Introducing Glyndŵr University’s current board of governors:-
Appointed September 2015
Neil Ashbridge was born in Yorkshire, was brought up and educated on Merseyside and has lived in Wrexham since 1992. He retired in June 2015 as the Agent in Wales of the Bank of England having joined the Bank in 1973 and having spent 16 years in London undertaking a range or positions covering banking and market operations and international monetary institutions. His role as Agent for Wales involved his assessing business conditions in Wales and providing monthly updates for the Bank’s policy committees.
Neil has extensive experience in the delivery of public services and his high level and strategic thinking has been a key part of this work and in other appointments undertaken outside the Bank. He has held a number of voluntary positions including Deputy Treasurer on the University of Liverpool’s Governing Council and President of the Institute of Bankers Liverpool District. He remains a member of a number of Committees and Boards including the finance committee of Liverpool Cathedral and the Oxford University Business Economics Forum. He was recently appointed as Vice Chairman of Disability Sports Wales and as member of the Board of Cartrefi Conwy.
Appointed November 2016
Born on the Wirral peninsula Paul enjoyed a 26 year career with Barclays Bank before joining Avox, now a wholly owned subsidiary ofthe Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC).
The last 10 years of his career with Barclays was in change management culminating in leading cross functional global change programmes with annual budgets in excess of £5 million, reporting at Board level. Paul successfully delivered programmes included back office centralisation, process outsource/ offshoring, transformational front office change, payments, risk and HR change initiatives.
Paul joined Avox, based on Wrexham Industrial Estate, as its 46th employee in 2006, and has since played a key role in growing the operation to its current headcount of 550, with further growth forecast through 2016/17.
In his role as Avox Chief Operating Officer and DTCC Wrexham Site Lead Paul commits time and energy to building strong external relationships with local business and education leaders, championing DTCC as an employer of choice in the Wrexham area. He is a firm believer that having a strong FE and HE sector in the locale is absolutely key to supporting business growth and is keen to provide whatever support he can to growing Glyndŵr’s business and capability in the near and medium term.
Appointed December 2014
Elected Professional Services Staff Governor
Jo was born and grew up in Wrexham and has fifteen years’ experience working within the Higher Education sector, her particular expertise is in the area of quality assurance and collaborative partnerships. Jo believes there is real value in being open to learn new skills and hopes to further develop a deeper knowledge and understanding within the areas of HE management, leadership and governance.
Before starting her career in Higher Education, Jo worked as an administrator for 16 years at a local manufacturing company based in Llay.
She has a BSc (Hons) in IT and Administration which she undertook as a mature student whilst working full time at the University of Chester. Jo worked at the University of Chester for sixteen years before taking up a post at Keele University as Collaboration and Validation Officer which she held for three years.
Jo started in her role as Collaborative Partnerships Manager at Glyndwr University in June 2013 and successfully increased the University’s portfolio of partnership arrangements both overseas and in the UK. Post restructure Jo’s current role at Glyndwr University is Senior Assistant Registrar for Partnerships and Quality which involves the management and development of quality assurance frameworks and procedures, providing advice and support for embedding best practice. Jo has very much enjoyed her time as a board member and hopes to continue to represent her fellow colleagues with integrity, honesty and effectiveness.
Appointed July 2016
Travis Davies is originally from South Wales. He moved to Wrexham to attend Glyndŵr University in 2012 where he undertook a BN (Hons) Nursing (Adult) degree which he completed in 2016.
Travis was initially elected in 2015 as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Officer for the Students’ Guild. Travis ran in the Students’ Guild elections for 2016/17 in which he was elected as vice president.
Travis is committed to representing the student voice during his time in post.
Appointed March 2015
Co-opted member of the Audit Committee
Barry is a Geordie but graduated from Liverpool University with a First in Biochemistry and joined Ernst & Young in their Liverpool office. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1982 and continued with his studies, completing an MBA with distinction from the Institute of Management Centres in 1992. He became a Partner in Ernst & Young in 1994
For more than 20 years Barry has specialised in advising entrepreneurial growth companies, from start ups to FTSE 250, across many sectors including life Sciences, chemicals, professional services, hotels, hospitality and Leisure, automotive components, food manufacture, property and construction and technology companies
He has held a number of management positions within his firm, including Head of Life Sciences in the North and Head of Audit in the North. From 2001 to the present time he has been Managing Partner of the Liverpool office
Throughout his career he has maintained a strong involvement in People Development, having spent 4 years as partner in charge of people matters for the North West, then 6 years as the sponsoring partner for the EY Degree in conjunction with the University of Lancaster and the Scottish Institute of Chartered Accountants. He is heavily involved in developing and delivering training programmes within the firm and in 2008 he qualified as an internal Coaching champion, since when he has provided coaching to a large number of EY partners
Celia Jenkins JP
Appointed May 2015
Celia Jenkins was brought up in Cheshire and has lived in North Wales for over 25 years. She read Modern Languages and Linguistics at Cambridge University. Her professional background is in marketing and communications. She was a self-employed consultant to international business information providers for several years; more recently she has been concerned with fundraising and development in the educational sector.
