Meet our Speakers & Panelists

Fiona Brownfoot

Fiona Brownfoot

Director, Retail and Leisure Disposals and Aquisitions

Hicks Baker is the only practice in Reading to have a partner dedicated to the retail and leisure market; Fiona’s expertise is wide ranging, from disposals and acquisitions, to investment and development advice and rent reviews. In a previous business life Fiona has been a land buyer and worked for Berkshire County Council. Outside the office her interests are golf and retail therapy – lots of it!

Rory Carson

Rory Carson

Vice President, Asset Management, Europe

Responsible for the Asset Management of Green Park, the 195 acre business community in Reading, Rory joined Mapletree UK Management Limited in January 2017 from Oxford Properties. He has been directly involved in the Thames Valley office market for 16 years, as well as having been a student in the Thames Valley at both The University of Oxford and The University of Reading. Rory’s role is to ensure that Green Park delivers on its promise of being a destination where businesses will ‘Discover Better’. As such, he takes an overview of all aspects of the running of the 1.4m sq ft park – from strategy and masterplanning, through to customer service and events.

 

Kevin Cook

Kevin Cook

Partner

Kevin specialises in the acquisition and disposal of commercial property, specifically within the Thames Valley market where he has built a strong corporate client base acting for Jacobs, Airspan Communications, Shoosmiths LLP, Reckitt Benckiser, Technogym UK Ltd, REL Field Marketing, Golder Associates, Segro, Verizon and Hutchison Three. Kevin has built a strong reputation for advising local authority clients, including Surrey County Council, the London Borough of Sutton, Bracknell Forest Council, Slough Borough Council and Wokingham Borough Council to name but a few. Kevin also acts for Surrey County Council where he specialises in providing strategic portfolio advice.

 

Nick Gray

Nick Gray

Regional Development Manager

Nick Gray has over 10 years of telecoms experience working with fibre providers Hyperoptic and now CityFibre. Since joining CityFibre three years ago, Nick has looked after the key channel partnerships across the UK including the four active gigabit cities in the Thames Valley. With a Construction Management degree from Oxford Brookes, Nick thrives off the complexities that come with CityFibre’s rollout of full-fibre and thoroughly enjoys the mission of creating Gigabit Cities and ultimately Gigabit Britain.

 

Matt Hopkinson

Matt Hopkinson

Director & Co-Founder

Matthew Hopkinson is a Director and Co-Founder of Didobi and has over 20 year’s experience of working within market leading data businesses within the UK. He is a Visiting Professor at University College London and sits on the Research Advisory Board of Nottingham Business School. He is a strategic adviser to Trouva.com, an online portal for independent retailers and a volunteer business mentor for The Prince’s Trust. He is a regular speaker, panellist and chair at industry events.

 

Paul Lewis

Paul Lewis

Regional Director

Paul joined SEGRO in 2000 initially as an Asset Surveyor on the Slough Trading Estate, but then moved onto a variety of roles including Regional Manager of their South West portfolio, Corporate Acquisitions Manager and Business Development Manager. Paul rejoined the Slough Trading Estate team in October 2008 as Regional Manager and is now Regional Director for SEGRO’s Thames Valley Industrial portfolio with responsibility for its 7 million sq ft of accommodation and 400 customers.

 

Tim Smith MBE

Tim Smith MBE

Chief Executive

Tim is the chief executive of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP Ltd; one of 38 LEPs in England. His remit is to deliver a £182m investment programme that will generate an uplift of £700m GVA to Berkshire by 2021. This is being done through a range of initiatives, including a dedicated fund for high-growth SMEs, which has so far has made loan and equity investments into 50 SMEs, creating or safeguarding 585 jobs. The LEP’s capital funds – some £142m – are being invested in rail, road, housing, regeneration, skills and other infrastructure schemes. It also has responsibility for an investment strategy of £25m European funds, which has enabled £12.5m worth of skills initiatives and £5m for the new Thames Valley Science Park.

 

Neil Usher

Neil Usher

Executive Consultant: Property, Workplace & Change

With over 25 years in the industry as a property, workplace and change leader, Neil has delivered innovative environments for organisations in a variety of sectors, all over the world including Warner Bros., Honeywell, Rio Tinto and Sky. He hasn’t just talked about it – he has been there and done it. Together with this practical experience, his influential blog www.workessence.com regular conference talks and occasional performance poetry have made him a leading thinker in the profession. His first book The Elemental Workplace is published on 1 March 2018.
Scott Witchalls

Scott Witchalls

Partner

Scott leads the management and delivery of area wide transport strategies and major land development projects both in the UK and overseas. Major mixed use projects include the Reading Station area renaissance project (3Msq.ft). Scott has also developed transport strategies and implementation plans for several major employment areas including Green Park and Thames Valley Park in Reading, and Slough Trading Estate. As a former Director of the Thames Valley Economic Partnership, Scott successfully lobbied Government for transport infrastructure investment in the Thames Valley. Scott regularly appears as an expert witness at regional, local planning and CPO inquiries including that for the £65M M4 Junction 11 project.

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