Board Profiles

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Cumbria LEP Private Sector Board Members


George Beveridge – Chair

Representing energy and nuclear and based in West Cumbria

George has spent over 30 years in a variety of roles in the UK nuclear industry, including three spells working at Sellafield. He has also been involved at Capenhust, Reactor Sites, Aldermaston and Nirex during his career and has a broad knowledge of the whole UK nuclear sector, most recently with Amec Foster Wheeler. During that time George has developed an in depth understanding of the workings of central Government.

He has also played a part in the socio-economic development of the areas in which he has worked, including being a Founding Director of the Cumbria Inward Investment Agency. George has played an active role with the CBI and is a former Chair of CBI North West and National Chairs Committee member. He also represents Cumbria on the Transport for the North Board, the new strategic transport body for the north of England.

As part of his portfolio, George is Chairman of Inspira Ltd, a social enterprise company that supports young people and the unemployed to achieve their potential. George has lived in West Cumbria for over 30 years and is firmly committed to the development of the county which he considers his home.


Jackie Arnold MBE – Vice Chair

Representing specialist manufacturing and based in Furness

Jackie Arnold MBE – Head of Skills BAE Systems Submarines – is responsible for ensuring the provision of skills necessary for the business to deliver its business plan, primarily to design, build and commission nuclear submarines for the UK MoD Submarine programme.

In this role Jackie is responsible for the Corporate Responsibility Agenda and as such owns the strategic relationship with local education providers. She is also Vice-Chair of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, a member of the North West Business Leadership Team and chairs the Furness Economic development Forum.

A Chartered Accountant, Jackie has previously spent time in practice, public sector and private sector businesses and before this role with BAE she held roles as Chief Accountant and Head of Strategy.

jim jackson

Jim Jackson – Openreach Regional Infrastructure Director for the North

Jim has worked in the Telecommunications industry all his career, moving to Cumbria in 1984 as an Operational Manager for the South Lakes.

He has lived here ever since, carrying out a wide range of roles within British Telecom and more recently Openreach. His most recent roles have involved a range of activities including doing the Business and Operational Planning for Openreach and working on the deployment of Superfast Broadband.

In January 2015, he was delighted to be appointed to the role of Openreach Regional Infrastructure Director for the North of the UK. In this role he is responsible for a range of Infrastructure activities including, the deployment of Superfast Broadband, infrastructure to new homes and businesses, the rearrangement of Openreach’s network and the Infrastructure Safety programmes across Northern England and most of Scotland.

He lives in South Cumbria and in his spare time he enjoys making the most of what the Lake District has on offer, particularly fell walking.


Rob Johnston MBE FCIM

Rob is Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, Cumbria’s leading business organisation with around 1,400 members and engaging regularly with over 15,000, in the last five years alone supporting 15,000 businesses and 4,000 pre-starts, creating/safeguarding 8,500 jobs and generating over £550 GVA. Key initiatives include business start-up support, Made in Cumbria, international trade support and Cumbria Business Growth Hub, the latter recognised by BIS as a national exemplar.

Ron was awarded an MBE for services to business in 2012 and is IoD Northwest Social Enterprise Director of the Year 2015. Rob is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and President of the Institute’s Cumbria Branch, and a director of the Manchester Growth Company (which operates the northwest UKTI international trade contract) and Chambers of Commerce Northwest.

Rob played a pivotal role in the formation of Cumbria LEP and plays an active role in its work and key committees around European funding in the northwest. He is an ex LSC Regional and Cumbria Board member and an ex NWDA Board member.

A multimedia communications and branding specialist, Rob has worked internationally with clients as diverse as Audi, Volkswagen, Woolworths, Royal Bank of Scotland, UKAEA Vickers Defence Systems and BNFL, leading a team of specialists producing leading edge ICT and multimedia and winning numerous international awards.


Duncan Peake, CEO, Holker Group

Duncan is a qualified Chartered Surveyor with 30 years post qualification experience. Duncan joined Holker as CEO in 2007 after a successful track record developing some of the UK’s foremost landed estate businesses. Duncan leads the Holker Group senior management team and has helped establish Holker as a key player in the South Cumbria local economy.

Cumbria LEP Public Sector Board Members


Mike McKinley

Lake District National Park Authority

Born in Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire and attended Rickmansworth Grammar School before gaining a place to read history at the University of Birmingham, from where I graduated in 1965. I joined the Marchon Division of Albright +Wilson at Whitehaven and held a series of Export sales positions before becoming  Overseas Export Sales Manager for the whole of A+W . Finally became Divisional Sales and Marketing Director at Whitehaven in 1984. Left the company in 1988, declining to leave Cumbria for a post in Birmingham. Then ran my own retail business [village shop and Post Office] in Gosforth for 17 years before retiring.

I have now lived in the Lake District National Park for nearly 50 years, the past 32 of those in Wasdale. A former Chairman of Gosforth Parish Council, I was elected as the Copeland Parish Councils’ representative on the Lake District National Park Authority in 2007 and was Deputy Chairman and Chairman of the Development Control Committee in the two years prior to my becoming LDNPA Chairman in 2014.

My hobbies are gardening and reading, mainly history books and, following on from a previous generation of family members, am a life-long supporter of Arsenal FC.


Prof. Julie Mennell, PhD

University of Cumbria

Professor Julie Mennell is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cumbria.

A mathematics and physics graduate with a PhD in Applied Physics, Julie has an international reputation in the field of forensic and crime scene science. She has served on the Home Office Forensic Science Advisory Council and the Skills for Justice Forensic Science Occupational Skills Committee, making significant contributions to forensic science strategy, education and workforce development in the UK and overseas.

Julie was previously a Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Sunderland, with responsibility for the academic and research provision, student experience and graduate outcomes, student and learning support and quality assurance and enhancement. Her brief also involved leading the university’s international and transnational activities, student recruitment and product development.

Julie has also held senior positions at Northumbria and Teesside universities. She is a former President and honorary member of the North East Association of Science Education and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, The Chartered Society for Forensic Sciences, Institute of Measurement & Control and the RSA.

Stewart Young

Councillor Stewart Young

Leader, Cumbria County Council

After leaving school Stewart left Cumbria for the University College of Wales to undertake a degree in Philosophy & Statistics. Returning to Cumbria to develop his career he later became Principal Manager of a firm of Chartered Accountants, specialising in personal taxation and professional partnerships. He was elected to Cumbria County Council in 1989, and has served a number of terms as Leader and Deputy Leader since 1997, becoming Leader most recently in 2013. Among a number of outside interests Stewart is President of the Reivers District Scout Group.

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