Celia sits as a magistrate in North East Wales, is a member of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee for Clwyd and is on the management board of various local not-for-profit organisations. In 2013 she was High Sheriff of Clwyd.
Appointed November 2016
Barrie Jones is Editorial Director of NWN Media, where he has overall responsibility for overseeing the editorial development of the company's daily title The Leader along with its fourteen weekly titles across North and Mid Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire.
A Philosophy graduate, he started his journalistic career as a news reporter more than thirty years ago.
In the 1980s he spent time working with the then independent North Wales Weekly News group as a News Editor and then for a period with Thomson Regional Newspapers as an Editor at Chester.
He returned to NWN in 1989 as Editor of the broadsheet weekly Wrexham Leader before being appointed Assistant Editor and then Editor-in-Chief of the Evening Leader.
He has in recent years been closely involved in creating a new multi-platform newsroom. He joined the family-owned company’s board of directors in 2010.
He was recently involved in developing a pioneering training course for journalists with Wrexham Glyndŵr University. The NCTJ accredited course was the first partnership of its kind in the UK between a news organisation and an academic institution.
He was made an Honorary Fellow of the University in 2010 for his services to journalism and education. He is also a board member of the Society of Editors.
Professor Sandra Jowett
Appointed May 2016
Born in St Asaph and educated in Wales, Professor Sandra Jowett was a senior manager and strategic leader in both the public and private sector for more than 25 years. She led research teams at the National Foundation for Educational Research in England and Wales, focusing on the impact of national policies on individuals and communities.
She has also worked in four universities leading a range of learning and teaching, research, knowledge transfer and corporate service functions and retired recently as Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Cumbria. She has served on a variety of national advisory committees and boards concerned with health, research and education and is currently Vice Chair of the National Open College Network and a Non-Executive Director of the Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust.
Entering university as a mature student, Sandra is very personally aware of the transformational power of higher education and is fully committed to the delivery of high quality learning, teaching and research.
Appointed July 2015
Emily Karim is from North Wales. She came to Glyndŵr University and achieved a BSc in Psychology in 2014. She then continued her studies and obtained an MRes in Psychology in 2015, and is now studying for an MSc in Psychology of Religion.
She has held a number of positions within the Students’ Guild, being first elected as the Clubs & Societies Officer in 2013 before being elected as Vice President in 2015 and then to the role of President of the Students' Union in 2016. She is strongly committed to representation, widening participation and to the problems faced by students with mental and physical disabilities. As well as being heavily involved with the Students’ Union, during her studies here at Glyndŵr, she also works in the university Library & IT Services, and as a Senior Student Ambassador. Emily wishes to continue to work in higher education, either within a Students’ Union or as a Psychology Academic.
Appointed January 2017
Gill Kreft is a well known figure in the business community of North Wales and a highly respected Chartered Accountant. She established the pioneering Pendine Park organisation with her husband, Mario Kreft MBE, in 1985. They now employ more than 800 people at seven care and nursing homes in Wrexham and a centre of excellence for dementia care in Caernarfon along with an in-house training company, the Pendine Academy, and a domiciliary care company, Independent Living. The golden thread running through Pendine Park is their award-winning enrichment programme which put the arts right at the centre of how they improve the quality of life for residents and also the staff looking after them.
Gill champions the importance of the social care sector as a positive economic driver and also played a fundamentally important part in helping Pendine Park and Independent Living achieve IIP Gold. In addition, she has played an integral role as a director in the growth and development of Disclosure and Barring Services Ltd which specialises in CRB and other vetting check and is now the seventh largest organisation of its kind in the UK.
