Meg Streeter of Wilmington is a lifelong Vermonter and real estate agent who works predominantly in Windham County’s residential market. After 32 years in the business, she has a pretty good idea of what it takes to sell a home in her area. These days, that includes high-speed internet service.
“In the last five to eight years, it’s become a must-have,” says Streeter, whose territory includes Wilmington and Dover, where 90 percent of the real estate transactions involve vacation homes bought by out-of-state residents. “It’s the rare person who’s coming here to get away from it all,” she adds. “They don’t really want to be that away from it all.”
Until about five years ago, many home appraisals and building inspections didn’t even mention internet connectivity, says Isaac Chavez, CEO of Vermont Realtors1, the 1,700-member real estate trade organization. Today, Realtors routinely use a form called the Seller’s Property Information Report. The six-page document asks sellers to disclose virtually every feature of the property, from the number of bathrooms and bedrooms to the type of foundation, roof, septic system and appliances. It also includes a “telephone/internet/television” section that asks whether internet service is available on the premises and, if so, what kind: dial-up, broadband, cable, satellite and/or DSL. That info gets entered in the broker’s multiple listing system, or MLS, so buyers can weed out houses that lack the features they want.
Chavez says it’s common for prospective buyers to tell their agent they’re looking for, say, a three-bedroom home in Newport in the $150,000 to $200,000 price range, but for the agent then to only show them houses with broadband access. If a house doesn’t have it, he says, the buyers never see it.
“Anecdotally, I hear all the time that people pass up houses without broadband availability,” he says, “but I don’t have any way to quantify that.”
Vermonters have long bemoaned the digital divide that separates residents of the state’s more populated areas notably, Chittenden County, where broadband coverage is widely available from multiple providers from their more remote counterparts. Those in the real estate business say that, depending on a property’s location, broadband access can make or break the deal. Though Streeter can’t put a dollar figure on the value of high-speed internet, she says, “Basically, if the house doesn’t have it, in my opinion, it is unlikely to sell.”
Streeter isn’t alone in that observation. Rep. Laura Sibilia (I-West Dover) represents the towns of Dover, Wardsboro, Readsboro, Stamford, Searsburg, Somerset and part of Whitingham. A review of the Vermont Department of Public Service’s most current statewide map of broadband availability, released in April, reveals that much of Sibilia’s southern Vermont district is stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide.
VTel2, the Springfield-based telecom company that received a $5 million state grant in 2012 to provide wireless broadband to underserved areas in Bennington, Rutland, Windham and Windsor counties, has yet to deliver on that promise, Sibilia says.
Consider Readsboro, she goes on, located along the Massachusetts border. It was once a thriving community that housed workers from a local chair factory, the Yankee Rowe nuclear power plant and Westfield Paper Company’s glassine factory just across the state line. When all three employers closed in the 1980s and ’90s, some 300 to 400 jobs disappeared. Sibilia readily acknowledges that the lack of broadband in Readsboro isn’t the only obstacle to economic recovery. But its absence makes it even more difficult to attract home buyers and new businesses.
“Kids can’t do their homework, because the service has not been built up from the school,” she says. “People are literally abandoning their homes that have been on the market for years and they can’t sell.”
The Federal Communications Commission3 now defines broadband as internet speeds of at least 4 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 1 Mpbs upstream 4/1 for short. According to Jim Porter, director of telecommunications and connectivity at the Department of Public Service, of the 300,000 addresses in Vermont, 71 percent have access to broadband speeds of 25/3 or higher. “Frankly, broadband is more important to people today than voice service,” he says. To date, no one has analyzed the relationship between Vermont real estate prices and broadband. Anecdotally, however, the differences are obvious to those who handle real estate deals in areas where one community has access and a neighboring one does not.
Sibilia cites the example of Wardsboro, which abuts two ski areas: Stratton Mountain and Mount Snow. It should have a bustling market for vacation homes. However, the combination of poor cellular coverage and low internet availability along Route 100 has made it difficult for people to sell homes there. Meanwhile, just nine miles away in Dover, a community that invested heavily in its broadband and cellular infrastructure, the real estate market is faring much better. Chavez points out that real estate values are determined by a variety of factors, and other considerations can trump lack of broadband. A good example, he says, is Washington County, where the strength of the real estate market is due to the number of state workers who want to live there.
Still, many homes outside of downtown Montpelier and Barre have poor internet service. Chavez discovered as much himself when he moved to Vermont from New Mexico four years ago. He says he was shocked to find that his internet speeds were terrible in East Montpelier, where he had purchased a house.
“I don’t even bother to try to work at home anymore. I just drive to the office,” he says. “Luckily, I’m only seven minutes away.”
