Most influential people in business

Clive Bodley

Clive Bodley

Over the coming months Business Leader Magazine will be profiling the most influential business figures across the region.

Below is the first segment, focusing on North Somerset. Here is the first ten, which are in alphabetical order. For the next installment click here

Jon Air – Sparkol

A Silicon Valley style entrepreneur, Jon’s company Sparkol has gone from employing two people in 2012 to over twenty five at the time of writing.

The company’s flagship product, Videoscribe, is white board animation software that has won countless awards and allows companies to produce exciting, cost-effective videos.

Based in Clevedon, Sparkol has brought Soho style creative cutting edge thinking to the region.

The creative spark behind Sparkol, Jon has also pioneered a global strategy that has seen his software used all over the world.

His software has also been used in high-profile campaigns involving US President Barrack Obama.

A forward thinking entrepreneur, Jon is an influential name in the creative and technology sector.

Cllr Nigel Ashton – North Somerset Council

Pro-business and enterprise, Cllr Nigel Ashton has worked hard to oversee the development of key commercial developments, such as the Dolphin Square regeneration project and the Weston Gateway Business Park in North Somerset.

Nigel has also provided a bridge between the developers and the community, working to ensure that a balance between development and natural space is maintained.

A key figure behind the scenes and Vice Chairman of the West of England Local Enterprise (WE LEP) board, Nigel’s stewardship of North Somerset Council has been praised by business leaders.

Clive Bodley – Alliance Homes Group

Chief Executive of Alliance Homes Group, Clive is a visionary business leader who has campaigned for social reform and a better society, by engaging with the business world and understanding commercial requirements.

A major employer in its own right; and award winning private sector company – Clive has used his entrepreneurial flair to see his company lead on major issues.

Peter Coleman – Howards Group

In 2005, Peter Coleman bought A F Garages Limited, a well established Honda dealership, and moved the franchise to the Hildesheim Bridge site in place of Rover.

In 2006, the prestigious Toyota brand was added to the Howards Group when Peter purchased the Dealership from Sytner Holdings, the Dealership being based at Lympsham on the outskirts of Weston super Mare.

In December 2012, the Kia Franchise was introduced to the Group at Weston-super-Mare and Citroen/Kia moved to a newly refurbished site in March 2013.

The Group currently provides twelve franchise Dealerships at nine different sites and is a major employer in the region.

Neville Coles

Neville Coles

Neville Coles – Priory School

Neville Coles was recently mentioned on national TV by the possible future Prime Minister and current Education Secretary Michael Gove.

He has appeared on ITV news, in media across the world, and as the author of a recent article in the Daily Telegraph.

As the Principal of Priory Community School, an Academy Trust, in Weston-super-Mare; since 2007 Mr Coles has lead the school from 34% of students achieving A* to C GCSE maths to an incredible 81% last summer.

The Academy Trust is now one of the UK’s best-performing schools and oversubscribed, with over 300 first choice applications for the 250 places.

With a mantra of ‘Students First’, Neville has also managed to lead the school to ensure students on Free School Meals, a key Government indicator of disadvantage, achieve at just 8% behind the rest of the school, compared to a national average gap of around 30%.

PCSA’s methods include: hiring the best and most enthusiastic teachers, building brilliant teams, constantly praising students, encouraging smaller class sizes, instilling belief in the children and instilling a culture of high expectations on behaviour and attendance.

Graham Cooper – ONEPOST

Graham Cooper has worked in the Direct Marketing and Direct Mail Industry for over 30 years.

In 2005, he set up ONEPOST to maximise the opportunities of postal liberalisation and competition, allowing customers to reduce the cost of their postage.

Over the past 9 years he has spear-headed the business from its early start, to an organisation working with over 1,000 companies nationally and internationally, employing nearly 70 people from its head office in Portishead and sorting centre in Derby, turning over £50m and handling 300 million items of mail per annum.

Graham was a founder Board Member of the Direct Marketing Association and has represented the industry in negotiations with Royal Mail, as well as working on the Mailing House Council and Postal Affairs Committee for many years.

Graham Cooper

Graham Cooper

Gemma Day – Dowlas

After taking over from her father as head of Dowlas – the enabling developer for Weston Gateway Business Park (WGBP) – Gemma has worked round the clock to raise the profile of her development and has been one of the key drivers in re-positioning Weston as a hub for business and enterprise.

A Governor at Weston College and only 28, Gemma is fast becoming a key-figure in the region.

Jim Howard & Harry Espiner – Espiner Medical

In 1994, Mr Harry Espiner, 80, and Major Jim Howard, 75, set up Espiner Medical in Clevedon. It has increased its overseas turnover by a whopping 1517% in the last six years.

And in the last two years alone it has won the Queen’s Award for enterprise, doubled its manufacturing floor space and has become one of the fastest growing employers in the region.

The pair have also entered the US market and export to Germany, Spain, Austria, Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand and Poland.

Nick Horne – Knightstone Housing Group

Since 2011, Nick has guided Knightstone through a radical programme of transformational change, under the banner of Take on the Future.

A major part of the transformation has been the development of a new, purpose built office on the Weston Gateway Business Park, in the Junction 21 Enterprise Area.

Knightstone were the first business to invest in J21EA with their flagship building, a move which underpinned the closure of six regional offices and the release of significant cost savings for service investment.

Tim Lamb

Tim Lamb

Tim Lamb – Lambtrad

Tim holds the franchise for all of the McDonalds restaurants in North Somerset. Taking charge only a few years ago, Tim is responsible for 350 employees and a turnover of £10m.

He has invested over £1.5m on refurbishing his sites, improving equipment and training his staff.

He has created new jobs in the region, including 50 assistant managers and an area manager, winning several awards along the way for his commitment to staff development and enterprise.