Network Rail
Anna-jane Hunter – Director, North of England Rail

Anna-jane leads Network Rail’s relationship with Transport for the North (TfN) and key stakeholders in the north of England. Since taking up the Director north of England role in August 2018, she has worked with industry experts to learn the lessons from the May 2018 timetable change and implement recovery plans for performance in the region.

A railway professional with over 13 years of experience in both Network Rail and the operating community, Anna-jane’s experience covers operations (signalling, traincrew rostering and control), train planning, account management and franchise bidding. She completed her MBA at Manchester Business School in 2016, and is the Chair of Women in Rail North West, a charity that works to increase the profile and encourage more women to join and progress their careers in the industry.

Steve Cox
Electricity North West
Steve Cox Engineering and Technical Director

Steve is leading a team who is pioneering the way in which electricity is made, used and stored as the energy industry undergoes a huge transformation as we lead the North West to carbon neutrality by 2038. Steve has over 30 years’ experience across the electricity supply industry in safety, commercial management, asset management, regulation, operations, training and development. Eight years of this was within a multi-industry utility. He has managed teams of over 400 employees across all aspects of distribution engineering and has a proven track record of successful programme management of major capital and IT investment projects. Steve chairs the Distribution Code Panel and is a member of the Grid Code Review Panel, he has also recently been appointed to the board at Pro Manchester who are the largest business development organisation in the North West, supporting growth and development. Steve is leading Electricity North West’s innovation, strategic planning and policy activities and has overall responsibility for our safety programmes.

Helen Boyle
Electricity North West
Helen Boyle – Strategic Decarbonisation Manager

Helen Boyle is Strategic Decarbonisation Manager at Electricity North West. As the region’s network operator, it’s Electricity North West’s responsibility to lead the way in the decarbonisation of the North West through investment and innovation in energy infrastructure.

Helen is responsible for delivering the company’s Leading the North West to zero carbon plan – its commitment to spend an additional £63.5m over the next four years to lead and enable the region’s transition to a low carbon economy, including the adoption of low carbon technologies.

Helen has more than 20 years’ experience in communications and engagement roles gained in a variety of companies and sectors in and around the Manchester area.

Helen Gaier-Laidlaw
SP Energy Networks
Helen Gaier-Laidlaw – Licence Programmes Manager, SP Energy Networks

Helen is the business lead for SP Energy Networks safety critical work on Low ground Clearance of OHL and Vegetation Management compliance. In her role Helen is responsible for the design and development of the distribution network to support SP Energy Network’s investment and infrastructure activities. In addition Helen has responsibility for asset health related activities such as civil substation maintenance, OHL and substation inspections, rising mains and laterals programme and street lighting for councils. She also oversees Technical support activities including SCADA, fault test van support, telecoms support and compliance and testing activities.


Previously Helen worked on the financial and commercial side of the business and still retains control of the contract management for the licence to support the delivery of our activities externally.

Andy Wainwright - National Grid Electricity System Operator
NationalGridESO
Andy Wainwright – Whole System Business Lead – National Grid (ESO)

Andy is the business lead for National Grid ESO’s work on whole electricity system. In his role Andy is responsible for the strategic development of the ESO’s approach to Distribution System Operation and works closely with the ENA Open Networks project where he sits on the project’s Steering Group. Prior to undertaking this role, Andy has undertaken a variety of technical and commercial leadership roles within National Grid. His early career saw extensive experience working for a DNO in both operational and planning functions giving Andy unique insights into this field.

Andrew McKenna
Northern Power Grid
Andrew McKenna

Andrew sits within the Policy Development team at Northern Powergrid and is responsible for leading the development and deployment of Northern Powergrid’s flexibility strategy – a key function within the transition to DSO.