According to Chavez, one common variable is the price point of the home itself. If it’s a home in the $300,000 to $1 million range in, say, Manchester or Stowe, it’s likely that the sellers have invested “whatever it takes” to get high-speed internet. Sellers who haven’t done that are most likely to run into trouble with $300,000 to $500,000 homes between Newport and Jay Peak “in the middle of nowhere.” Though rural buyers typically don’t expect lightning-fast internet connections, higher-end homes can be challenging to sell if they have both poor internet and spotty cellphone coverage. (According to Porter, 55 percent of Americans now access the internet through mobile devices.)
“That’s an even worse selling point than the broadband,” Chavez asserts. “There are places that you just can’t get a cellphone signal, and that can be a serious deal killer, because potential buyers see it as a safety issue.”
For her part, Streeter hasn’t had clients whose homes sat unsold for years because they couldn’t pass the “Netflix test,” i.e., streaming a movie online without constant buffering. But she does know of someone who had a house for sale off the grid in the Green Mountain National Forest, with no likelihood of ever having electricity, cable or wired internet.
“Their house was half a mile from the north face of Mount Snow,” she says. “These people had the fastest cell and internet service.
It was amazing!
That’s how I sold it.”
Welcome to the Free Press Power List 2016 – our snapshot of Doncaster s top decision-makers, big employers and high achievers. The list has been put together by an independent panel of local experts who really know the area – and all it s major players.
Leon Riley, Principal Designate, New College Doncaster
Of course, a list like this isn t scientific and there was strong debate within the panel about who should be included in our top 50 – and where exactly they should be ranked. Our panel members all have their ears to the ground and know what s happening around the borough and beyond.
They used this expertise to they tell us who they think is making an impact on the borough and why. You ll find names both old and new among this year s selection and although some inclusions won t prove controversial, there are some definite surprises in the 2016 compilation.
37: Tony de Mulder of Doncaster Knights
What does show through clearly in this year s Power List is that Doncaster has a wealth of talent across a huge range of sectors and industries. Within our top ten alone we have people from the fields of politics, tourism, manufacturing, transport and the media.
Meanwhile, those who have long worked hard to support education, sport and across local business have been recognised for their valuable contributions. Phil Bramley, group editor of South Yorkshire Newspapers, said: As ever, the Free Press Power List is likely to spark lively debate – and perhaps even argument -over who is in and who has been left out.
Bentley GP Dr David Crichton
Partly that s because of the subjective nature of any project like this – and partly because of the nebulous nature of power itself.
How do you measure someone s influence and how do you separate out the individual from the position that they hold – this is, after all, a list of people – not just job titles.
There are many different ways people can have influence – either through the size of the budget they have to spend, the number of staff they employ – right through to the number of followers that have on Twitter or Facebook.
Our panel was made up of highly-respected members of the community and the list you ll find on the following pages is their considered view of who are the key decision-makers and opinion leaders in the borough.
John Evans. CEO High Speed Rail College. Staff Portrait. HS2 Ltd.
Whatever you make of their choices, I hope you enjoy reading this supplement and discussing their conclusions.
One thing is certain is clear though, Doncaster is filled with talented and dedicated people who are helping to shape the future of the area.
This year s list finds Doncaster looking like a place that s very much on the up, with a number of key projects and events being highlighted in the borough. The completion of the FARRRS link road has been a major milestone this year and is predicted to trigger 1.7billion of private sector investment creating 20,000 new jobs and 5,000 new homes. It is also expected to provide a three per cent boost to the Sheffield City Region s economy. Work is continuing on the 400 million iPort project, one of the UK s largest logistrics developments, while new flights from the airport are further enhancing Doncaster s place on the global stage.
On the education front, there s the HS2 rail college and the bid for the University Technical College, while the recent Tour de Yorkshire brought thousands out onto the streets and put Doncaster where it deserves to be -in the spotlight…
1: Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster
Here is our panel s top 50:
50: Paul Goel -Keeble Hawson
At number 50 in the Power List, dropping from number 46 last year, is Paul Goel. A partner at Keeble Hawson solicitors, Mr Goel has extensive experience of both corporate and commercial property work. His corporate experience involves dealing with acquisitions and disposals, shareholder agreements and franchise agreements. His commercial property portfolio encompasses commercial and institutional clients, involving both freehold and leasehold transactions. He acts for several owner managed companies with commercial property portfolios.
49: Oliver Bryassu- Origin Broadband
A non-mover in the Power List at 49 is managing director Oliver Bryassu who started Origin Broadband in 2011 after becoming increasingly frustrated with poor broadband speeds in the region. The company offers broadband on a fibre optic network for homes and businesses. The firm can offer homes 40 meg broadband speeds, which for most people is the fastest they will have ever had access to. Educated at the University of Hull, Mr Bryssau has picked up a number of business awards in recent years.
