People & Appointments

Recruitment, HR and training sector news in Swindon and Wiltshire.

New faces at family department of law firm

Written by Peter Davison.

Lucy Buttle and Ruth JacksonLaw firm Forrester Sylvester Mackett has promoted Ruth Jackson to head its family law department, following the retirement of Nigel Godsiffe. The firm has also appointed Lucy Buttle to the department.

Ruth is a partner at FSM Solicitors, having worked at the firm for the past two years, and has relocated from the Chippenham office to cover the family department work in Trowbridge and Warminster.

She qualified as a barrister in 2004 and now specialises in family law covering divorce/dissolution and matrimonial/partnership finance, as well as disputes involving children.

Ruth offers court advocacy experience with her office-based advice, enabling clients to have continuity of representation throughout their case.

Moving into Ruth's seat in Chippenham is Lucy Buttle, who has represented clients in all aspects of family law since qualifying as a solicitor in 2008.

Her experience includes divorce proceedings and civil partnerships dissolutions, children matters, court proceedings and helping clients resolve financial matters arising from the breakdown of their relationship.

Lucy has particular expertise in assisting clients to make difficult and often emotional decisions about their children, following the breakdown of a relationship. She is a member of Resolution, a network of family justice professionals dedicated to the constructive resolution of family disputes.

"Lucy is an excellent addition to the team here at FSM," said Ruth. "Her sensitivity to the needs of our clients and approachable manner will be of huge benefit to the firm. I am looking forward to working closely with Lucy."

Swindon law firm announces largest ever round of promotions

Written by Peter Davison.

Ros Trotman, Robert James, Karen Whitburn and Matthew UncleTop 100 law firm Thrings has appointed three partners, a legal director, six associates and eight senior associates - a brand new role for the firm – as part of its largest ever round of promotions.

Planning expert Ros Trotman, agricultural litigator Robert James and property finance specialist Karen Whitburn all become partners, while senior conveyancing executive Matthew Uncle is promoted to legal director, a role introduced by the firm in 2016 as an alternative to the traditional partner route.

Ros, who acts for clients on the planning aspects of urban development schemes, residential and mixed-use developments, is the current chairman of Women in Property South West. She was also recently named one of the region’s most powerful people in property.

Robert specialises in dispute resolution and has significant experience of advising on a wide range of high value and complex disputes, predominately for clients within the agricultural sector. His work centres on business ownership disputes, claims relating the ownership use and enjoyment of land, inheritance claims and associated professional negligence claims arising out of these fields.

Karen is an expert in the property finance aspects of corporate transactions. She advises investors, owner-occupiers and entrepreneurs on a variety of matters, including secured lending, acquisitions, disposals and commercial leases.

And Matthew, who has more than 20 years’ experience as a residential property conveyancer, is promoted to legal director (non-qualified) where he will help develop the firm’s residential property work, manage relationships with key clients and mentor junior fee earners.

Elsewhere, four members of Thrings’ real estate team – Naomi Butler, Rebecca Dixon, Charlotte Dooling and Dan Langan – are promoted to the newly-created position of senior associate, as are Emily Harvey (agriculture), Brett Lambe (corporate and commercial), Emily Prout (dispute resolution) and Natalie Ward (employment).

Fred Quartermain (agricultural planning), Bonnie Ward (CILEx) and Carol Ward (both succession and tax), and Caitlin Mills (Australian qualified), Beth Paja and Rebecca Whiting (all real estate) complete the series of promotions by becoming associates.

The 18 newly promoted legal experts – who will work with colleagues in Thrings’ offices in Bristol, Bath, London, Swindon and Romsey – represent a continued commitment to growth by the firm which recently appointed residential property specialist Sue Cornall and inheritance and tax planning expert Penny Munro as legal director and senior associate respectively.

Simon Holdsworth, managing partner of Thrings, said: “Career progression remains integral to Thrings’ future growth and success, and a key component of our strategy is to ensure the right career structures and frameworks are in place.

"Doing this enables us to drive standards of performance and nurture and retain talent so our experts are well-placed to provide specialist legal advice to new and existing clients at all times.

“While these appointments are an illustration of that strategy, they also reinforce the firm’s commitment to organic growth.

"The management board and I would like to congratulate and thank all those who have secured promotions for their hard work and ongoing dedication to their clients and the firm, and wish them every success in their new roles.”


Motor dealer appoints fleet manager to help business customers

Written by Peter Davison.

Business fleet manager Phil BrodrickSwindon motor dealer Pebley Beach has appointed a fleet business manager to help small business owners find the right cars for their needs and budget.

