Management Group

Leading the forum is a business-led management group, which represents a cross-section of the business community. Management group members provide advice and guidance on particular areas of expertise, chair the Forum’s various Sector Groups and Sub-Groups, and provide a link to a wider network of business groups and associations.

Chair | David Bavaird

Chair | David Bavaird

Engaging Pathways

David Bavaird, a director of North Shields-based Engaging Pathways, has worked in finance, logistics and project management for over 20 years and brings a wealth of experience to the role. He is also the Chair of North Shields Chamber of Trade and Commerce,and sits on a number of boards of education and third sector organisations.

Vice Chair | Karen Goldfinch

Vice Chair | Karen Goldfinch

Made to Treasure

Karen has worked in retail for over 30 years and has experience of both large chain stores and independent high street stores. Opening her own retail business ‘Made to Treasure’ in 2002, she has now diversified into the service industry and continues to grow her company, specialising in Wedding & Events – both social and corporate events. Karen is the former Chair of Whitley Bay Chamber of Trade, and an administrator on several local social media groups, both community & business focused groups, including the North Tyneside Business Forum.

Start-up Business

Paul Hull

For the Love of the North

For the Love of the North, gift shop specialising in all things North East and based in Whitley Bay were nominated by an advisor at The Business Factory as a business which turned “adversity into opportunity” when taking redundancy. They showed how as one door opens another closes.

Paul Hull, joint owner at For the Love of the North said: “We are delighted to have been nominated to be a member of the Forum management group. My wife Lucy and I both know the importance of hitting on the right offer and know who our customers are and how to reach them. To be able to help with the strategic direction of the Forum and influence the decisions based on how a start-up business operates and would like support with, is a real opportunity to help start-up businesses in North Tyneside.’’

Micro Businesses

Manufacturing Lead | Andrew Esson

Manufacturing Lead | Andrew Esson

Esson Partnership

Andrew is a leading North East industrialist who has achieved regional and national recognition for his leadership of North East manufacturing businesses. Now operating in an advisory and non-executive capacity, Andrew is also a Scale up Partner within the Scale up North East Programme. Andrew is a Board Member of RTC North, and a Member of the EEF NE Regional Council. He is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Mike Peeke-Vout

Wubbleyou Limited

Mike Peeke-Vout, Director at North Shields-based Wubbleyou Limited said: “Myself and my business partner Mark Renney have been regulars at Business Forum events since our inception in 2010 and we’re very pleased to join the group. When we saw the vacancy posts on social media we had to submit our expression of interest. Working with like-minded businesses in the area is something we are passionate about and being able to bring a new range of skills to the organisation is great.”

Small Businesses

Treasurer | David Hodgson

Treasurer | David Hodgson

Read Milburn & Co

David is both a chartered accountant and chartered banker with over 40 years experience advising and representing a wide variety of North Tyneside businesses and not-for-profit organisations. Over the past two decades David has been involved in numerous local voluntary, community and educational organisations including YMCA North Tyneside, Cullercoats National Lifeboat Institution and New Hope for Children.

Pat Davidson

Rotational Engineering

As a North Tyneside business employing local people for 25 years Rotational Engineering specialist tool makers and sheet metal fabrications Rotational Engineering value their involvement with North Tyneside Business Forum. The aim is to contribute to the success of the local manufacturing industry by networking and building of strong business relationships in their opinion this is the key to growing the economy in our region.

Martin Heddon

RWO Assosciates

Info to follow…


Medium Businesses

Garry Hope


Robertson is one of the largest independently owned construction, infrastructure and support services companies in the UK, established in 1966, with offices across Scotland and the North and Midlands of England. We have had a regional office in the North East of England continually since 1999. We work very closely with the Communities we work in and in particularly North Tyneside where we have worked in partnership since 2004 successfully delivering a number of health and community facilities. We greatly value our membership of the North Tyneside Business Forum which keeps us informed of the real issues in the region and also enables us to engage productively with other business sectors.

Toby Bridges

Toby Bridges

NBT Group

Toby Bridges is an experienced company director and has been CEO of NBT Group Ltd, since 2008. Toby mentors numerous businesses across the NE, on behalf of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum and Entrepreneurial Spark. He has also recently been invited on to the Scale-up Advisory Board, an organisation backed by the NE LEP to support Scale Up companies across its region.

Craig Firth

GasTech Ltd

Craig Firth, Director at GasTech Ltd said: “To be able to share our experiences in business and influence the strategic direction of the Forum in 2018/19 is an honour. To win the Business of the Year award was over whelming and we hope to be able to bring knowledge of business growth, the industry and training new and existing staff to the group.”

Large Businesses

Robert Bowles

Robert Bowles

Barrier Ltd

Barrier is a services group involved in the Oil & Gas, Petrochemical, Nuclear and Wind Energy markets, since 1975, based in Wallsend. It carries out Specialist Coatings, Passive Fire Protection, Insulation & HVAV, scaffolding and Rubber Coatings.

“Our workforce is mostly from North Tyneside, as are a lot of our suppliers. It makes sense to “keep it local”. North Tyneside have been very supportive of us over the years, and we want to help local businesses grow as we have.”

Richard Kelly | Construction Lead

Richard Kelly | Construction Lead


Richard is Regional Commercial Manager for Kier North Tyneside and looks after the commercial, estimating, procurement and governance departments . Richard has been involved in the Construction Industry for 25 years and has got a lot out of it and wishes to give something back to the supply chain in the region that has supported him throughout his career and sees the Business Forum as the ideal vehicle to do this. As the Lead of Construction Richard is able to help construction related companies keep updated with current legislative and economic issues that affect them as well as providing direction for the forum for training and networking for the sector.

Education Link

Lee Patterson

Queen Alexandra Sixth Form (TyneMet)

Info to follow…

Council Liaison

Business Forum Officer | Amy Farrell

Business Forum Officer | Amy Farrell

North Tyneside Council

Amy started her role at North Tyneside Council as a Social Media Marketing Apprentice in Sept 2014. Amy has been involved in many projects including The Business Factory and Invest North Tyneside. After securing a position following the completion of her apprenticeship, Amy is now responsible for delivering North Tyneside Business Forum activity programme and marketing. Over the 2 years in the role, she has successfully delivered Business Awards ceremonies, numerous events for the Forum and has implemented a range of projects.

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