48: Leon Riley -New College Doncaster
Leon Riley, is the principal designate for New College Doncaster, the town s only stand-alone sixth for college for 16-18 year olds, and comes straight into the Power List at number 48. He is working closely with schools, families and businesses to ensure that when the college opens to students in 2017, it helps to address the skills gap in Doncaster. The appointment of the main contractor means plans are gathering pace for this new sixth form college, sports hall and a series of sports pitches, with a construction value of around 20million.
47: Toby Foster -Radio Sheffield
Radio Sheffield presenter Toby Foster rose like a phoenix from the flames in 2014 after fans of the award-winning radio favourite, who joined the station in 2002, set up an online Save Our Toby campaign calling for his reinstatement after a brief period of suspension. The stand-up comedian and actor who appeared as the drummer in Peter Kay s cult comedy Phoenix Nights juggles his comedy, acting and charity work.
He continues to delight listeners fronting Radio Sheffield s breakfast show,
46: Richard Walsh- Pennine Stone
Richard Walsh is managing director at Pennine Stone Ltd based at its corporate headquarters in Askern Road in Doncaster and comes straight into our list at number 46. He rose to his current position in 2010. He also became chairman of the International Glassfibre Reinforced Concrete Association in 2014. In 2013 he was one of the business leaders helping to raise cash in aid of Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity in Doncaster. As part of this he did a stand up routine for the charity at Doncaster Racecourse along with many other top business people.
45: Mike Wilkinson – Frog Education
Deputy managing director of Frog Education Ltd, and non-executive director at Doncaster Chamber, Mike Wilkinson, is a new entry in this year s Power List and comes in at number 45. He was educated at the University of Leeds and was previously at i-education (I am Learning) Doncaster South City Learning Centre, from 2006 to 2014. The i-education business was a pioneer in introducing games-based approaches to learning; creating I am learning, a world leading homework, revision and assessment system.
44: Cheryl Sadler -Lakeside Village
Lakeside Village centre manager Cheryl Sadler has been recognised for both her impressive business credentials and her commitment to the local community and has moved up one to number 44 in the list this year. Under Ms Sadler s watch Lakeside Village has won awards for its commitment to the local community and its extensive charity work. The award for humanitarian needs of the community, which is internationally recognised, was presented for the work carried out by Lakeside Village and the Thorne Rural Lions Club. The Lakeside Village centre, was formerly known as the Yorkshire Outlet and offers discount goods from dozens of leading retailers.
43: Peter Burrows – Bishop of Doncaster
The Venerable Peter Burrows, formerly archdeacon of Leeds, goes from number 28 in last year s list to number 43 this year. He initially worked at the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary and briefly for the Civil Service before training for the priesthood. Bishop Burrows was ordained in 1983 and served a curacy in Bradford. Became Bishop of Doncaster in 2011 when he was consecrated at York Minster. He has also been an Inspector of Theological Colleges and has chaired the national Vocations and Ministry Committee.
He showed his support for the local South Yorkshire Credit Union by becoming a member and urged people to use it as an effective way to save up money in tough economic times.
42: Bobbie Roberts -Deaf Trust
Bobbie Roberts, a freeman of the borough is a non-mover at number 42 in our list. The retired nurse and magistrate and tireless voluntary worker, is chairman of trustees at Doncaster Deaf Trust, which can trace its history back to 1829 when Reverend William Carr Fenton set up a school for young deaf people. Mrs Roberts has been involved with Doncaster Deaf Trust since 1978 and has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of its specialist education provision.
Mrs Roberts is also a trustee for Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust and has played a role in leisure provision. The freeman of the borough received an MBE in 2005.
41: Andy Sprakes -XP School
The principal of XP School, Andy Sprakes, is a new entry at number 41 in the Power List. The former head teacher at Campsmount Academy became the new Principal of XP School when it opened in September 2014. Born and bred in Doncaster he is passionate about improving the lives of young learners.
Andy Sprakes was headteacher at Campsmount Academy for nine years, after spending the four previous years as deputy headteacher and he left the academy with record breaking results at both GCSE and A Level. The model of XP School is giving students strong academic results and preparing them for life.
40: Ed Miliband -Doncaster North MP
Ed Miliband MP for Doncaster North has dropped down the power list rankings from number four to number 40 following his defeat at the 2015 general election. He has been an MP since 2005 and was elected Labour leader in 2010. The Doncaster North MP began his career as a TV researcher in 1992 after graduating from university.
Born in 1969 he is the son of Marion Kozak and Ralph Miliband and the younger brother of David Miliband, the former Foreign Secretary whom he also fought and narrowly defeated in the 2010 Labour Leadership contest. He was educated at Corpus Christi College Oxford and the London School of Economics where he gained an MSc.