Phil Brodrick has spent 20 years in the motor industry, and the last ten supplying number plates to dealerships across the region – including Pebley Beach.

He joins the firm at a time of change within the industry as manufacturers move from petrol and diesel power to electric motors, and where the government is incentivising company car drivers and fleet managers away from carbon fuel engines towards electric vehicles and hybrids.

"There are already significant tax savings to be made by choosing a low or zero-emissions plug-in vehicle over the equivalent petrol or diesel," said Phil.

"And from next April savings on pure battery and efficient plug-in hybrid electric vehicles will increase dramatically, from 16 percent to zero percent for the equivalent zero-emissions models.

"But choosing the right car is about more than chasing the tax incentive. You'll need to look at the range of the vehicle against the maximum number of miles you might expect to make in a day – including the trip to and from your place of work – as well as the availability of charging points at your place, or places, of work.

"You'll also want to consider the initial cost of a hybrid or EV, which tends to be higher than the petrol or diesel equivalent, but enjoys reduced running costs and is kinder to the environment

"It's a balancing act, so I'm here to try and find the right car and right funding solution for our business customers."

Contract centre appoints new chief financial officer

Written by Peter Davison.

Tim CollinsContact centre, customer service and outsourcing service provider Woven has announced the appointment of Tim Collins as its new chief financial officer.

Starting in the role this week, Tim arrives at Woven after previously serving as group financial controller and financial director with BT, British Airways, Centrica, Circle Health, and First Port Ltd.

He will report directly into Woven chief executive officer Cyril Molitor.

“Tim has significant experience of working on acquisitions as well as working with private equity – making him a great asset to our current team," said Cyril.

“The appointment of Tim as the business’s new chief financial officer represents a key milestone on our journey. We’re doing a lot of things differently in the market and there will be lots more to come, as we continue to acquire, innovate and develop new capabilities fast.

“We want to build a people proposition that is a differentiator in the marketplace, be a great business to work with and a great business to work for, while also recognising the quality of the people that work in the business.”

Operating from offices in Bristol, Swindon and Ipswich, Woven is a leading customer management and technology enabled business process outsourcing (BPO) service provider.

The business is engaged in a buy and build strategy in order to offer the best domain knowledge and leading-edge capabilities globally.

Training company keeps it in the family with new associate coach

Written by Peter Davison.

David and Chris DawesPresentation and public speaking training company Open Dawes Training is not only growing the training team, but is delighted with who it has managed to tempt out of retirement.

Founder and managing director Chris Dawes was looking for an experienced public speaker and trainer, with a long track-record in business, and managed to attract the perfect new recruit – his father.

David Dawes has now joined the team at Swindon-based Open Dawes Training – which is a nice turn of events, as earlier in his career it was Chris who worked for David.

“All our courses are CPD accredited and I was looking for someone I could trust and who I knew would deliver our training to our very high standards,” said Chris.

“David was the obvious choice, as we are a very close family and I worked with him for many years. I knew he would be a perfect fit for Open Dawes Training, I just wasn’t sure if I could tempt him out of the ‘good life’ now he has retired, so it is a huge vote of confidence that he believes in what we have created here. It feels like a huge coup to get him on board!”

Chris’s background is in sales, and for 13 years he worked for David’s company. It was here he honed his skills in sales, business, and public speaking and presenting. This eventually led him to set up Chris Dawes Comms for his media work, and later Open Dawes Training Ltd to help others open doors by gaining confidence and improving their skills in public speaking and presenting.

Chris added: “One of the biggest compliments I have had in my business life is when I was compared favourably to Dad, being called a ‘chip off the old block’. I learnt from one of the best and it is fantastic that I have persuaded him out of retirement.

"It means we have done more than just added extra resources to cope with the increased commitments, but truly added value to the organisation and its offerings.”

David said: “I’ve always been a performer and I love to stand up in front of a room full of people and help them to understand how to be successful in sales and in presenting. Throughout my career I have been delivering sales presentations and seminars, and providing training for salespeople, many times alongside Chris, in my previous business.

“There’s a big difference between selling a product and selling a solution. What you are actually selling is almost a by-product of the solution.”

David hails from the Midlands and his first career was in acting, where he was apprenticed to a touring theatre company. He then went into catering, going on to become a restaurant manager, before deciding on a new challenge and joining the RAF, where he served on the Queen’s Flight as a Royal Engineer.

After leaving the Royal Air Force, David went into IT sales and had a very successful career, during which he set up his own software and IT businesses, based in the Swindon and Bristol areas. It was at his last business that he was joined by Chris, in 2001. In 2014 David, now 64, sold his company and retired.