Helen Sawdon - Flexible Power Commercial Officer - Western Power Distribution
Helen Sawdon – Flexible Power Commercial Officer – Western Power Distribution

Helen is the Flexible Power Commercial Officer within Western Power Distribution’s Network Strategy Team and will be delivering a presentation on DSO and flexibility. Everyone is aware that the industry is going through seismic changes with the drive for achieving net zero carbon and how this plays out in the networks will affect everybody working within them.

Helen has worked in the Electricity Distribution industry for over 13 years, and has experience working in connections and innovation. Helen recently joined WPDs Network Strategy Team as commercial lead for Flexible Power, which procure flexibility services that can reduce demand or increase generation at times of network constraint.

Dan Nicholls
Centrica
Dan Nicholls

Dan is the Programme Manager for the Centrica’s Cornwall Local Energy Market, an innovation programme which is developing the world’s first fully automated market-based DER flexibility trading platform for multiple buyers (the ESO and DNOs). Prior to joining Centrica, Dan worked in both the public and private sector, focusing on place-based energy innovation initiatives since 2009.

Jim Al Khalili
Jim Al-Khalili OBE FRS

Jim Al-Khalili OBE FRS is an academic physicist, author and broadcaster. Since 2005, he has held a joint professorship in physics and in the public engagement in science at the University of Surrey, where he also holds the title of Surrey Distinguished Chair. Despite his many public commitments, he continues to teach undergraduates and conduct his research in quantum physics. He received his PhD in nuclear reaction theory in 1989 and has published over 100 papers in the field.

He is also a regular presenter of TV science documentaries, including the BAFTA Nominated Chemistry: A Volatile History and Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity. Most recently. He presented the BBC documentary, The Joy of AI, on artificial intelligence. For the past eight years he has presented the award-winning weekly BBC Radio 4 programme, The Life Scientific.

Jim is the current president of the British Science Association. He is a board member of CaSE (The Campaign for Science and Engineering), a trustee of the Institute of Physics and on the judging panel of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. He is a recipient of the Royal Society Michael Faraday medal, the Institute of Physics Kelvin Medal and the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication. He received an OBE in 2007 for ‘services to science’ and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 2018.

Jim is married with two, now adult, children and lives in Hampshire.

Jim will be speaking on the 10th of June (limited spaces).

Louise Taggart
Louise Taggart – Health & Safety – Michael’s Story

Louise Taggart’s presentation is a must-attend event for anyone connected with or interested in Health & Safety in the Electricity Industry especially Managers and Supervisors.

Extract from Health and Safety Executive press release:
“Michael Adamson’s death could have been prevented had his employer ensured that safe working practices were being carried out in accordance with the company’s own written procedures.  Managers and supervisors in this industry must take active steps to ensure that their electricians work safely”.

The death of her brother Michael led Louise into the field of health and safety, but before embarking on this journey which led to her being voted Safety Health Practitioner’s, Most Influential person in Health & Safety 2018,Louise spent 13 years working as an employment lawyer for a top Scottish firm. Using her substantial skills as a lawyer and applying them in the health and safety field she is seeking to ensure others can head home safe to their loved ones at the end of each and every working day or night.  

Louise is married with 2 sons.

Mark
Mark Stephens-Row

Mark Stephens-Row is a Meteorologist from The Weather Company, an IBM business who will be speaking about the use of satellite data to predict power disruptions caused by weather events such as gales and lightning storms and their effect on vegetation.

After graduating from Reading University, Mark spent 2.5 years in Antarctica as a weather observer with The British Antarctic Survey monitoring the atmosphere and working with the team that discovered The Ozone Hole in the mid 1980’s. On his return after collaborating on scientific papers, he joined a Bristol based sales company as a technical seller supplying a variety of high tech meteorological instruments to universities, research institutions and for professional uses.