Gill works hard to promote the links between education and the worlds of business and industry to foster a seamless progression through school, further and higher education through to the world of work.She is passionate about the value of professional training for businesses, especially giving young professionals and entrepreneurs the necessary skills to succeed.
Gill practised for many years as a Chartered Accountant as a partner and director she steered the firm toward Investors in People Gold. She is a passionate advocate of the value great business advice can play in helping businesses grow and prosper and continues to play an active role in the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
In addition, she is a founder member and chair of the influential Wrexham Business Professionals group which is made up of highly skilled professional firms and other businesses working together with business to raise the profile of expertise and enterprise that exists in the region and beyond, with the ultimate aim of powering regional prosperity.
In her spare time, Gill enjoys adventure holidays like gorilla trekking and is also a great lover of the arts in general and opera in particular.
Appointed September 2015
Rebecca was appointed to the post of Corporate Director: Economic and Community Ambition (now Economy and Public Realm) at Denbighshire County Council, in September 2012. As well as providing a corporate lead for delivery of the Council’s economic development ambitions, regeneration is a significant element within Rebecca’s portfolio, with a strong focus on Rhyl and its suite of projects.
In addition, Rebecca has a lead role in relation to the Council’s Emergency Planning and Response arrangements, Trade Union relations, Leadership Development Framework and latterly Corporate Communications. A key part of Rebecca’s role is to provide performance management support and challenge to designated Heads of Service (Planning and Public Protection, Highways and Environment, Communication, Marketing and Leisure and Business Improvement and Modernisation).
At regional level, Rebecca chairs the Environment and Economy Strategic Directors’ Group and is Project Lead for the Connectivity and Infrastructure Workstream for North Wales Economic Ambition Board. In the latter role, Rebecca is a key voice in the campaign to bring electrification to the North Wales rail service.
From 2009 to 2012 Rebecca Maxwell was Assistant Chief Executive with Stirling Council with specific responsibility for helping the Council develop its strategic direction and policies in relation to Sustainability, Economy and the Environment, as well as supporting a range of corporate development agendas, including strategic planning and performance management.
Rebecca worked for Stirling Council from 2003, initially as a Head of Service in Children's Services prior to moving into her corporate roles. Before moving into local government in 2003 Rebecca had a 13 year career in the National Health Service, in a variety of strategic and operational roles in Scotland and England. Rebecca has a strong commitment to the public sector and the difference it can help to make to people's lives.
Rebecca lives in Prestatyn and is enjoying a return to living at the seaside after too many years living in land. Although a Scot by birth, Rebecca is attempting to learn Welsh and is hoping one day to progress beyond talking about the weather and asking for a cup of coffee.
Paul McGrady MBA CPFA
Appointed May 2016
Paul has lived in Wrexham since 1977 and attended what was Yale sixth-form college, prior to going on to work for Wrexham County Borough Council and training as a Chartered Public Finance Accountant.
He worked for Stoke City Council and Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council as Head of Programme Co-ordination and Chief Accountant respectively. In 2005 Paul moved to Denbighshire County Council as Head of Finance and Assets where he managed the Council’s financial affairs, its property portfolio of business units, land, farms, public buildings and offices and was head of the Council’s housing department. During this time he also worked on a number of high profile projects including construction of a new harbour and bridge in Rhyl and a new hotel and restaurant development.
In June 2015 Paul took up the role of Director of Resources at Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd, a registered social landlord that manages 6,300 homes in North West Wales. His responsibilities include finance, human resources, ICT, legal, governance and audit.
Co-opted member of Audit Committee
Appointed September 2015
Tim was born in Wrexham and has lived here all his life with the exception of a three year period spent at the University of Sheffield, to study for an Honours Degree in Mathematics.
Following University Tim started his ACA training with a Shropshire based accountancy practice in 1995 and later joined a national accountancy firm operating from South Manchester where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant. In 2000, he joined McLintocks and became a partner in 2006.
In 2010 Tim headed up the opening of McLintocks’ third office in Wrexham but also looks after an established client base in Chester and Wirral.
As well as dealing with general accounting and tax compliance matters, he has extensive experience in new business startups, corporate accounting, internal and external audit including foreign group audits, charity and religious organisations and solicitor account rules.
Tim is a director of the newly formed North Wales Crusaders Rugby League team. He is also a member of Wrexham Round Table No 305, a member of the Wrexham POETS BNI Chapter, the Honorary Secretary of the Chester & North Wales Society of Chartered Accountants and member of the Federation of Small Businesses.
