emma whitenstall
Emma Whitenstall, Festival of Thrift Community Interest Company (CIC).
Jane Imrie

This week's North East appointments

Emma Whitenstall, Festival of Thrift Community Interest Company (CIC)

Festival of Thrift Community Interest Company (CIC) has appointed Emma Whitenstall as executive director.

Having spent the past decade working in the tech sector, building creative digital communities through event production and delivery of business support, Emma also worked with Festival of Thrift’s team to take the event online last year.

Emma commented: “My digital background certainly came in handy with our first ground-breaking live streamed digital event in 2020 and my experience and network will also allow me to explore what technology Festival of Thrift can utilise to not only survive but thrive in the ‘new normal’.

“My new role as executive director is essentially to ensure the sustainability of the festival itself through fundraising, capacity building and robust governance.

“I have huge ambition for the festival’s annual event and the company that is behind it and I am very excited to get started.”

Festival of Thrift’s creative director, Stella Hall, added: “I am hugely excited about this next chapter in the evolution of Festival of Thrift, Emma brings fresh ideas and creative thinking and a passion for culture, sustainability and digital transformation.

“I look forward to sharing the leadership of the organisation with her and growing and learning new ways to engage people in our mission to build more sustainable and creative, resilient communities.”

Sarah Lenegan, Able UK

Industrial services specialist Able UK has appointed Sarah Lenegan as in-house legal counsel.

Sarah brings over 20 years’ experience in senior roles in ports and logistics, manufacturing and construction as well as local government and private practice.

Sarah’s previous roles include Legal Counsel with the AIM Listed Tekmar Group plc and 12 years with PD Ports.

Able UK executive chairman Peter Stephenson, commented: “We are delighted that Sarah will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to our team.

“This is an exciting and at the same time challenging period for our business. We have evolved from being a leading and innovative specialist in complex demolition processes into a multi-functional business, with major operations on the Tees and the Humber, providing ports and logistics services for a wide range of international clients.

Sarah added: “Able UK is one of the region’s major home-grown business success stories and I am looking forward to playing a part in its continuing development.

“It is clearly already a vital player in providing services and facilities to both the offshore wind sector, which is set to expand rapidly as the revolution in renewable energy continues, and to the ongoing opportunities in marine decommissioning.”

Richard Easterbrook, Fusion PR Creative

PR and design agency Fusion PR Creative has appointed Richard Easterbrook as PR account manager.

Richard joins the team at Fusion after two spells as a PR executive at The Great Run Company, as part of the communications team delivering mass participation events including the Great North Run, Great Manchester Run and Great North CityGames.

Richard has also worked for North East-based digital SEO agency Colewood Internet, having spent a decade as a journalist in the regional press, leaving The Northern Echo in 2016 where he worked on the sports desk at the daily title, covering Newcastle United, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

Since 2016, Richard has been a part of the Wise Men Say Podcast team, producing shows, occasionally presenting, and coordinating a team of voluntary writers on the Wise Men Say website.

Richard commented: “I’m really pleased to join Fusion, and looking forward to getting to know the team. Fusion has a really good reputation and a wide range of clients and it was an easy decision to come aboard.

“My passion is telling stories – I’m a great believer that everyone has a story to tell and I’m confident my experience over the last two decades will help me as I work with our clients to gain some high-quality exposure.”

John McCabe, managing director of Fusion PR Creative, added: “Richard’s experience both as a journalist and from handling PR for one of the biggest mass participation events in the world sees him fit perfectly into Fusion’s team.

“The business has continued to grow steadily in the last year thanks to ongoing, long-term relationships with existing clients and a number of new contracts won across a range of sectors.

“It was really important therefore that when we went out to recruit this time we found somebody with the expertise and personality to hit the ground running and that’s exactly what Richard brings. I’m delighted to welcome him to Fusion.”

Jordan Cairns, Prosper

Procurement consultancy Prosper has appointed Jordan Cairns as new procurement officer.

In his new role, Jordan will assist with preparation of tender documentation, implementing and managing solutions, undertaking evaluation and supporting the team.

