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Cumbria LEP appoints three new private sector board members

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership has strengthened private sector representation on its Board with three new appointments.

The LEP, which is responsible for working with businesses and the public and voluntary and community sectors to take forward economic growth in the county, has appointed Graham Booth, Dr Steve Curl and Mike Smith OBE to join its team as new private sector board members, taking the board structure to 16 in all and increasing private sector membership to ten.

Mike has over 35 years of experience working both in and with the Technical and Vocational Education and Training sector, as well as in the nuclear industry.

Steve has extensive experience in the energy and nuclear industry and as a senior executive in international technology companies, whilst Graham is an established business and retail expert working as a family Board Director for E H Booth and Co Ltd.

Lord Inglewood, Chair of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, says: “We welcome Graham, Mike and Steve to the team. Their respective appointments give the private sector an even stronger voice and make sure that we have strong Board membership to help drive forward the county’s economic priorities.

“We are looking for each Board member to take forward the work programme on a particular theme or sector in line with our new governance arrangements.

“The LEP has also agreed to extend an invitation to the Voluntary and Community and the Further Education sectors to join the Board.

“We will also be going out with a targeted private sector recruitment campaign as we need more business women to stand for board membership to improve gender balance and representation, so women make up at least one third of the board by 2020. The LEP is also committed to broadening the wider diversity of the Board and will be looking to address this in our recruitment activity.”

Dr Steve Curl

Steve Curl has served as Deputy Chair and Chair of Finance for the University of Cumbria’s Board for seven years, and served as a Magistrate in Kendal for four years.

He is currently a Member and Chair of Finance and Resources for the Lake District National Park Authority, Chair of the Lakes Currency Project Ltd (The Lake District Pound) and Chair of National Parks Partnerships LLP which supports all 15 UK national parks.

Dr Curl says: “Cumbria aims to be one of the fastest growing economies in the UK. By bringing my business and partnership experience to the LEP my aim is to help deliver this ambition to the benefit of all those who live and work in this wonderful county and all our locally based businesses, large and small, old and new.”

Mike Smith OBE

Mike Smith OBE joined Gen2 Engineering & Technology Training Ltd as CEO in 2003, and has had significant experience in the design and delivery of high quality training and educational programmes to support the engineering, nuclear and advanced manufacturing sectors. Prior to this, he worked in a variety of nuclear industry senior management roles for 20 years at Sellafield.

A Chartered Engineer by profession and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), he is also a Fellow of the City & Guilds Institute of London (FCGI), and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.

Mike Smith OBE says: “I’m delighted to be joining the Cumbria LEP Board and look forward to working with colleagues to establish it as an effective, efficient and professional organisation, positioned at the centre of Cumbria’s future economic growth and development.

“For my part, I hope to bring the experience and expertise gained from running a successful Cumbrian based independent training provider, to help develop the county’s education and skills offering in order to support people of all ages to attain successful jobs and careers.”

Graham Booth

Graham Booth has been responsible for developing 12 Booths stores throughout the North West, including its new Central Offices and Distribution, overseeing multi million pound projects. He has worked closely with county councils, local planning authorities and institutional investors, often helping to procure key infrastructure projects alongside the retail developments.

Graham has worked across various departments in the grocery business including retail, distribution and manufacturing. Prior to managing Booths property portfolio, he established the Fresh Produce department, developing a policy of dealing with local suppliers, one to which Booths adheres to this day.

“Cumbria is in the enviable position of having two World Heritage Sites as well as being strategically located within the UK. My aim is to demonstrate to business that there has never been a better time to invest in Cumbria. We want to create the right environment for businesses to enjoy sustainable growth, thereby securing a prosperous future for our county.”

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