mayors Award for Planning Excellence’ at the London Planning Awards, and again in 2015, the London Underline won the ‘Best Conceptual Project’. A regular speaker and panelist, both in the UK and internationally, Ian is often called upon to help define the future direction of urban growth and transformation. He studied at the University of Westminster, earning a diploma in Urban Planning Implementation and BA (Hons) in Urban Planning Studies.

Tony Pidgley CBE


The Berkeley Group

He left school at 15 to form his own company in haulage and plant hire. At 19, he sold his business to Crest Homes and became a Building Director, before leaving to form Berkeley Homes in 1975. The company enjoyed rapid growth, floated on the Unlisted Securities Market in 1984, and then gained a full listing in 1985 as the Berkeley Group plc.

Tony has gained a national reputation for his pioneering approach to building homes and creating successful places. His judgement of the markets, willingness to put his personal capital at risk, and his drive and commercial flair have made Berkeley one of Britain’s best residential developers. In 2011, Berkeley was ranked Britain’s Most Admired Company across all sectors and is the only housebuilder to win the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development twice.

His expertise has been used to advise the recent Estate Regeneration Advisory Panel, the Mayor on the Outer London Commission and the Government on the disposal of public sector land. He is also a trustee of Open City London, a charity that champions architecture education, and President of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In 2016, he was nominated New Londoner of the Year in recognition of his contribution to housebuilding across the capital.

Sir Edward Lister


Homes England

Sir Edward Lister joined Homes England as Chairman in June 2016. Sir Edward has considerable experience of the housebuilding industry, in particular infrastructure investment and large-scale developments. From 2011-16, he was London’s Deputy Mayor of Policy and Planning and Chief of Staff at the Greater London Authority, which included serving as Deputy Chairman of the Old Oak & Park Royal Mayoral Development Corporation. He was previously Conservative Leader of Wandsworth Borough Council from 1992-2011. As the longest-serving council leader in the country, Sir Edward made Wandsworth the most successful value-for-money local authority in the country with the lowest council tax charge and top satisfaction ratings from its residents.

In 2016, Sir Edward was appointed as Senior Advisor to the Regeneration and Investment Organisation within UKTI. He is also a consultant for CBRE’s One London team and a Non-Executive Director of Stanhope Ltd.

Dr Colin Clinton

Regional Project Manager Regeneration and Infrastructure, Midlands Engine Investment Hub

Department for International Trade

Colin is DIT’s Midlands Engine Regional Manager for Regeneration and Infrastructure, part of the Midlands Engine Investment Hub team based in Birmingham. He joined UKTI part-time in Sept 2015 during which time he directed production of the ME’s first Investment Pitchbook, launched at MIPIM in March 2016. He helped create the 2017 ME Investment Portfolio with over £8BN’s worth of investment opportunity, and chairs the ME MIPIM steering group which helped deliver create a ME Pavilion at MIPIM Cannes for the first time in March 2017.

As DIT’s ME Regional Manager he is currently accessing many regeneration and infrastructure projects around the West Midlands that are seeking International Investment. Those that are currently investor ready to an increasing number developing within the Midlands Engine project pipeline of opportunities.

After 16 years in West Midlands public sector, Colin joined Arup in 1988 and appointed a Director in 2002. In 2004 he became the youngest President of the Institution of Civil Engineers and in January 2010 was appointed Arup’s Director of BD East Asia.
He delivered a new East Asia five-year BD Strategy for Arup before returning to UK in April 2015 as Director of Infrastructure in Arup’s Liverpool office.

Simon Marks

City Executive


Simon has been involved in shaping cities throughout his entire career. As Arcadis’ City Executive for Birmingham, he is responsible for improving quality of life across the wider West Midlands, particularly focusing on growth and investment to ensure the regions continued evolution.

With 30 years’ industry experience, he helps clients make the best of their built and natural assets in relation to achieving their vision, strategy and key priorities. He has delivered a range of projects across the public, private and infrastructure sectors and has a deep understanding of the housing and regeneration arena. Simon is also the Main Board Director of the GBSLEP Optimising Assets Group and Chair of the Enterprise Zone Executive Board.

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 12 years and was responsible for the launch of 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, WPA and UK-GBC.

Rob Groves

Regional Director

Argent LLP

Rob Groves, is the Regional Director of Argent and has over 30 years of planning, design, construction and commercial experience. Prior to joining Argent in 2007 he was an Equity Partner at a large multi-disciplinary consulting engineer practice. His development 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, funding both private and public sector, construction and commercial legals and lettings.

He is head of Argents’ Birmingham office and is leading the Paradise project in Birmingham, which is a joint venture with Birmingham City Council for a new commercial led mixed use development of 2 million sq/ft in the City centre, which is one of the biggest city centre projects in the regions. The project was one of the first in England to secure Enterprise Zone funding, delivering major site wide infrastructure changes to the city centre, the first phase of which is close to completion.

Rob is also the chair of the Midlands British Council of Offices.

Laura Shoaf, MRTPI

Managing Director

Transport for 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.

Laura was 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.

Waheed Nazir

Corporate Director for Economy

Birmingham City Council

As Corporate Director Economy, Birmingham City Council, Waheed has worked for the authority in various roles for 20 years.

Waheed provides strategic leadership and direction across a wide portfolio, including the Council’s property portfolio, planning, regeneration, housing development, transportation and connectivity, highways and infrastructure, skills and employment, business development and inward investment.

Waheed led the major transformation of the city centre through the Big City Plan, bringing forward key projects including Birmingham Smithfield, Snowhill, Paradise and New Street redevelopment. He oversees £2.5bn public sector investment through the Enterprise Zone and HS2 Curzon masterplan.

Alongside leading Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust, one of the city’s largest housebuilders, Waheed led the Council to set up a series of commercial vehicles including InReach, the Council’s vehicle for building new homes across the city, and the development of an investment vehicle for commercial property to help deliver growth.

Waheed is a non-executive Director of Birmingham Airport Holdings Limited.

Waheed is a columnist for Estates Gazette, and a visiting Professor at Birmingham City University, he mentors a number of graduates demonstrating commitment to support the development of future professionals in the field.

Waheed was awarded an honorary Doctorate by Aston University in July 2017.

Martin Reeves

Chief Executive

Coventry City Council

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.

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.