8th OCTOBER  2020 was roaring success.

For a number of years the EMCON Show

has (formerly Oktoberfest) included a conference element with keynote speakers

discussing a range of topics affecting manufacturing business. 



Last year we heard from Heather Mills of Vbites alongside our industry leaders panel of North East entrepreneurs on their plans for the North East and the incredible confidence they have in our sector.

EMN as show owners have always looked to collaborate with the very best people to create a day that brings a wealth of opportunity for the attending and exhibiting businesses and we can confirm that this will continue alongside our day to day operations of supporting the sector in their daily activities.

Its undeniable that 2020 has been a most extraordinary year and our planned EMCON Show was moved from October to September 2021 to allow business confidence to return. However, it was always our intention to hold the date of October 8th for something special and we were very pleased to announce that this year seen our very first EMCONF event, which was held entirely online. 

 We spent several months deliberating over the content of this two-hour conference and what our sector needs by way of support and really do believe we delivered an excellent collaboration of speakers The subject was very simple, DRIVING RECOVERY, and we brought together some of the region’s most influential people to discuss the future of our industry and what is being done right here in the North East to stimulate this.

For those that missed the live event, we have attached the link below for you to catch up on what was a positive, informative, and valuable insightful discussion from the manufacturing and engineering sector.





Harry is an experienced International Strategist and Corporate Turnaround Director having led business transformation teams at both KPMG and PwC and has been sponsored by the UK Government to manage initiatives that he designed to secure the future of enterprises in the SME sector in the UK. He was Adviser to Coutts Bank of London and a Senior Adviser to the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and was involved in the transformation of USSR businesses and the creation of modern Russia, advising companies throughout Eastern Europe on Western business practices.

Harry now works across Europe from bases in London, Berlin, Turin, and Geneva. His turnarounds include Silver Cross Prams Ltd, Collets International Booksellers plc, Apple Resellers – East Midlands, and Romag Ltd. He is currently Global Head – Transformation & Turnaround for NMS Consulting Inc.


Richard is co-owner and financial director of one of our regions best known innovative groups of fabrication and machining businesses, Dyer Engineering. He has helped lead the group into new markets and geographies with a wealth of experience gained over many years in the sector. He is a highly competent financial director having previously held the position of European Head of Finance for Formica Corp, Vice Chair of Make UK (EEF) NE and a director of Grange Interiors.

Richard is well known for his passion for the North East, seen in his part of the formation and building of Engineering & Manufacturing Network. He is widely recognised as the voice of the sme having supported a wide range of initiatives including ‘Powered by People’ a value seen clearly in his companies mantra ‘Smarter Stronger Together’.


Mike’s entire career has been based around all aspects of manufacturing starting as an apprentice and ultimately becoming European Operations Officer of one of the region’s top 200 companies responsible for multiple sites across Europe including approaching 4000 staff with sales of £0.5b. He is now regarded by the North East business press as being one of its most influential businesspeople.

In 2014 Mike received his proudest honour, being awarded an MBE from the Queen for his services to business in the North East of England.

Over the last 10 years he has contributed to the operations of NE organisations such as the North East England Chamber of Commerce holding the post of President alongside being an associate member of the Tees Valley Combined Authority Local Enterprise Partnership and the Co-founder & Vice Chairman of the North East Automotive Alliance. 

Mike’s passion lies in sharing his knowledge and experience with the region’s businesses and developing the North East and Tees Valley economies and has recently decided to fully concentrate his efforts in this direction supporting companies on a consultative basis and as an advisor through his Non-Executive Director roles.


Andrew is a portfolio Chairman having previously held Chief Executive positions in the energy and subsea sectors, being awarded three Queen’s Awards for Industry.

He joined the North East LEP board as Vice Chair in 2011 and was Chair from 2016 to summer 2020. During his tenure, he worked to help drive forward the vision of the North East Strategic Economic Plan to create 100,000 more jobs, working with key stakeholders to ensure the region’s economy is strengthened. He was also chair of the North East Skills Advisory Panel and Employment and Skills boards.

He is a former North East Business Exec of the year, EY Entrepreneur of the Year, EEF (Make UK) manufacturing champion of the year, and has received an OBE for his work in manufacturing.

Andrew is currently Chairman at Avid Technology, Recycling Lives and TVS.


David has gained his experience by working within large organisations in the manufacturing and automotive industry. Starting out as an apprentice at Cummins Engines in Darlington, David developed his career and help high profile positions with responsibility in the UK, Europe and the USA. Since leaving mainstream employment David has co-founded and now directs in two consultancies as well as holding some none executive positions. He now allocates his time between managing those businesses as well as supporting many local organisations in the manufacturing and educational sectors.

David is a strong and pragmatic leader, who is able to identify and understand the needs of the business. Throughout his working career David has developed strong presentation and communication skills, whilst taking on new and challenging tasks. He has a positive approach to resolving situations and has a clear and transparent manner.

Current Business
Drive2Business Owner and Director
IA Growth Director and co-founder
Organisational Support
Chair UTC South Durham
Advisory Board Member Business Durham
Chair Engineering, Manufacturing Network. EMN
Governor University of Sunderland
Trustee Baker Dearing Trust
Chair Stronger Town Board for Bishop Auckland learning


Jim joined EMN board in 2016 following an illustrious career in defence engineering and now works with our regions SME’s supporting them as a non executive director across a diverse range of businesses.

Jim’s experience was gained as Managing Director for one of the business units at BAE Systems, working within the UK, USA, Australia, and India. He was also Managing Director of a Type-45 Destroyer project, responsible for managing the profit and loss of a £4bn programme.

Previously he had attained the position of Group Operations Director of Vickers Defence Systems further reinforcing his sector experience.


Corporate Director of Regeneration Economy and Growth

Amy is Corporate Director of Regeneration and Growth for Durham County Council, one of the largest local authorities in the UK.

Amy has previously held senior roles in local government in two large metropolitan authorities in the West Midlands and Sheffield City Region, passionate about the North and our potential for growth, Amy has also held senior roles for Transport for the North, Sheffield City Region and Transport for Greater Manchester.

Amy has a breadth of experience in the delivery of major investments, strategy, and development, she is an active member of ADEPT and SOLACE and was Named as Planning Magazines ‘Ones to Watch’ in 2016 and is a previous winner of the prestigious McKibben Research Prize for Freight on logistics.

She is passionate about local wealth building and equality of opportunity.

Contact us for details of the next event