In 1992 he joined what would become The Weather Company as a weather forecaster, initially providing forecasts, graphics and scripts to the ITV network in the UK before making the jump to On Screen Weather Presenter. The Weather Channel then beckoned for several years where Mark appeared as a forecaster until the late 1990’s. He then worked as as technical sales and marketing support and later Sales and Account Manager across Media, Aviation and most recently Energy, Utilities and Insurance. The role also involved providing training in Weather Company products and services as well as the basics of weather and forecasting and he made numerous appearances as Weather Expert at global Energy and Insurance events.

Freedom Group
Freedom Group

Martin Buckland and Matt Pryor will be speaking about an innovative cost effective solution for providing grid connections up to 132KV.

Martin Buckland
Martin Buckland – Managing Director

Martin has 35 years’ experience of working in the engineering and environment sectors. He is an accomplished leader, with strong technical, communication and motivational skills used to successfully deliver projects of a difficult and sensitive nature.  He has considerable experience of successfully delivering high profile large-scale environmental land management projects. As Managing Director of Freedom Professional Services, he has over 120 staff working across a multi-disciplinary consultancy delivering a wide spectrum of services to a broad range of clients. Martin’s commitment to his clients is to use his team’s industry and technical knowledge along with their extensive experience to provide flexible, innovative and practical client solutions.

Matt Pryor
Matt Pryor – Technical Manager – Overhead Lines

Matt has extensive design and construction experience in both Overhead Transmission Lines and cables. He has been involved in the HV industry for over 20 years and during this time has worked in Australia and New Zealand on HV and EHV Overhead Line construction projects, where he was responsible for all aspects of design and site interfacing. With his extensive design and construction knowledge he delivered with his team over 1,000km of 11 and 33kV OHL design for rebuild projects in Scotland and Wales. Matt now leads the team in respect of our innovative products, the POC-MAST grid connection solution, and Protean folded steel OHL structures for the replacement of existing wood poles or new lines up to 132kV.

Ben Williams
Safety Technology
Ben Williams – Technical Director – Safety Technology Ltd

With Health and Safety being a priority Ben Williams will be speaking about the latest innovations in safety equipment to make working at height as safe as humanly possible.

Ben is 42 years old and has been working with Safety Technology in the safety at height market place for 15 years.

During that time he has worked in the arborist, electrical utility and wind energy and has been instrumental in development of new products always working closely with the customers.

He developed the Treeflex harness for arborists which incorporated the first orthopedic back pad for which STL were granted a patent.

He has been closely involved in product development within the utility sector working closely with the safety managers and the trainers and instructors to develop and improve a range of what is now market leading products for safety at height.
More recently he has pioneered the GWO (Global Wind Organisation) training programmes from an initial start 10 years ago working with Danish companies to what is now a global programme.

He has worked extensively in the UK and in Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Morocco, Korea, India. This year he has spent some months in the USA establishing the GWO programme in America and is a member of the AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) technical committee and is a special technical advisor.

In 2018 he cycled the “Great Divide” 2,600m unsupported from Banff in Canada down to Indian Wells in New Mexico in 5 weeks for Cancer charity and was chased by a brown bear at one stage only armed with a pepper spray!!

Peter Williams
Polesaver
Peter Williams – Sales Director – Polesaver

Utility poles – An up to date review of creosote alternatives
It is looking highly likely that the licence for the use of creosote as a wood preservative will be withdrawn in 2021.

Peter’s presentation will look in detail at the causes of pole failure and the alternative options to creosote as a means of providing long pole life. This will include a review of field test data for alternatives and an update on the latest developments and field test results. In addition to this there will also be a review of forthcoming legislation relating to co-biocides in current wood preservative formulations and the likely impact this will have on pole life.

Peter is a very experienced Marketing and Business Development professional with over 30 years in the communications and advertising industry. He joined Call Genie, a leading provider of mobile local search and advertising solutions, in 2007, as Vice President of Business Development EMEA. Prior to this, he held a senior position at LSSi Corp, a world leader in developing and operating high-performance directory databases, as VP International Sales, coordinating sales and operations outside North America.