David’s appointment as an associate is another stage in Open Dawes Training’s expansion plans. The company recently relocated to Nexus Business Centre and in addition to David’s appointment, Chris has taken on new PA, Claire Weaving.

Plans are also in hand to add further training, such as in sales, to complement the public speaking and presentation training.

Chris is also a sought-after motorsports commentator, business and live event host, voiceover artist, and runs Chris Dawes Comms as a division of Open Dawes Training.

Open Dawes Training runs CPD accredited public speaking and presentation training in groups and for individuals, either in-house or at Open Dawes’s head office training centre in Swindon.

It is one of an elite group of small businesses in the Small Business Sunday network run by returning star of BBC’s Dragons’ Den, Theo Paphitis.

SEO expert joins Swindon company as non-exec director

Written by Peter Davison.

Lukasz Zelezny and Karl PaulThe former SEO director of ZPG for brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation and uSwitch is taking on a new role in Swindon – working with the team at digital agency Smarter Media.

The company’s founder, Karl Paul, said he had been watching Lukasz Zelezny for a while and has finally persuaded him to help his company to grow and develop.

Lukasz, who is 38, said: “Smarter Media is a great company with amazing people and fantastic atmosphere. I am working on improving the search engine optimisation (SEO) process to make it more efficient.

“I will also be sharing regular tips on Smarter Media’s website. My ultimate goal is to make Smarter Media one of the leading digital marketing agencies in the UK.”

Karl, of Smarter Media, said: “I could not believe it when Lukasz agreed to come and help us grow and develop our services here in Swindon.

"I’ve been watching Lukasz for some time and felt he had the skills to help us move our business to another level and also improve our services to our clients. He’s an amazing addition to our team.”

Lukasz will be the new non-executive director, tasked with improving the service further and ensuring the highest quality of results and return on investment for clients.

Lukasz was born in Tarnowskie Góry, in Poland. When he was 24 he moved to Zakopane, a resort city where he helped B&B owners improve their performance through digital marketing and website design.

After a year and a half and with only £400 in his pocket he arrived in the UK in March 2007.

“Back then it was really challenging to save as those days the pound was very expensive compared to Polish currency and £400 was a lot of money for someone who lived in Poland,” he said.

Lukasz had embraced the concept of SEO automation in the early 2000s. At that time he was a DJ producing his own music tracks. He created a website and started to consider how to get traffic to the site. In those days, people often referred to ‘clicks’ and easy analytics were not established at that time. He developed his own skills and others began to pick up on his success so he was never short of work.

“I love working within SEO and the variety it brings. It’s more of a lifestyle than a job. SEO is a world of conferences, meeting with clients, meeting with other bright SEO professionals,” Lukasz said.

Lukasz has taken up his role with Smarter Media, which is a growing digital agency based in Swindon working with companies large and small throughout the South West including Amaroc, Excalibur, and Moovahome.

Senior partner at law firm to retire

Written by Peter Davison.

Nigel GodsiffeThe senior partner at law firm Forrester Sylvester Mackett retires this month after 40 years as a solicitor.

Nigel Godsiffe originally qualified as a teacher, but after two years decided a life in the classroom was not for him, so retrained as a solicitor.

He was first admitted as a solicitor on 1 October 1979, and set up his own practice in Trowbridge in 1982.

After 16 years of working solo, Nigel’s developing relationship with Sylvester Mackett crystallised in a merger in 1998. He became the firm’s senior partner in July 2007.

Nigel has very wide knowledge and experience of many areas of the law. However, he has spent the last 15 years heading up FSM’s Family department - matrimonial matters have been his particular area of interest throughout his career.

Outside of work, Nigel has a long history of charity fundraising and has undertaken several voluntary positions over the years. He was one of the original members of the Friends of All Saints Church in Brokerswood, and still helps to fundraise today.

The pinnacle of his charity fundraising came in 1994, when he raised £2,000 for Dorothy House by having his trademark beard shaved off. This was the first time he had picked up a razor since leaving school, and the beard removal was undertaken with much ceremony at an official shaving event attended by friends and family.

More recently, Nigel sat on the board of the Kennet Housing Society in Marlborough, and has acted as the clerk for two charities helping the poorest communities in and around Trowbridge: CNW Blair Charity and Dr CS Kingston Fund.

Nigel plans to spend his retirement reading – and possibly even writing poetry, taking up his guitar again, indulging in his love of food, wine and travel, tending his smallholding, and spending time with his ever-increasing brood of grand-children.

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