OUR STEERING GROUP
Ian Brown represents the third generation in the family business of Graham and Brown. Formed in 1946 the company supplies wall decorative products to consumers worldwide. In 2012 he received the North West Director award by the IOD and was highly recommended in the national finals for his work in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility in 2013. More recently Ian has led the very successful Hive Business School initiative. He is also a director of Growth Lancashire.
Miranda Barker is Chief Executive at the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber lobbies for its members and the wider business community, engages in public-private partnerships for economic regeneration, and provides support services specialising in international trade, purchase & supply, internet services, training and business mentors. Miranda has been involved with Chambers of Commerce for over 20 years and has worked professionally as the owner of an SME, a director within a Plc and an environmental consultant.
Nicola Clayton is Director of Business Development & External Engagement at Blackburn College. Founded more than 127 years’ ago, Blackburn College is a unique Educational Institution in that it has Sixth Form provision, extensive Further Education provision and a top rated University Centre; it is a ‘one stop shop’ supporting student progression, attainment and employability, serving the whole community with a full and relevant academic offer in the heartland of Pennine Lancashire.
David Sharpe is a Director of Pierce Group. He is also president of the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. Pierce are specialist providers of business advice and accountancy services to predominantly family run and owner managed business. Established in 1929 and based centrally in Blackburn, Pierce provides a wide variety of services including Corporate Finance, Forensic Accountancy, Business consultancy, tax planning and audit and tax compliance.
Mark Lomas is Managing Director of Elgra Furniture Consultants Ltd. Having worked for his family business, Lomas Office for over 30 years and helping to transform the business, Mark wanted to branch out on his own and expand his portfolio. He now works on all aspects of office moving and refurbishment including 2D and 3D design, fit out project management and the supply of a wide variety of furniture to produce outstanding workspaces.
Michael Hill is Managing Director of Optima Control Solutions Ltd. Located on Capricorn Park in Blackburn, Optima boasts a team of professional engineers providing expert industrial control solutions worldwide. After serving his apprenticeship at Cobble Blackburn Ltd, and subsequently graduating from Manchester University, Michael held positions at Kennedy and Donkin Consulting Engineers (Manchester) and Eurotherm Drives Ltd. (West Sussex) before he and a colleague formed Optima CS and set up in Blackburn in 1995.
Danny Davis is the Head of New Business for Blackburn Rovers Football Club, Lancashire.
Born and raised in Blackburn, the Red Rose County, he also spent ten years working and living in Tenerife and thanks the hospitality industry for his dedicated work ethic. Working for Blackburn Rovers is an honour for Danny and he enjoys working and supporting his birth town. He was also the main drive to attract Elton John to Ewood Park in June 2017.
Brian Bailey is Director of Strategy and Funding at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. Brian has worked for the Council for 16 years, becoming Director in January 2011. His role is externally-facing to support the emerging Combined Authority arrangements in Lancashire, develop post-16 skills and links with business, maximise external funding opportunities for the Council and the Borough and further develop HIVE. He has led the Council’s engagement with business culminating in the creation of HIVE in 2012. Other responsibilities include chairing the Lancashire European Network and acting as lead officer for the Lancashire LEP on EU matters. Educated at universities in Sheffield and Liverpool Brian is a town planner by profession and has previously worked for local authorities in Liverpool, Salford and Durham specialising in land use planning, grant funding initiatives and economic development.
Nick Fellows is Managing Director of Newsquest Media Ltd (North West), one of the largest regional media publishers in the UK.
Nick has operational responsibility for 24 print and online brands across the North West, boasting an audience of almost 4 million users a month online and 750,000 readers a week in print. Regional titles include the daily Lancashire Telegraph (based in Blackburn) and Bolton News, which celebrates its 150th year of publishing in 2017. Leading weekly news brands include the award-winning Warrington Guardian and Westmorland Gazette.
Nick has over 20 years-experience within the industry and over five years’ experience as a Director.
Hannah Allen is the Chief Executive of Blackburn Youth Zone. Born in Liverpool, from an early age Hannah’s has always had a strong passion about engaging youth and communities to tackle and overcome social challenges to sustain and prosper.
Hannah has extensive experience in successfully involving diverse communities, identifying need and targeting investment in projects that have lasting social change, in a variety of locations. Hannah’s experience has built a strong network nationally and across a variety of sectors including voluntary, statutory, educational, third sector and private sector.
Helen Fogg is Head of Business Engagement within the Management School at Lancaster University and currently leads a team developing and delivering business and management knowledge exchange programmes for industry. Work is undertaken on a regional, national and international basis, often working collaboratively with a number of institutions. Helen joined Lancaster University Management School in 2003 having returned from the USA where she completed an MBA at the University of Dallas, Graduate School of Management. Previously she worked for several multinational organisations including BAE Systems and the Danone Group.