Appointed 1st May 2016
Judy moved from the South of England to North Wales with her parents when she was 13. She was educated at Denbigh High school up to ‘A’ level before embarking on a career in Finance.
She joined Pilkington P.E. Ltd in St Asaph (now Qioptiq) in 1973 as a trainee accountant qualifying in 1979. During the next 20 years, she progressed through the finance department in Pilkingtons to Site Accountant. After 26 years in Pilkingtons (in 1999) she took an opportunity to expand her knowledge and moved to Euro DPC Ltd, a medical Diagnostics company based in Llanberis which was the European manufacturing location for the DPC group whose parent company was based in Los Angeles.
A year later she was made Finance Director and as part of the management team drove the expansion of the company by circa 20% per annum for the next 6 years. Euro/DPC Ltd was taken over by Siemens in 2006 and in 2008 she was part of a small team that was instrumental in the transfer of manufacturing from the parent company in LA which more than doubled the size of the Llanberis based company which now employs circa 450 employees.
In 2012 Judy was given responsibility for the Finance department in LA (approximately 150 staff remained in LA producing critical raw materials for the site in Llanberis) and over the next 3 years travelled regularly to LA to align the budgets and reporting processes with those she had developed in Llanberis.
Judy retired at the end of November 2015 after 42 years of working in both Pilkingtons and Siemens during which time she has built up a substantial knowledge of business and finance.
Judy is married with 2 grown up sons and has lived in St Asaph for over 30 years.
Maxine Penlington OBE
Appointed as Chair of the Board, December 2015
Maxine was born and raised in North East Wales. She retired as Chief Operating Officer of Birmingham City University in 2013 and has 33 years’ experience of higher education management and governance.
Her professional career has been spent wholly in the post-92 sector of higher education, actively concerned with the growth and development of maturing institutions. Additionally, she served for 12 years until 2004 as a governing body member of a sixth-form college, the last 9 years as its Chair, supporting its development into a larger and more broadly-based tertiary institution.
Maxine’s responsibilities and experience have encompassed institutional planning and strategy, corporate resource and budget planning, marketing strategy and market positioning, estates rationalisation and new campus planning, and leadership of the professional services.
Governance was a core element of her responsibilities as Secretary to two higher education governing bodies between 1987 and 2009. She has experience as both Secretary and Board member of steering formal constitutional change, the development of governance policy and practice and of developing Board effectiveness. Latterly, as Secretary to the Committee of University Chairs (CUC) from 2009 to 2013 she was involved more widely in promoting high standards of corporate governance in UK universities.
Maxine was a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Heads of University Administration (AHUA) for the10 years to 2013, a founder member of the Board of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator from its creation in 2003 until 2009 and a member of the Higher Education Regulation Review Group from 2004 to 2008.
Maxine was awarded the OBE for services to higher education in the 2014 New Year Honours list.
Professor Norman Sharp OBE
Appointed October 2012As former director of QAA Scotland, Norman Sharp was responsible for the development and implementation of QAA’s policy and practice in Scotland, through the board’s QAA Scotland Committee. In this context, he played a major role in the development and implementation of the Scottish Quality Enhancement Framework – a framework which binds quality assurance and enhancement closely together involving extensive student participation.
Originally an academic economist,Norman’s interest in quality assurance and enhancement was stimulated by his roles in curriculum development and course management for ‘traditional’ higher education students and also in the context of wider patterns of provision. Norman was an assistant director in the Higher Education Quality Council prior to taking up his former appointment.
Normanhas had extensive international involvement in quality matters including work inSouth Africa, Ireland, Namibia, Luxembourg, Serbia and Albania. He has also been a consultant on quality matters to a range of employers and professional regulatory and statutory bodies. In 2006 he was the chairman of National Health Serivce (NHS) Quality Improvement Scotland, the body responsible for the assurance and enhancement of NHS provision in Scotland. Norman was awarded the OBE for services to higher education in the 2006 New Year’s Honours List.
Norman Sharp is an honorary fellow of Glyndŵr University.
Appointed January 2016
Askar Sheibani is the Chief Executive of the Comtek Group which has its Head Office in Deeside.
