Magazine

Directory

Board of Directors

Gary Charlton
Chairperson
Tracy Mawson
St Helens Chamber

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Gary has recently retired from Pilkington Glass Ltd following a long career. Gary’s career started as an Engineering Apprentice and has therefore developed a passionate support for this type of early career development. Following the apprenticeship Gary was sponsored by Pilkington to study at the University of Liverpool and gained a 1st Class Hons degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Gary’s early career was spent in Plant Engineering working at various sites around St.Helens. He also gained an MBA at the University of Lancaster which helped him to develop into a more General Management role.  Following a period of Operational Management in the UK, Gary spent six years working in North America. Initially in Indianapolis as a Production Manager and then later as Plant Manager at a facility located close to Detroit. During this time gaining valuable exposure to the demands of supplying the Automotive industry. Since returning to the UK Gary has held many senior level appointments within Pilkington Glass both in the Automotive & Architectural divisions.

In addition, Gary led the significant expansion of Manufacturing Satellites for the Automotive Division around Europe to supply higher quality glass products ‘just in time’ (JIT) to the OE Automotive customers. He also led Benchmarking study visits to Japan & China.

Gary’s last role at Pilkington was as the UK Strategic Program Director where he led the Strategic development for the UK company and many significant capital projects. He also was very active in energy conservation and sustainability for Pilkington working with many leading organisations and was on the Strategic Board of Glass Futures up to retirement.

Gary has been a board member since 2012 serving as a main Board Director and now as Chair.

Gary’s family roots go deep in St. Helens. Brought up to support our rugby team and even played at schoolboy level representing the town.

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Tracy has been responsible for Business Services at St Helens Chamber since 2011, and Deputy Chief Executive since 2016.  Her previous roles in the North West include Head of Strategy at NWDA – the North West Regional Development Agency – and Economic Development Manager at The Mersey Partnership.   Since moving to live in Liverpool in 2003 Tracy has specialised in regeneration, economic development and business growth policy, and she holds an MBA in Urban Regeneration from University of Liverpool.

Tracy worked in her early career in financial publishing, management consultancy, and internet retail.   Her private sector background includes many aspects of business start-up, innovation and growth and she has held a number of roles across business development & marketing.   Her first degree was in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University.

Currently Tracy is a board member of the St Helens Town Deal Board and a Governor of Carmel College.    She chairs the national Youth Skills policy group for British Chambers of Commerce and sits on the Liverpool Business Group, an advisory body to the Liverpool City Region Mayoral Combined Authority.  Her interests include arts and culture, mental health well-being, and family life.

 

Cath Murray-Howard
Torus
Craig Roche
CMS Accountants
Damian McAreavey

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With a passion for delivering high quality operational services and improving the living environments of people, Cath, as Chief Operating Officer at Torus, is responsible for the Housing division, including Assets, the Commercial Contracting arm (HMS), and the charitable arm Torus Foundation.  When visiting properties and communities, Cath’s starting point is always ‘would I live here?’ and she leads from the front in delivering services, homes and neighbourhoods which start with the customer at the centre.

 

Cath has a strong track record of leadership, operational delivery, transformation and cultural development. Before joining Torus, Cath held numerous high-profile positions including Chief Operating Officer at Mersten Group, Director of Strategy and Business Development at The Disabilities Trust and Deputy CEO at Community Integrated Care, a large, UK wide charity delivering care and support to older people and people with learning disabilities.

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Craig has been an accountant for over 35 years and has had roles in both practice and industry. He has owned and ran CMS Accountants for over 15 years using his experiences from both to help businesses locally and nationally.

 

His area of specialism is small, owner managed businesses where he is passionate about helping his clients achieve their dreams and ambitions whilst providing reassurance by ensuring they remain compliant with the various HMRC legislative requirements.

 

The broad base of clients provide a relevant insight into the needs of small businesses within the community and he hopes to bring that experience to the Board to help further the needs of local enterprises.

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Damian is educated to PhD level with doctorate in manufacturing systems, he has a career of 35 years in industry including 9 years in the pharmaceutical industry with research based and medium sized generic manufacturing companies in Supply Chain and Systems Implementation roles , Management Consultancy with Price Waterhouse Coopers for 3 years specialising in Manufacturing, Logistics and Supply Chain .