Jordan originally started his procurement career within the oil and gas industry, procuring specialist subsea equipment for a global manufacturing company. He then joined a procurement consultancy business where he managed and delivered tenders through an OJEU compliant framework,

Jordan has experience in working on projects within the education, blue light and central government sectors, across a range of categories such as IT, construction, HR and payroll and social care.

Jordan commented: “I am looking forward to joining the Prosper family to further develop my skills and to be part of an experience packed team, whilst also looking to collaboratively share ideas with the team and Partners to support business and Partners’ objectives.”

Prosper chief executive, Rod Brasington, added: “Jordan has already proven to be a great addition to the team. His experience will help him prosper within his role and we are really excited about what he has to offer.”

Stuart McMain, Danny Thompson, Christ Hillcox and Adrienne Lowry, Advantex

Technology specialist Advantex has announced several new appointments to its team.

Stuart McMain has joined as senior networks engineer, while Danny Thompson and Chris Hillcox have come onboard as electricians and Adrienne Lowry has been appointed as finance assistant.

With more than 20 years’ experience in the IT sector, Stuart will be responsible for overseeing Advantex’s voice and data hardware and installation work as well as project planning and delivery.

Danny and Chris Hillcox will provide a range of electrical installation and technical support services, working on a range of projects for the company’s customers in the North East and across the UK. Adrienne brings a range of commercial and management experience to her new role.

Dave O’Connell, Advantex’s operations director, commented: “Access to high quality infrastructure, IT and connectivity expertise and resources continues to be paramount for businesses and organisations working hard during the pandemic while looking for future growth.

“Our continued investment in high calibre people will see us well placed to provide the top-class skills, services and support that clients want for years to come.”

Michael Redshaw, Robert Gibson and Mark Dawson, Komatsu

Construction machinery specialist Komatsu has made three new promotions in its team. Michael Redshaw has been appointed as purchasing manager, Robert Gibson has been promoted to quality assurance manager and Mark Dawson has been appointed as planning manager.

Michael started out at Komatsu as an apprentice straight from school, and has travelled around the world visiting China, Africa, and most European countries as well as Japan during his career with the firm.

Michael explained: “There is always opportunity at Komatsu whether that’s to progress your career or to see the world, and I’m lucky enough to have done both since joining the business in 2000, straight from school.

“I have gained qualifications and new skills as I’ve worked across the business and I think it’s important that anyone who is starting with Komatsu now can plot their progression and see former apprentices who have successfully climbed the ladder into management roles.”

Mark Dawson, of Newcastle, joined the firm in 2003 as a graduate engineer, after studying at Newcastle University.

Mark said: “Komatsu’s support has been so important to my professional development, identifying training requirements and the opportunity to attend various technical training courses, particularly my diploma in leadership and management, which was a huge help in preparation for a management role.”

“I also had the fantastic experience of working abroad, as Komatsu provided me with the opportunity to work in Hannover, Germany, for two years. It’s a fantastic company to work for.”

Originally from Doncaster, Robert Gibson, 29, settled in the North East after studying at Newcastle University, joining Komatsu as a graduate engineer in 2014.

He said: “The Komatsu graduate training programme is amazing and has given me the opportunity to develop in the various roles I’ve held. It’s incredibly reassuring to work for a company that really invests in the development of its employees.

“As quality assurance manager, I’ll be responsible for product quality at Komatsu UK. That’s quality of service, inspection of incoming materials and components, the quality of manufacturing processes, and aftersales for distributors and customers.

“It’s quite a role! I can’t thank Komatsu enough for their commitment to me, and I’m determined to repay the faith they have shown in me.”

Komatsu UK managing director, Paul Blanchard, added: “Michael, Mark and Robert are three excellent employees. I’m delighted that the dedication and work ethic they have demonstrated throughout their time with Komatsu has been rewarded with these new roles and I wish them continued success in their careers.

“There are no barriers to progression at Komatsu, and the business supports employees to develop to the best of their ability.”

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