An entrepreneur from age 8 Askar created Comtek over 25 years ago in a garden shed. The Comtek Group now has offices in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Deeside, Reading, and Belfast and has recently expanded to Silicon Valley, USA through the acquisition of Sorrento Networks a leading telecoms R&D and manufacturing company. Comtek has seen an impressive growth rate recently. It has created outstanding, cutting edge, world class telecommunications technology centres.
Askar has been appointed by the Business Minister to promote entrepreneurship and business start-ups in Wales. He has been business advisor to the Secretary of State for Wales and various other UK Government Ministers. Askar is founder and Chair of Deeside Business Forum.
Appointed July 2015
Phil has worked in the private sector for over 30 years. He started work with a 4-year apprenticeship at British Aerospace, completing his indentures as an Aeronautical Engineer. Phil moved on within BAe to work with computer software, progressing through roles in programming, systems analysis, project leadership and leading projects like a Modifications Systems for the BAe146.
Phil has held senior management positions and run operations across EMEA and the rest of the world. He has set up a pan-European business from scratch and led customer–focused transformation programmes for organisations like Control Data Corporation and Texas Instruments Software, as well as for their customers and partners.
At companies like Pitney Bowes, Phil led the delivery of multi-channel communication solutions to public and private sector organisations. Immediately before joining the team at Glyndwr, Phil was managing the partnership between Pitney Bowes and Rolls Royce which was centred on the joint development of an innovative document management solution for the pilots of commercial airlines.
As a Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader at Glyndŵr, Phil became more involved with the running of the University’s programmes and with the relationships with Glyndŵr’s industrial partners. Now the Head of School for Applied Science, Computing and Engineering, Phil manages a team of around 100 people spread across the Wrexham, Hawarden and St. Asaph campuses.
Phil has a BSc Hons in Aeronautical Engineering and is a PRINCE2®Practitioner. Phil has worked all over the world and is experienced in conducting business in many countries.
Phil has been a Trustee of the Chester Childbirth Appeal since the mid 1990s.
Dr Colin Stuhlfelder
Appointed March 2016
Elected ‘Teaching’ Staff Governor
Colin is a Senior Lecturer in the Built Environment at Wrexham Glyndŵr University, and has been Programme Leader for Architectural Design Technology since 2014.
Colin’s background is in architectural studies and he holds a masters in art history and theory and a PhD relating the social impact of HIV on communities in the UK.
Prior to joining the University, Colin worked across various housing and construction related roles, including delivering social housing and community buildings as part of the Halsall Lloyd Partnership of architecture in Liverpool, at the Race & Housing research project in the University of Manchester, and working on challenging estates in North Liverpool as part of the social housing provider Cobalt Housing.
At the University the team Colin is part of has delivered housing strategy across North Wales and down to the South Wales Valleys and he has spoken on issues ranging from anti-social behaviour to tackling issues relating to the sustainable use of resources at national and international events.
Colin is currently working on projects relating to Building Information Modelling, housing stock conditions, and developing new material relating to architectural visualisation, and conflict & architecture.
Outside of the University Colin is a Board Member with Riverside Mersey North, a social housing provider working in some of Liverpool and the North Wests most challenging estates, and has previously chaired two North West HIV charities. He is also an avid if not necessarily very fast runner, and has to live with two judgemental cats; neither of whom approve of the running, but will occasionally watch a film with him.
Appointed September 2016
David Subacchi is a published writer, magistrate, chartered surveyor and former UK Government senior civil servant. He has almost 40 years’ experience dealing with property matters in the Valuation Office Agency where his last ten years before retirement in 2014 were spent in various Director roles. These included responsibility for strategy, policy making, leadership, change management and operational delivery as well as advising Ministers and other civil servants. He had shared responsibility for up to 5000 civil servants in some 80 locations nationwide.
David has also served for 20 years as a magistrate on the Wrexham and Denbighshire Benches and is experienced in Magistrates and Crown Courts procedure and practice. He is a former member of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee in North Wales where he dealt with the recruitment and selection of Magistrates. He is the current Chairman of the Denbighshire Bench and a member of the Welsh Bench Chairmen’s Forum and the National Council of the Magistrates Association.
A member also of the Wales Board of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) David has lived in Wrexham for 27 years and is a fluent Welsh speaker. He has been continuously active in local education both as secondary and a primary school governor since 1989.
In his spare time David is one of the organists at Wrexham/s St Mary’s (RC) Cathedral and he enjoys the cultural and Arts scene in Wrexham and the surrounding area. He has four published collections of poetry in English and also writes in Welsh and Italian.