Sir Howard Bernstein- Chief Executive, Manchester City Council
Sir Howard Bernstein is Manchester City Council’s Chief Executive, a role he has held since 1998. He began his career at Manchester City Council as Junior Clerk. He has successfully forged partnerships with many of the key city players and has been involved in city regeneration including Hulme and East Manchester. He has also been involved in major projects including The Bridgewater Hall, Velodrome, City of Manchester Stadium, MEN Arena and Sport City. He has led on both the introduction of the Metrolink to Manchester City Centre and the establishment of Manchester Airport. He was instrumental in the securing of the XVII Commonwealth Games and regular business surveys place him as one of the most influential financial figures in the North West; in recognition of his massive contribution to the city Sir Howard has been awarded honorary degrees from UMIST, MMU and The University of Manchester as well as being named Mancunian of The Year and of course being knighted in 2003.
Mike Blackburn Regional Director, BT
Mike lives in the North West and has been BT’s Regional Director for the region since 2007. This role leads the NW board and aims to put BT at the heart of local communities. The board works to better understand and respond to the needs of local people and business, and to promote the NW inside BT.
Simon Hooton, Director Regeneris Consulting.
Simon leads Regeneris Consulting’s work on business competitiveness, innovation and digital. He has over 15 years of consultancy experience advising public sector clients on strategy to boost the competitiveness of their local business base and evaluating the performance of investments to strengthen local economies. Simon has been closely involved in helping Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Oxford and Birmingham secure investment to extend their broadband infrastructure. He has recently completed an evaluation of the Manchester Connection Voucher scheme and is currently advising West Yorkshire and Cheshire Warrington on multi-million pound programmes to further extend the reach and exploitation of digital connectivity.
Simon studied engineering as a first degree at Birmingham University before moving on to the London Schools of Economics for a Master’s in Public Policy & Administration. During his consultancy career he has worked for cities, local economic partnerships and central government on many different aspects of economic development.
Thomas Renn, Managing Director- Manchester Science Partnership
Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), is the largest science park operator in the UK, with 5 campuses providing world class accommodation and facilities to a diverse community of over 300 businesses, from across the health, sciences and technology sectors. Importantly, MSP plays a significant role within its sectors, supporting sectoral policy development, the formation & development of Investment funds for its companies and strategic national projects, such as; City Verve (the UK's Internet of Things City Demonstrator), the National Clinical Proteomics Centre, The medicines Discovery Catapult, The Anti-Microbial Research Centre and the Cisco Innovation Centre – Mi IDEA.
Thomas joined MSP in 2012 and with colleagues has since, scaled the business footprint from 200 k sq ft to 2 million sq ft, through acquisition and development. Appointed as Associate Commercial Director in 2014, he was promoted to Managing Director of MSP in 2016.
With significant inward investment and company growth occurring across the science sectors in Manchester, MSP has plans to triple the size of its Central Science Campus, over the next 8 years and has recently announced a Joint Venture with the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) to develop a further 230 k sq ft of specialist accommodation, within 2 buildings, Citylabs 2.0 & 3.0, for companies working in the areas of Health & Medical Technology.
Steve Connor, Co-founder- Creative Concern
Steve co-founded the full service agency Creative Concern in 2002 in the belief that inventive, high impact communications could help to make the world a better place. Fourteen years on and he works with a team of 30 people who prove the case. Whether it’s transforming the image of a place, combatting climate change, fighting food waste or finding foster parents, strong campaign and branding solutions are key.
Steve started out as a writer and media spokesperson and before starting Creative Concern he worked as communications director for a sustainability think tank and before that, as head of campaigns for a national charity. Currently his key clients include the Homes and Communities Agency, Forestry Commission, Asda, Manchester City Council, the University of Manchester, Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce and the national transport charity, Sustrans.
When he’s not playing with words and images in the studio or rushing to a workshop on his Brompton, Steve gives pro bono support to a number of key causes. He sits on the North West’s Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committee, is a Trustee of the Community Forests Trust and just finished a three-year stint chairing the climate change plan for Manchester.
Ruben is a founding member and COO of Makers Academy, Europe's #1 software engineering bootcamp. He himself learnt to code through the course, although very badly, and has worked with the startup since its inception. Seeing it grow from just an idea to a business servicing household names like Thoughtworks, Deloitte Digital and the BBC, Ruben and Makers Academy have been solving the digital skills gap and championing diversity in tech for 4 years now. He previously built numerous startups all of which were failures and learnings. Joining the first Entrepreneur First’s cohort and taking an Entrepreneur in Residence role at Forward Labs, he consulted for BlaBlaCar UK before helping build Makers Academy.