39: Steve Currier – Cooper Lighting
Steve Currier is a new entry into this year s Free Press Power List , coming in at number 39. He is managing director of Cooper Lighting and Safety, the lighting business producing mains and emergency lighting systems for commercial and industrial applications. The firm works in both for UK and international markets, and is part of the Eaton Corporation.
Mr Currier has formerly worked as UK manufacturing director for Arvin Meritor, as operations manager for GKN Autostructures and as quality manager for GKN Sankey Engineering Products. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Portsmouth.
38 Irving Weaver -Strata Homes
The Weaver family owns and runs the Strata Homes building firm and drops one place to number 38. Company chairman Irving Weaver has masterminded the transformation of the Doncaster firm into one of Yorkshire s most prominent housebuilders. The company also undertakes work on schools and offices.
Founded in 1919 by Oscar Weaver, the company built 2,500 council houses in Yorkshire and Lancashire before the Second World War. Mr Weaver joined the company then called O Weaver & Sons in 1968 and rebranded it Strata in 2001. The firm has boomed on the back of a strong performance from its house building business and Mr Weaver s shrewd buying of a landbank.
37: Tony de Mulder -Doncaster Knights
A new entry at number 37 , Tony de Mulder, is president and chairman of Doncaster Knights rugby union club. The de Mulder family run Doncaster-based Prosper de Mulder, a leading waste food-recycling specialist firm, which had 2013 net assets of 115m. In 2011 a German company, Saria, acquired a majority share though the Mulder family retained a 60m stake. Sale proceeds and other assets added another 20m. Tony s association with the club stretches back 55 years to when he first started playing at 17.
He finally hung up his boots when he was 40, a few years before the Knight s ascent up the league ladder. Other than a few years at Wolverhampton, Doncaster has been his only club.
36: Steve Pepper -Allots
Steve Pepper is a new entry to the Power List and stands at number 36. He is the director of Allots responsible for the Corporate Services Division of the business and trained with Allotts chartered accountants, qualifying in 1982 and becoming a partner in 1991. He has experience in construction and related trades, medical practices, education and related charities, motor trade, engineering and road and passenger transport. He is also Chairman of the Doncaster Group of the Sheffield and District Society of Chartered Accountants.
35: Craig Dowie – Crown Hotel
Hotel owner, Craig Dowie, Previously held senior positions with Swallow and Corus hotels and sits at number 35 in our Power List. Mr Dowie owns the Crown Hotel Bawtry and the Rutland Hotel in Sheffield. The Crown Hotel is one of the most sought after places to stay in Doncaster and has attracted a string of celebrity guests over the years including Billy Connolly and David Walliams. Mr Dowie is an active member of the Bawtry Retail Association ,set up by local business people to promote the town and its businesses.
34 : Louis Tomlinson – One Direction
Pop star Louis Tomlinson has dropped dramatically down the Power List since taking a break from recording earlier this year, along with the rest of the boys from One Direction. Doncaster s very own pop star, Mr Tomlinson has enjoyed worldwide fame and millions of record sales as part of the boy band sensation. The 24-year-old s path to stardom started with an audition for the X Factor in 2010.
Mr Tomlinson and his four band mates finished third in the competition but they have since achieved huge success in the UK and abroad. They became the first band in US Billboard 200 history to have their first three albums debut at number one. In 2014 Mr Tomlinson s planned joint take-over of Doncaster Rovers fell through but he signed as a footballer for the team on a non-contract basis.
33: Richard McIlroy -Mount Pleasant
Owner of the Best Western Mount Pleasant Hotel, Richard McIlroy sits at number 33, coming into the list for the first time this year. Richard is one of four children and forms the third generation of the family business. During 1984 to 1992 he took on the day-to-day operations as managing director. He saw the Thomas Stocks function room added alongside the Alice Maud room as part of many improvements made under his tenure. His hotel team were named Doncaster Chamber Award winners for Excellence in Customer Service 2015.
32: George Trow -Doncaster College
George Trow was appointed principal of Doncaster College in 2010 and drops 12 places to this year s number 32 in the Power List. He was given the task of running Doncaster based on his excellent track record while leading Rotherham College of Arts and Technology, where he led a financial turnaround from a 2.2 million deficit to excellent financial health and a turnover of 24 million.
Born in Yorkshire, Mr Trow studied at Scarborough Technical College after leaving school and went on to work in London and Bermuda.
31: Andy Morley -ProAktive
Group managing director of ProAktive, specialising in risk management and financial advice, Andy Morley comes into the list at number 31. Mr Morley has worked in insurance for more than 20 years and is tasked with the development of ProAktive across the region. Mr Morley heads up Group Management which takes responsibility for managing the culture, formulating strategy and monitoring progress of the Group. The team are specialists in engineering, manufacturing and contracting and deliver joined up risk management and insurance solutions.
