MEET THE TEAM

The Engineering and Manufacturing Network is managed by a board of directors made up of engineering, manufacturing and business experts who each have decades of invaluable experience.

The day to day growth of the organisation falls under the remit of Director of Operations Ben Gilhespy, who is tasked with raising the profile of EMN and growing its membership base.

Read about the team’s individual successes and experience below…

DAVID LAND
Chairman

Having spent his career in the automotive sector working with some of the largest suppliers David is now using his extensive experience being actively involved with many business groups helping promote and support the growth of manufacturing in the North East.

David is Chairman for EMN and also a business board member of the local enterprise partnership, as well as supporting the regions 1st UTC. David is also a strong supporter of getting young people in our region into engineering.

 

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Ailsa Anderson
Director of Operations

Ailsa has spent 20 + years working across numerous public and private sector initiatives supporting the growth, innovation capabilities and scalability of SMEs within various sectors, across the North East of England.

 

Over that time she has experienced and listened to the real-life challenges of thousands of SMEs whilst working alongside several leading Entrepreneurs and Consultants and developed an in-depth knowledge and network base within the world of funding, policy and government initiatives; Ailsa has been able to break down barriers and positively drive change across stakeholders to improve the overall commercial success of SMEs in our region.

 

“What I have learnt most in my career to date is the power of listening. Hearing and understanding the needs of the market is fundamental to our success and I’m here to listen, to understand the needs of our members, prepare for all eventualities and open doors to new opportunities.”

 

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PAUL SUN
Board Member

Paul is a director of two leading companies – regional manufacturing firm Hiatco and international events and communications agency Pink Buddha.

Paul has strong links with EMN and is a key driver in developing and maintaining relationships with engineering and manufacturing companies across the region. He is also responsible for the organisation of EMCON, the network’s flagship networking event which takes place each October at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe.

 

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SARAH SLAVEN
Board Member

Sarah Slaven is Business Development Director at Business Durham – a supporter of The Engineering & Manufacturing Network and EMCON event since their conception.

Sarah is responsible for promoting enterprise, fostering the environment for new businesses to start up, and enabling businesses in the county to develop and grow.

 

 

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RICHARD BRADLEY
Board Member

Richard brings a wealth of financial experience to the EMN table, having worked in the sector for more than 13 years.

As finance director at Dyer Engineering, Richard provides the EMN board with critical financial guidance and control. He has previously gained experience as European head of finance at Formica Corp and as a director at Grange Interiors.

 

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JOHN BIGNALL
Board Member

With and a career spanning over 40 years, and as owner of The Bignall Group, John brings broad and vast knowledge to EMN through his involvement in the manufacturing and engineering sectors.

John has built and established a range of successful businesses, enabling him to provide EMN and its members with a strategic and common sense approach.

 

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KERINA CLARK
Board Member

Kerina joined EMN board in 2016. As Managing Director of the Xcel Centre she has experience in a variety of businesses within the service sector as well as a previous career in the banking sector.

She is actively involved in the local business community and is chair of Aycliffe Business Park Ltd, a company set up to facilitate growth and support for the 500 companies based on the park.

 

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JULIE PATTERSON
Board Member

Julie joined the EMN board in 2018.  She currently works at Octo Design, the North East’s leading Industrial Design & Innovation consultancy.  Prior to that, she owned and ran a successful moulding and tooling company.

Her 25 years of experience across Manufacturing and Design has given her an insight into the needs of hundreds of businesses of all sectors and sizes.

As a serial networker, she understands the importance of a fused business community and as 96% of all businesses in the UK have fewer than 10 employees, believes that there is huge potential for SMEs to engage and work with each other to create larger, more compelling market offers.

 

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Anthony Broadhead
Board Member

Over the last 15 years, Anthony Broadhead has built a reputation as one of the most prominent and well-networked recruitment professionals in the North East. Anthony’s tenure as Chief Operating Officer at Jackson Hogg has seen the business grow from a team of 3 specialist recruiters to a position of the North East’s largest STEM-specialist outsourced people services business, with a team over 100 people strong. His relationship-led approach and a value-set that centres on doing the right thing, Anthony’s experience provides a fasinating and well-honed perspective on both people and business.
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Kaye Collins
Network Manager

Kaye joined EMN in 2019 and has brought with her a wealth of commercial sales experience, coupled with a strong academic background in marketing.
 
Her exhaustive experience in supporting manufacturers in their business development plans and economic growth adds a new dynamic to the network. Kaye has worked on initiatives such as Manufacturing Growth Programme, providing strategy and direction for engineering and manufacturing businesses in the north east.
 
Working alongside our director of operations, Kaye works on the network activities and is a daily point of contact for our businesses. Kaye oversees the running of our flagship event EMCON and other business event iniatives.
 
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