Leading the forum is a business-led management group. 

It’s made up of a cross-section of the business community and provides advice and guidance on particular areas of expertise, and provide a link to a wider network of business groups and associations.

Chair | Karen Goldfinch

Chair | Karen Goldfinch

Made to Treasure

Karen brings to the role a wealth of experience having already served as Vice Chair for three years and as a member of the management committee since the Forum was founded a decade ago. Her expertise in retail spans 35 years and her previous position as Chair of the Whitley Bay Chamber of Trade brought her to the Forum as a founder member representing town centres. She has also had specific responsibility for communications and events which have included a leading role in the organisation of the prestigious annual North Tyneside Business Forum Awards.

Professionally, she has owned retail outlets in Whitley Bay and now runs two businesses, “Made to Treasure Events”, a bespoke wedding stationery and events management company and her own business consultancy, “Your Business Pilot,” supporting SME’s and start ups.

Wider Business Groups: 

  • North Tyneside Strategic Partnership
  • Covid-19 Engagement Board
  • Town Centre Task Group
  • North East England Chamber of Commerce
  • North of Tyne Combined Authority (working groups)
  • State of the Area Committee
  • MINT Business Club Steering Group
  • Inspire Network

Karen also represents North Tyneside businesses at local authority Cabinet meetings.

Vice-Chair | Andrew Esson

Vice-Chair | 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 a director and co-founder of two new Tech businesses. Andrew is currently Chair of the make UK NE Regional Advisory Board. He is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Wider Business Groups: 

  • Make UK NE Regional Advisory Board
  • Make UK National Membership Board
  • Newcastle College – Director of Industrial Strategy
Michael James

Michael James

NE1 Web Design

Michael is self-employed web designer, web developer and SEO specialist. He works with other small businesses to get results from their web presence. He uses his skills and experience to help whenever he can with the management group, and works closely with local businesses to support and develop them while spreading the word about the North Tyneside Business Forum.

Mike Peeke-Vout

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.”
David W Bavaird

David W 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 former-chair of North Shields Chamber of Trade and Commerce,and sits on a number of boards of education and third sector organisations.

Wider Business Groups: 

  • Coastal Communities Team
  • North Tyneside Learning Trust
  • Armed Forces Group
  • Sector Connector

David also represents North Tyneside businesses at local authority Cabinet meetings.

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.

David also represents North Tyneside businesses at local authority Cabinet meetings.

Pat Davidson

Pat Davidson

Rotational Engineering

Pat is a woman who has worked in the manufacturing industry for over 25 years, in North Tyneside, Rotational Engineering employs local people in specialist tool making and sheet metal fabrications.

Pat says “During times of economic uncertainty I feel that it is essential to maintain a very good level of communication with the business community. By being part of the Business Forum this helps us keep up to date with the ever changing business trends, having like-minded individuals to meet with and discuss not only our personal barriers but those wider afield is fantastic. We feel we are able to take advice from those who have the experience and connections to put us in touch with the relevant individuals/events that will not only benefit the business but hopefully the local community.”

Wider Business Groups: 

  • British Plastics Federation 
  • North East England Chamber of Commerce
  • Wallsend Chamber
Toby Bridges

Toby Bridges

NBT Group

Toby Bridges is an experienced company director and has been CEO and now Chairs his fourth generation family company, NBT Group Ltd. NBT was the North East’s fastest growing company in 2018 & 2019 and Toby was the Entrepreneurs’ Forum Scale-up Entrepreneur of the year 2019/20.  He has started and sold a number of other companies and Chairs the charity the Exchange, a community theatre in North Shields  Toby mentors numerous businesses across the NE, on behalf of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, the NE LEP, and The Natwest Accelerator.

Wider Business Groups: 

  • Entrepreneurs Forum
  • Advisory Board – Scale up North East
  • North East LEP Business Growth Board
  • Advisory board to the Leo’s high growth programme

Toby also represents North Tyneside businesses at local authority Cabinet meetings.

Paul Hatchett

Paul Hatchett

Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD)

Paul is Digital Transformation Director at Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD), where he helps the company find ways to use new technology and ‘Industry 4.0’ in sync to help them work more effectively and collaboratively. He uses his experience in the industry to provide SMD’s customers with a more engaging service, while also seeking out new business models for the future.

Craig Firth

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 is an honour. To win the Business of the Year 2018 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.”
Keith Hardy

Keith Hardy

VODA

Keith spends his working life alongside volunteers, charitable organisations and members of the local business community.

Keith says: “I play to my experiential strengths by representing the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) on the management team. I’ll be working alongside organisations that fall into that category and representing them in the planning and management of the Business Forum.”

Julie Paterson

Julie Paterson

Baltic Mortgage Solutions / Wallsend Chamber

Julie is Interim Chair of Wallsend Chamber. Julie is the Company Manager of Baltic Mortgage Solutions, in Wallsend, and runs the business on a day to day basis. She has been working in Financial Services since 2004.

Wider Business Groups: 

  • Town Centre Task Group
  • Howdon and Wallsend Partnership Board
  • North East England Chamber of Commerce
Miles Walton

Miles Walton

Walton Bourke Properties

Miles is Chair of the North Shields Business Chamber. After practising as a corporate tax lawyer in London for 30 years, Miles returned to the North East, and he & his wife now rent out commercial and residential properties in the UK, France and Ireland.

Wider Business Groups: 

  • North Shields Business Chamber
  • North East England Chamber of Commerce

Miles also represents North Tyneside businesses at local authority Cabinet meetings.

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.

Wider Business Groups: 

  • North East England Chamber of Commerce
  • Vice-Chair NE Growth Hub Provider Network Steering Group
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