He worked in manufacturing with Pilkington for 22 years in European and UK based roles.  Latterly, Head of Operations for Rolled and Wired Glass Operations and then Head of Pilkington Architectural Operations with responsibilities for the St Helens based Watson Street and PA factories.

He has been a Board member of St Helens based Waterside Training for 7 years ,School Governor at Twiss Green Community Primary School for 22 years and a Board Member of St Helens Chamber of Commerce since 2018.  Damian is Interested in all matters influencing the future success and prosperity of St Helens, including rugby league

Navin Soni
Thriftys
Neil Start
Rapid ERP
Philip Darbyshire
Starbank Panel Products

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Navin was born in Liverpool moved to Widnes when he was 1 years old. From about 8 years old he spent a lot of his childhood working on the markets in Preston, my father’s business and his uncle’s Ice cream vans.

At 17 he started working in a cash carry as warehouse operative worked his way up to van sales and then ran the business for the owner.  In 2006 he created Cheshire wholesale supplying FMCGs to independent retailers and wholesalers. Following on from this in 2010 he created Cheshire retail and later bought the St. Helens brand and store Thriftys which he has successfully grown the business to 14 stores and now employs 150 people and he is not stopping there!

As well as Cheshire retail he also owns Innavision group ltd and Cheshire property services Nw ltd which has a diverse portfolio of tenants manufacturers, retailers, dance schools , Publicans , mechanics, takeaways  mostly local operators and a small number of blue chips

He is a qualified NHS mental health volunteer and involved in various charity work. After spending a lot of his childhood and having his business based in St. Helens, he is passionate about helping and giving back to the community that has given him so much.

 

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Neil Start is a Principal SAP Consultant and Managing Director at Rapid ERP, where his focus is on passionately promoting the value of a holistic approach to SAP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM).

Neil is an experienced IT services leader who has spent the last 15 years helping clients to find innovative solutions to maximize the value of their investment in SAP.

He is a recognized expert in SAP tools and methodologies, having completed many full-lifecycle SAP implementation projects for large global organizations across Manufacturing, Aerospace and Defence, Energy, Public Sector, Media and Communications, and IT Services sector

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Philip has worked in Manufacturing for 34 years within the wood-based panel industry at Starbank Panel Products Ltd.

His initial 15 years working in production gaining experience of all aspects of the manufacturing processes, he has progressed to management position, director and 15 years as managing director.

He is a Shareholder and company director Starbank Holdings Ltd, managing various industrial properties and property developments.  In 2009 – he was the Co-founder of ‘Sankey Valley Industrial Estate Community Interest Company’ (SVIE CIC) a company establish to improve the safety, security and appearance of the estate and the local area .

As of 2018 he has been a  Board member at St Helens Chamber and member of the Training Services sub-group .  Philip was born in Wigan and has been living in St Helens for the last 6 years he is enthusiastic about the development of the area to benefit all stakeholders

Hazel James
Brendon International


Councillor Kate Groucutt
St Helens Borough Council


Keith Wilson
Peel Logistics Property

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Hazel James is Owner and Managing Director of Brendon International Ltd. Established in 1982, an export packing and freight forwarding company. Leading a team of 30, Hazel has developed a culture of providing their customers with a friendly and efficient personalised packing and worldwide freight service.

Hazel keeps Brendon International Ltd. at the highest levels of service, for all their valued customers.

Since moving to their Newton-le-Willows, purpose-built facility in 2000, Hazel has taken a strong interest in the local community of St Helens. Many of the staff are from the local area.

Hazel has been an active member of the St Helens Board for 5 years.

 

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Kate Groucutt is an elected Councillor for Parr ward and Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Business for St Helens Borough Council. She leads the council’s agenda on education (including schools, FE, early years and adult education), skills, employment and business support services.  She is also the Deputy Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economy and Third Sector for Liverpool City Region.

 

Kate is a mum of two primary age children, and is a self-employed consultant working in the voluntary sector. She was previously a senior leader in a number of national charities, and started her career as a policy adviser at the CBI, working with businesses on a range of policy issues

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Keith is a Chartered Surveyor with over 20 years experience acquiring properties for big brand, blue-chip national occupiers across a variety of sectors.