30: Susan Jordan -St Leger Homes
Susan Jordan keeps the number 30 spot which she took when she entered the Power List for the first time last year. She joined St Leger Homes, which manages Doncaster s 21,000 council homes, six years ago. Ms Jordan has more than 30 years experience in housing and has steered different organisations through restructuring, growth and inspections. She previously held positions at Six Town Housing in Bury, and is described as being passionate about making a real difference and doing things right.
29: Chris McSharry -Hesley Group
Chris McSharry, chief executive of Hesley Group, drops five places to number 29 in the list this year. The Hesley Group has been a leading independent provider of specialist support and education for young people and adults with a learning disability, autism and other complex needs including behaviour that may challenge, since 1975. As a national provider Hesley Group currently work with over 60 public authorities across the UK. Mr McSharry has previously worked for Bupa Care Services as regional director from 1997 to 2005. He wants Hesley to extend its educational provision in response to identified need, and develop services in new areas where there is a demand for specialist services.
28: Jason Sprenger/Christian Sprenger, Highfield
Jason Sprenger is CEO and Christian Sprenger is managing director of Highfield, the UK and Middle East s leading supplier of compliance training materials. Highfield, which has three offices across Doncaster and employs over 200 staff, is also one of the UK s largest exam boards. The firm was honoured with a Queen s Award for Enterprise earlier this year.
The pair have driven the firm through a sustained period of growth and the business now has sales of over 2 million products a year, with over 15,000 customers. A practising lawyer, Jason Sprenger enjoyed a successful career as a senior solicitor at a leading international law firm before joining Highfield. Christian formerly worked in store management for Marks & Spencer before progressing to marketing management at their head office.
27: Richard Bannister -St Mowden
Regional director of regeneration specialists, St Mowden, Richard Bannister, comes straight into the Power List at number 27. Earlier this year he oversaw two major commercial schemes developed in Doncaster aimed at creating 150 jobs. The plans were to develop 250, 000 sq ft of warehouse and commercial space at Parkside Industrial Estate, just off the A638.
Doncaster Council also gave the green light to redevelop the Young Street car park at Waterdale Shopping Centre. Mr Banister said at the time that St Mowden plans to develop two important areas of Doncaster demonstrate our commitment and confidence in the town.
26: Caroline Flint – Don Valley MP
The Labour politician, Caroline Flint, has been the MP for Don Valley since 1997 and is a non-mover at 26 in the list. She served in the Government as the minister for public health from 2005 to 2007, the minister for employment from 2007 to 2008, minister for housing and planning in 2008, and minister for Europe from 2008 to 2009.
In October 2010, she was elected to the shadow cabinet, and appointed as shadow secretary of state for communities and local government and she was shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change from October 2011 to September 2015. Locally, Ms Flint has campaigned for an inquiry at HMP Hatfield after six prisoners absconded in as many weeks in summer 2014.
25: Owen Michaelson – Harworth Group
Owen Michaelson is the chief executive of Harworth Group PLC and comes straight into our list at number 25. He was appointed chief executive in 2012, following tenure as joint managing director of UK Coal Plc. He served as Chairman of the RICS Waste Policy Panel and as Director of Peel Holdings.
A Chartered Surveyor by trade, he has specialised in the remediation and development of brownfield and contaminated land, waste management operations and power generation. The FARRRS link road has been key to enabling work to start on Harworth s development of 1,200 homes on the former Rossington Colliery site.
24: Chris Alcock – Weldricks
Chris Alcock who heads up the Weldricks Pharmacy empire drops 12 places to number 24 in the Power List. The family-owned business has 62 community pharmacies throughout South Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, employing more than 600 local people. The company launched its first automated prescription vending machine in its new Doncaster town centre pharmacy in recent years.
The introduction of the Weldricks Auto Vend Prescription Service has enabled customers to securely and conveniently collect their dispensed NHS prescription medication at a time to suit them. The business is patron of the Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, where the firm continues to have a greater say on shaping the local economy.
23: Kieran Gallagher -Doncaster Racecourse
Kieran Gallagher is executive director of Doncaster Racecourse and comes straight in to the Power List at number 23. He is part of Arena Racing Company, Delaware North Companies, Compass Group UK & Ireland.
He is described as a dedicated and diligent senior manager with extensive business and technical acumen gained successfully undertaking extensive leadership roles within venue management. He was appointed to his current role in January 2015. He is also general manager of the course from 2014, events manager from 2010 and was previously general manager of Pride Park Stadium from July 2008 to August 2010.
22: Dr David Crichton -Doncaster CCG
Dr David Crichton, of Bentley Surgery, comes into the Power List at number 22. He was appointed as chair of the NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group earlier this year. David is a partner at the Bentley Surgery and trained as a doctor at the University of Leeds, graduating in 1994.
