Business Cluster AGM looks forward to the year ahead

Posted by Hazel Duhy on in Cluster News, Cluster Events, Member News.

Business Cluster AGM looks forward to the year ahead

Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster (BECBC) held its AGM at Energus at Lillyhall on Wednesday 5 April and the morning’s programme included the unveiling of a new branding and visual identity for the organisation.

The AGM was attended by over 200 people representing a broad cross section of the organisation’s membership of over 300 companies and organisations. Presentations from two local schools and insights from special guest, John Clarke, former CEO of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, started proceedings, followed by the business of the AGM, the launch of the new branding for BECBC and a member presentation by representatives of lunch sponsors, VINCI Technology Centre.

Guest speakers
The meeting got off to an “awesome” start as pupils from Ennerdale & Kinniside Primary and Keswick Schools celebrated their recent successes in the FIRST LEGO League Challenge national competition.  Teachers from each school as well as local champion for the scheme, Pete Woolaghan of The REACT Foundation, explained progress and next steps and appealed to BECBC members to get involved and to help reach a target of 100 teams from Cumbrian schools taking part by 2020.

“The success of these teams in the national finals has been amazing,” said Pete Woolaghan, “and we’ve high hopes for success as Ennerdale & Kinniside Primary School take part in the international finals in June.  For such a small school to do so well is fantastic and these young people are doing a great job of developing and then showcasing exactly the technical skills and personal abilities that Cumbrian companies are going to need in the future.”

John Clarke, the former CEO of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), then had the tough job of following the young people as guest speaker: “I knew it would be tough,” he said, “and their enthusiasm and confidence is inspiring.”  John went on to talk from a personal perspective about his 40 years in the nuclear industry, the challenges and the opportunities facing the decommissioning supply chain and the recent focus and progress at Sellafield Ltd.

“We need to celebrate the successes of recent years at every opportunity,” he said.  “Let’s be clear, the amount of radioactive material on the Sellafield site and the legacy of 70 years of disposal have created huge challenges but these are now being addressed and resolved.  Our colleagues in the US and elsewhere are happy to push their expertise and how it could be applied in Cumbria but we must remember that the challenges here are bigger.  It won’t always follow that what works elsewhere will be relevant here but we can be confident that, if something works at Sellafield, there’s potential for it to work across the world.  Companies here need to remember that and sell themselves, their skills and their knowledge in the global decommissioning market.”

Business of the AGM
After the usual networking session and coffee, business resumed in the Auditorium at Energus including a review of the past year from BECBC Chairman, Ivan Baldwin, a summary of the organisation’s financial position by current BECBC Treasurer, Alison Johnston of Dodd & Co Accountants and the election of four Board Directors.

Ivan looked back on a year of increased activity for BECBC in the context of seismic shifts in the world and current affairs. “We reached a milestone in membership last year,” he said, “engaged John Grainger as our Stakeholder Relations Director and had a record number of entries for our Business Awards. Sector Groups have continued to develop their programmes and impact, our workshop programme has grown and we’ve strengthened our links with local MPs, influencers and other organisations that share our aims. Our input to national strategy is being invited and welcomed and we need to be unashamed in promoting the importance of this region in national nuclear and broader industrial strategy.”

After mentioning Hazel Duhy’s ten years of administrative support for the Business Cluster and the commitment of Emma-Jayne Gooch to the Board in recent years, Ivan then handed over to Alison Johnston of Dodds Accountants for the Treasurer’s report.

Alison summarised the current financial position of the organisation, explained the budgeted loss and allocation of reserves and confirmed increased costs due to several factors including the continued high levels of membership, the growth of the workshop programme and the successful BECBC Business Awards dinner.

“Some costs have increased with a bigger membership,” she said, “but, overall, we are in a healthy position with an operating loss below the level planned and budgeted. The task ahead is to ensure that the membership levels are sustainable with all sorts of businesses and organisations deriving as much value as possible from their membership of BECBC.”

The final element of the AGM was the election of four Board Directors.  Three Directors were standing for re-election after completing their three-year terms, Ivan Baldwin of Carr’s Engineering, Alison Johnston of Dodd & Co Accountants and Liz Bowe of PacTec EPS Ltd, and Emma-Jayne Gooch had stood down from her Board role as her term concluded.  Five new candidates also stood for election: Richard Arnott of RSM UK, Siân Beaty of High Moorside Consulting Ltd, Jon Downie of Assystem, Michelle Edmondson of Sellafield Ltd and Joanne Stronach of Burnetts Solicitors.

After a carefully monitored count of members’ votes, Tom Scaife of Baines Wilson LLP and a member of the BECBC management team confirmed Ivan, Liz, Alison and Siân Beaty as Board members for the year ahead.  Ivan then thanked all those who had stood for election for their willingness to be part of the leadership of BECBC.  “It’s an indication of the health of the Business Cluster that so many members are willing to give up their time and energy to contribute to its future.  Thank you to everyone who stood for election and I’m looking forward to working with those who’ve been elected today.”

Branding announcement
In recent months, member companies and their graphic designers have been submitting ideas for a new logo and branding for BECBC. 3DW Technologies, based in Altrincham but actively involved in the Moorside nuclear new build project, was announced as the winner.  Its work was unveiled at the AGM alongside a refreshed web presence, developed and designed by A Digital of Kendal and the first examples of the new branding in place on banners, stationery and presentations.

John Grainger, Stakeholder Relations Director for BECBC, has been a member of the team working on the rebranding project: “We had a good selection of fresh ideas to choose from and I’d like to thank all the member companies that submitted their proposals.  I think the new branding, colours and style will give the organisation’s profile a boost and, along with the revised strapline, Cumbrian collaboration with global reach, I think we’re positioning the Business Cluster for exciting years to come.”

Finally, Steve Shanahan and Dr Russell Matthews of the VINCI Technology Centre (sponsors of the day’s networking lunch) explained the work of their team, the VINCI office in Whitehaven and their current projects.  The presentation included various case studies and unusual examples of mock ups created by VINCI across the UK and a final video that reinforced the message that the team could build, drop and test just about anything!

Next meeting
The next BECBC members meeting will be held at Energus from 9am on Wednesday 3 May.  Further information on membership of BECBC and details of member companies, specialist sector groups and other activities can be found online.

 

Photos by Linda Bussey of PiXL, include:

  • Top left: Ivan Baldwin, Chairman of BECBC with the Directors of the Board, including newly elected Board member, Sian Beaty of High Moorside Consulting Ltd. Left to right: John Berry, Alison Johnston, Liz Bowe, David Henderson, Siân Beaty and Ivan Baldwin. (Gary McKeating and Sean Balmer are missing from group).
  • 2nd down on the right: BECBC launched its new branding at the AGM, designed by the graphics team at 3DW Technologies and developed for online use by A Digital of Kendal. Left to right: Andrew Armitage of A Digital and Josie Salmon of 3DW Technologies.
  • Middle row (left and centre): John Clarke (left), former CEO of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, was guest speaker at the meeting and spent time with Pete Woolaghan of The REACT Foundation (right) and young Keswick School competitors in the FIRST LEGO League Challenge UK.
  • Middle row (right): Derek Jenkinson's (a BECBC Honorary Lie Member) attends his 150th BECBC Member Meeting!
  • Bottom row left: John Clarke (left), former CEO of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
  • Bottom row, centre and right: Lunch sponsor VINCI Technology Centre, with Steve Shanahan and Dr Russell Matthews at their stand.