Since 2018, he has worked as Development Director for PLP, a specialist logistics and warehousing property developer and investor. Based in the Manchester office, Keith has delivered several significant new logistics developments across the region including a new £100m facility for Amazon in Knowsley.

 

Prior to this, Keith worked for Bericote, a niche industrial and distribution developer, leading the Manchester office and helping to deliver the M6 Major scheme in Haydock.

 

Keith have been involved with St Helens Chamber for a number of years both as a Strategic Partner and as a Director and believe that it is extremely well placed to ensure that the significant employment and training benefits from these developments are targeted locally.

 

Keith lives in Warrington, close to where he grew up, and is married with two children. He is a keen sportsman and particularly enjoys playing football and golf. Keith is also a supporter of Liverpool FC and manages to get to most home games, subject to family and work commitments!

Lisa Harris
 St Helens Borough Council
Malcolm Jackson
Langtree 
Neil Taylor
Wind in the Willows Childcare Ltd

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Over 30 years’ experience working in the public sector has given Lisa extensive knowledge;  across place and people services and  across public and private partnerships.  It has equipped her with many skills to deliver organisational and place-based change.

 

Lisa is a passionate individual who strives to deliver excellent and efficient services.  Enthusiastic and driven, she loves to work with diverse teams who are as passionate as she is, to make change into reality.

 

It is said that Lisa’s superpower is the ability to translate strategy into delivery as she doesn’t want to talk about regeneration and transformation, she wants to deliver it.

 

In my current role I have a focus on supporting business growth, regenerating town centres, delivering a green economic recovery, bringing industry back to life and providing a choice of good quality homes for all.

 

I am committed to make sure that all of the Borough’s physical assets provide opportunities for skills, employment and training for residents  ensuring that the Borough’s workforce is ready to meet the challenges of the future.

 

My greatest reward is serving the public, creating great places and improving people’s lives.

 

Joining St Helens in the middle of the first covid lockdown has meant my first two years in the Borough have been tumultuous but I have been consistently impressed by the passionate and resourceful people and the strong and resilient partnerships. Being a board member of the Chamber is a great honour and I look forward to embodying the spirit of #StHelenstogether.

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Malcolm is Langtree’s Chief Operating Officer. His background includes six years at Wainhomes where his roles included Group Company Secretary and Divisional Finance Director. Prior to this Malcolm worked for KPMG in the North West and Australia.  He is a Chartered Accountant and an Associate Member of Corporate Treasurers.  Malcolm has 20 years’ experience at Langtree. This included 17 years as Finance director.  This role included all aspects of fund raising and corporate transactions including a management buyout in 2015.This experience was recognized in winning Finance director of the year award in 2015.    Malcolm has been closely involved in the establishing and subsequent management of the group’s existing JV projects.

Malcolm has been involved in various investment and regeneration projects in St. Helens, most notably, the redevelopment of the former united glass works as the new saints stadium and Tesco.

Currently, Malcolm is a board member of Parkside regeneration, a joint venture between Langtree and St. Helens Council to bring forward the redevelopment of the former Parkside Colliery site.  The redevelopment brings back into economic use 230 acres and is capable of delivering more than 4200 jobs and generating c£6m of business rates pa.

Malcolm has been on the Board of St. Helens Chamber of Commerce since 2018 and has been Chair of the Audit committee since 2020.

Born and brought up in St. Helens, a lifelong saints fan so am delighted to assist in the growth of St Helens.

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From 1971 to 1975 Neil was a Trainee manager and department manager Woolworths, 1975 to 1977 Furniture Manager ASDA, 1977 to 1980 Branch manager MANWEB, 1981 to 1992 Town Centre Manager Burton Menswear

1993 to present Neil is a Director of Wind in the Willows Childcare.

 

He was a  Councillor for Newton, St Helens MBC 1998 – 2014 and , Portfolio Holder Urban Regeneration 2006 to 2008.

In 2010 he became Mayor of St Helens Neil has been on the St Helens Chamber Board three time in  1998 to 2004 then 2014 to 2018 then 2019 to present. Married to Ginny (also fellow director of Wind in the Willows) two Daughters both grown up.

A copy of our Articles of Association are available on request from Clare Gravener, Company Secretary by emailing clare.gravener@sthelenschamber.com