He started working in the NHS in 2001 after serving in the Royal Army Medical Corp for seven years, undertaking a number of overseas detachments and ultimately attaining the rank of Major. He has been a GP for over a decade and has held a number of clinical roles within the Doncaster CCG. He is also the MacMillan cancer survivorship GP. A keen traveller he has reached Everest Basecamp, and climbed Kilimanjaro, Mount Toubkal and Mount Kinabalu.
21: Lloyd Nicolson/Mick Murray – Lazurus Properties
Lloyd Nicholson and Mick Murray formed Lazarus Properties in 1997 and own in the region of 275, 000 sq ft of commercial space across South Yorkshire,with an additional 100,000 sq ft throughout the country. This year they drop from number 18 to 21 in our list. Success has followed them into the office and industrial markets, acquiring around 75,000 sq ft of offices and around 1 million sq ft of industrial stock. With a portfolio that has continued to expand, ambitious property development schemes have substantially enhanced their portfolio.
20: Gavin Baldwin – Doncaster Rovers
Gavin Baldwin is the chief executive of Doncaster Rovers Football Club – a role he took up in 2012 – as well as a board member of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. He is a former assistant director of Doncaster Council and former chief executive of the Keepmoat Stadium and The Dome
He drops down the Power List from 16 to 20 this year. Previously he has been director of operations at Doncaster Rovers FC from November 2011 to May 2012; assistant director neighbourhoods & communities (Leisure & Culture).
He spent a year at Doncaster Council, 2009 to 2010 and was responsible for the strategic direction of the leisure and culture stock within Doncaster.
19: Michael Hart – DCLT
Michael Hart is the chief executive of Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust, which manages 15 venues across Doncaster and employs over 600 staff. He oversaw creation of the Trust in 2011 and has worked with the local authority to significantly reduce the subsidiary year on year while still investing and improving venues. He is a founding member of the Right Up Our Street consortium, who secured over 2 million worth of Arts Council funding to increase participation in the arts in the borough .
He also plays a key role on the town s tourism board .
18: Dave Sheridan -Keepmoat
Dave Sheridan, group chief executive officer of Keepmoat, drops from number 11 to number 18 in this year s list. He joined the Apollo Group in 2008 and following the merger in 2012 he became Keepmoat s chief operating officer for the northern businesses. Prior to the merger he was chief executive officer of Apollo. Doncaster-based Keepmoat is a national market leader in sustainable community regeneration, housing, and planned and responsive repairs to the UK housing industry. The company has a 1 billion turnover.
17: David Hall -Polypipe
David Hall, chief executive of Polypipe and who led a management buyout in 2005, drops in the list from number 10 to 17. The Edlington-based firm, founded in 1980, is now the largest manufacturer in the United Kingdom and among the biggest 10 in Europe of plastic piping systems for the residential, commercial, civils and infrastructure sectors, and could be worth 400 million. The group operates from 16 facilities in total, employing 1,100 people at its biggest site in Doncaster making numerous plastic fittings.
16: John Clements – Verdion
John Clements, who is on the Executive Team and is European development director at Verdion, is at number 16 in the Power List. In April the company secured a new letting to a major US company at the iPort, its 400 million multi-modal logistics development in Doncaster.
Mr Clements is responsible for managing existing development projects and sourcing and structuring new development and investment opportunities throughout Europe. Prior to joining Verdion, he was a senior associate at King Sturge Corporate Finance.
15: Dr Ann Limb – Education Commission
New at 15 is Dr Ann Limb, chair of the Doncaster Education and Skills Commission, the independent body that has been brought in to advise Team Doncaster on how to better align education, skills and employment. Former Principal of Milton Keynes and Cambridge Regional Colleges, Ann was from 2000-2005 Chief Executive of the University for Industry. Ann is chair of the Helena Kennedy Foundation, which she founded in 1998 to promote social mobility through education.
In 2011 , she was awarded an OBE for services to education.
14: Paul Moffat – Children s Services
Paul Moffat, chief executive of Doncaster Children s Services Trust, is on the list at number 14. The Trust provides support and social services for children in Doncaster, except for education and learning. Doncaster Council has agreed to transfer delivery of its children s disability services to the Trust, a move which could be completed this summer. Mr Moffat has previously held a number of senior management posts including director of Children s Services and director of Family Services in Northumberland. He has more than 20 years experience with a number of councils in the North East and has worked for the Health Authority in many areas.
13: Rosie Winterton -Doncaster MP
Doncaster Central MP since 1997, Dame Rosie Winterton was brought up in Doncaster and sits at number 13 in our Power List. She was previously minister for local government, minister for regional economic development and minister for Yorkshire and the Humber. Miss Winterton has served as opposition chief whip since 2010.