Stephen Hamilton, Partner- Mills & Reeve
Stephen is a partner at leading national law firm Mills & Reeve and the specialist partner in relation to the law and regulation of driverless cars and autonomous road vehicles. Stephen consulted on the subject at the House of Lords, with legal counsel from many of the major automotive manufacturers, with Tier 1 suppliers and with advisers and specialists in relation to road traffic safety and behaviour. Stephen’s experience extends wider than the legal, regulatory and insurance issues for driverless cars. Stephen gives expert opinion on how the transformation of our travel networks as a result of the arrival of self-driving vehicles will have a profound effect on the way we live our lives. Stephen looks back at the last great mobility change at the turn of the twentieth century when the car took over from the horse and carriage and predicts how the autonomous vehicle change in transportation brings great opportunities for auto manufacturers and everyone else involved in personal mobility.
Mark Sykes,Founder of BDO InTouch; National Head of BDO’s Business Services & Accounting division
Mark heads BDO’s disruptor business, Business Services & Accounting, which has enabled early adoption of new technologies, and a culture of finding new ways of working and embracing the idea of doing things differently. Mark founded BDOInTouch in 2015 which saw 38% sales growth last year by early adopting technology to deliver new services, embracing the digital agenda and transforming the way professional services are delivered. He has seen the transformation of a 250 professional business, along with investment in the North West including job creation.
Mark is also working with BDO International and technology partners to launch the next generation of business services focused on supporting high growth businesses, working towards a global offering adopting consistent service across the 156 countries where BDO International operates. Despite the national and international roles, Mark started his career locally and has kept investment in the North West central to his strategy and has built out central teams in Manchester and Liverpool from which the UK growth is leveraged.
Richard Skinner, Product Marketing Manager- Samsung
Richard is responsible for launching Samsung smartphones, tablets, virtual reality and wearable technology into UK businesses. He is especially focused on demonstrating to businesses how Samsung technology solutions can provide tangible cost savings, innovation and competitive advantage.
Dr Paul Smith, Professor-Manchester Metropolitan University Business School
Paul is currently an academic and visiting professor at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School. Until recently a senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, retiring on 31 December 2016 after 17 years as a partner. He is also a non executive director of Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust.
Paul is a qualified Chartered Accountant, and Chartered Tax Advisor. He also has a doctorate and MBA from Manchester Business School.
Paul is a highly experienced accounting and taxation specialist with extensive experience gained in public, private and private equity owned organisations. With many years of senior leadership experience and a deep understanding of accounting systems and processes, technology, transformation and process improvement.
His academic interests and research have been predominantly in B2B marketing, decision making and innovation.
David Bailey, Head of Vodafone Public Sector IOT
David Joined Vodafone IOT in October 2014 with a consultancy role to help the channel make use of fixed line services and complement their existing success in cellular M2M.
He has a wealth of experience in telecommunications and has built strategies and business cases for the use of technology for many multi-national organisations.
Last year David took on the role of building on Vodafone’s global expertise, by leading the UK’s Public Sector Sales Channel for IOT. He is responsible for driving IOT growth across our Public Sector Customers and Business Strategy in the UK.
“Over the 12 months in building the Public Sector team in the UK we have managed to utilise our IOT technologies to help public sector organisations combat problems across their estate, significantly reduce operating costs, find new ways to achieve efficiencies across their organisations and create new revenue streams.”
Before joining Vodafone, David spent 10 years with Cable & Wireless leading sales teams in fixed line communications and hosting, successfully achieving significant revenue growth across the different channels he has managed.
Chris joined Yorkshire Bank in 2007, previously at Norwich Union Life (14 years experience in financial services). He is a lean Sigma Black Belt, experienced in leading change and continuous improvement initiatives across multiple business units. Chris has worked in Senior roles across Products, Collections and Recoveries and Customer Banking with exposure to Retail and Business segments.
He has worked extensively within Customer Banking throughout the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank IPO process and strategic planning. Now accountable for leading thinking within the Retail Segment. Chris explores new opportunities and develop strategy in response to the dynamically evolving context and changing customer behaviour.
With more than 20 years in product development, marketing and sales, Nick is the Head of Innovation Technology for Cisco in UK and Ireland, responsible for collaborative research and leadership of the Cisco CREATE team.
His previous roles have included the CTO of Collaboration in UK and the Head of Unified Communications Technology in Europe. A dynamic thought leader and an ambassador for Cisco, Nick has a particular passion for exploring the way cutting edge technologies can transform the way we work, live and play.