She first worked as John Prescott s constituency personal assistant from 1980 until 1986. After working for Southwark Council, Dame Rosie returned to politics to assist Lord Prescott in 1994, where she was head of office for the deputy prime minister until 1997. Locally she has pledged her support for food banks while expressing her shock at the growing number of people who rely on them and lobbied the Government to tackle this.
12: John Evans – HS2 College
John Evans is the first chief executive of the new HS2 college in Doncaster which will train the next generation of rail engineers – and is a new entrant at number 12 in our list. As chief executive of the college, he will take responsibility for the development of the institute in terms of shaping the curriculum, college design and liaison with stakeholders including employers. Work began on the construction of the Doncaster HS2 college building this week.
Mr Evans was previously group HR director at First Group and has 25 years of experience in marketing and HR, with previous roles at Strathclyde Police, Guinness producer Diageo and British Airways.
11: George Tillier -Unipart
George Tillier, managing director of Unipart Rail Europe has fallen two places in the list to number 11 on this year s list. Unipart Rail, based at First Point, Balby Carr Bank is a major employer in the town and George is responsible for the Unipart Rail Traction & Rolling Stock business employing over 270 people. He joined Unipart Rail in 2000 as Sales & Customer Service Director and was promoted to lead T&RS business in 2011.
Mr Tillier has previously held senior management roles in sales, marketing and operations including FPT (UK) Ltd, Brammer Plc and has extensive experience of UK and French industrial markets. He currently represents the UK Railway supply chain in the European Benchmarking forum.
10: Chris Weatherall -Wabtec
Wabtec Rail managing director Chris Weatherall was a new addition to the list last year and has dropped this year a couple of places to number 10. Wabtec is the UK s leading railway businesses and services include the overhaul and refurbishment of passenger vehicles and the manufacture, overhaul and conversion of freight, infrastructure support vehicles and shunting locomotives.
Mr Weatherall is a former operations manager at Brush Traction Loughborough, joining Wabtec as Operations Director in 1999 and was appointed MD in 2009. He was educated at Nottingham Polytechnic and was named Doncaster Businessman of the Year in 2012.
9: Dan Fell/Kelvin Fitton -Doncaster Chamber
At Number nine on the list is a joint entry for leaders of Doncaster Chamber. Former deputy CEO Dan Fell was unanimously appointed to the position of Chief Executive by the Chamber s Board of Directors and comes into the list alongside Kelvin Fitton, the Chamber s president.
Mr Fell, has worked at the Chamber for nearly 11 years and took on his current role in January 2015, following the departure of Phil Harris. Mr Fitton is a partner in Smith Craven Chartered Accountants. The accountancy firm is one of the largest independent firms in the area operating from offices in Doncaster, Sheffield, Worksop, Chesterfield and Mansfield.
He s been a partner since 1994 and has helped to build the business and its consistent growth.
8: Sir Gary Verity -Welcome to Yorkshire
Sir Gary Verity, is new on the list at number eight, He led the winning bid to bring the Grand D part of the Tour de France to Yorkshire in 2014, which is estimated to have generated 102 million for the region. He s since been instrumental in the Tour de Yorkshire, which rolled through Doncaster this year. Sir Gary was knighted in the 2015 Queen s Birthday Honours list for services to Tourism and the Tour De France Grand D part 2014. He s also been named Yorkshire s Man of the Year in 2014, Yorkshire and Humber IoD Director of the Year 2014 and received Yorkshire and Humber IoD s Lifetime Achievement award and he has honorary doctorates from Sheffield Hallam and York universities.
7: Cheryl Williams/John Minion -Yorkshire Wildlife Park
Cheryl Williams, as director of Yorkshire Wildlife Park and CEO, John Minnion, are jointly at number seven in the Power List. They have led their team in transforming acres of farmland into an award-winning attraction that continues to evolve and pull in an ever increasing number of visitors. The park celebrated another successful 12 months, growing the number of attractions at the site, including its new giant otter reserve. Built on land formerly occupied by the 260-acre Brockholes Farm Visitor Centre, the park occupies about 70 acres of the site. Mrs Williams, husband Neville and business partner John Minion purchased the site in 2008 with funding from Lloyds TSB Commercial, private investment, and a Yorkshire Forward grant. The site was renovated over the 2008 2009 winter, and opened in 2009.
6: Nigel Brewster -Brewster Pratap
At 6 is a former Doncaster Chamber president, Nigel Brewster of Brewster Pratap, who co-founded his latest recruitment business in July 2011. The firm offers specialist recruitment, talent acquisition, assessment and resourcing solutions across Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire and the Humber region. In January 2016 Nigel was appointed as Vice Chair of the Sheffield City Region (SCR) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) where he works closely with the CSR LEP Chair, Sir Nigel Knowles (Global Co-Chairman of the major Law firm DLA Piper). In 2013 Nik Pratap joined as a partner to form the Brewster Pratap Recruitment Group.
5: Steve Gill -Robin Hood Airport
Up 10 places to number five in the Power List is Steve Gill, who has really seen Doncaster Sheffield Airport take off and, with him at the helm, it has been a fantastic 12 months for the airport. There has been the opening of Great Yorkshire Way which links the M18 to the airport and the launch of eight new routes with FlyBe bringing an extra 42 flights a week to the Sheffield City Region. Passenger and cargo figures are growing and further growth is planned with new routes and additional capacity with incumbent airlines. Steve plays a key strategic role in the region working to ensure that transport and logistics are high on the agenda.
4: Phil Bramley -Free Press
A new entry into the Power List at number 4 is South Yorkshire newspaper group editor Phil Bramley. An award-winning journalist, he is responsible for the production of a number of local titles, including The Doncaster Free Press, The South Yorkshire Times, The Epworth Bells and The Sheffield Telegraph, as well as their associated websites. Having been involved in regional media all his working life, his previous titles have included The Chad series in Nottinghamshire and The Derbyshire Times and The Matlock Mercury in Derbyshire.
He sits on the Doncaster Place Marketing Steering Group.
3: Sir Nigel Knowles – DLA Piper
Sir Nigel Knowles, at number three in the Power List, is the global co-chairman of the law firm DLA Piper. He was educated at the University of Sheffield, where he studied law, and joined Broomhead & Neals as an articled clerk in 1978. In 1996 he was appointed as managing partner of what was then Dibb Lupton Broomhead.
In 2005 he became joint chief executive officer of DLA Piper following a three-way merger between DLA and US law firms Piper Rudnick and Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP. He was knighted in March 2009. Sir Nigel was Global Co-CEO and Managing Partner for nearly twenty years before becoming Global Co-Chairman on 1 January 2015.
2: Jo Miller -Doncaster Council
Retaining the number two place in the Power list is Doncaster Council s chief executive Jo Miller. After four years as Doncaster Council s chief executive, the former lawyer has faced a tough task with the authority having to make swingeing budget cuts year on year. The chief executive works alongside the elected mayor, Ros Jones, and works on delivering strategies to improve the borough and the lives of residents.
Prior to her current post, Ms Miller has been deputy chief executive at Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council and a senior director at Knowsley Council. Ms Miller was praised by independent inspectors in 2014 for the Team Doncaster approach over recent years widely acknowledged as an inspirational concept .
1: Ros Jones – Mayor of Doncaster
Still at number one in the Power list is the mayor and leader of Doncaster Council, Ros Jones. Mrs Jones was elected in May 2013 and the former Labour councillor for Askern Spa is the political leader of Doncaster Council.
The council leader is responsible for major policy decisions and works with her cabinet to deliver council services. She also works closely with the business and leisure community to boost economic growth in the town. Under her leadership, Mrs Jones has seen the successful building and opening of the Finningley And Rossington Regeneration Route Scheme (FARRRS) .
The mayor is also responsible for setting the council s annual budget and determining the authority s spending priorities.
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Expansion plans could be in the pipeline for a Rutland fine foods business thanks to the arrival of super-fast fibre broadband. Rutland Charcuterie, set up two years ago by businessman Nick Brake, in Braunston, near Oakham, as a specialist producer of salamis and air dried meats, is expected to be “transformed” by the new technology. The company can now benefit from download speeds of up to 80Mbps thanks to the multi-million pound Digital Rutland partnership between Rutland County Council, BT, and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).
Nick said: “We’re incredibly excited about the opportunities that come with fibre broadband. It’s going to transform the way we operate and how we’re viewed by our customers.
“The internet is crucial to our business in so many ways. In this day and age you simply cannot operate without it it’s the basis of all forms of communication and an essential marketing tool. Most of all it allows us to sell direct to the consumer via our online shop.”
He added: “We set up Rutland Charcuterie because we’re passionate about locally produced fine foods. We currently sell direct to customers at farmers’ markets and food shows, as well as supplying restaurants and delis.
“We also have an online shop and we’re turning to digital media more and more as a way to grow our business and put charcuterie on the map in Britain.
“The internet speeds in Braunston were previously a real source of frustration.
It wasn’t so noticeable when we launched a couple of years ago, but now that everything depends upon it in much larger volumes we’ve been tearing our hair out when things crash or take too long online.”
Around 200 properties in Braunston can now access superfast broadband.
Councillor Tony Mathias, deputy leader of Rutland County Council, said: “Digital Rutland has already connected thousands of homes and businesses to fibre broadband, meaning people can enjoy the benefits associated with faster upload and download speeds.
“There’s still a lot more to come from the project though, with additional areas and villages set to be connected in the coming months.”
Paul Bimson, of BT, said: “Rutland Charcuterie is a great example of how the technology can enable a business to compete on a level playing field with competitors based in more urban areas.”