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35 Cotswold professionals under 35

PUBLISHED: 15:19 08 October 2015 | UPDATED: 15:53 08 October 2015

35 Cotswold Professionals under 35

35 Cotswold Professionals under 35


Who will be the UK’s next entrepreneurs and leaders? We went hunting for 35 young Cotswold professionals who could be the business faces of the future

Just a few of the Cotswold Professionals we've managed to hunt down. From left to right; Craig Baldwin (Commercial Office Supplies), Abigail Breary (Lockton Companies), Ian Saxelby (Lockton Companies), James Cowdale (Third Floor Design), Annabel Rayer (Silver Ball PR), Bradley Gregory (Skyline Aero), Jennifer Allen (Hughes Paddison), Laura Bloomfield (Total Ltd), Spencer McPherson (McPherson Stevens), Louise Igoe (Lodders Solicitors)Just a few of the Cotswold Professionals we've managed to hunt down. From left to right; Craig Baldwin (Commercial Office Supplies), Abigail Breary (Lockton Companies), Ian Saxelby (Lockton Companies), James Cowdale (Third Floor Design), Annabel Rayer (Silver Ball PR), Bradley Gregory (Skyline Aero), Jennifer Allen (Hughes Paddison), Laura Bloomfield (Total Ltd), Spencer McPherson (McPherson Stevens), Louise Igoe (Lodders Solicitors)

Born after 1980, this is the tech-savvy generation, often known at Generation Y. Unlike the previous generation which frequently put professional success above personal fulfillment, Generation Y say they are willing to trade higher pay for fewer hours, flexibility and a better work/life balance. It will be interesting to see whether they actually do.

From their responses it’s easy to see that Generation Y already has a different vision of workplace expectations. They often prioritise family, friends and quality of life over work. However, they still respect and aspire to achievement. Have they learned from another much-discussed group, those career women who in the 1980s thought they could have it all? We hope so.

The 35 people featured across our pages are considered exemplars by us and by their employers. Willing to achieve for themselves, their colleagues, their employers, their professional or local communities and wanting to make a difference within society.

We asked them to answer three questions in 140 characters or less. Most of them did, and we’ll call them the tweet generation. Others took more space, so we’ve edited their responses. They’ve got a bit more to learn about tweeting and answering questions accurately.

1. Daniel Rees, managing director, Ruroc

Age: 26

I’m passionate about the business. We design and manufacture ski and snowboard helmet technology. What I’m doing wasn’t an active career choice.

What makes you stand out? Our focus on innovation.

Your life’s ambition? To take a company through to a successful IPO.

2. Bradley Gregory, managing director, Skyline Aero

Age: 24

From 16 I worked as an unskilled aircraft engineer for the family business Air Salvage, disassembling commercial aircraft.

What makes you stand out? I started Skyline Aero, an aircraft parts trading organisation, in 2013 to differ from other parts companies. We focused on supporting leasing companies when aircraft are on maintenance, and supporting start up airline packages.

Your life’s ambition? To own and lead a $1 billion business.

3. Jay Halford, owner, The Core Cheltenham

Age: 24

I choose my career though a passion for food. I was not one for the classroom. I have always had drive and a work ethic.

What makes you stand out? The Core produces high quality real food. Everything is healthy, dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar free where possible.

Your life’s ambition? To change the way people eat for the better and to show them the future of food.

4. Ben Harrison, co-founder Mango Bikes

Age: 24

I figured I probably wasn’t academic enough to land myself the job I wanted with the reward I wanted.

What makes you stand out? We make great bicycles for normal people, not bicycles for hardcore cyclists. We take our products seriously, not our attitude.

Your life’s ambition? To build some great businesses, spend time with great people, build some great houses and then move to Mars (half serious).

5. Rob Mason, Founder, Night Games. The world’s first night-time obstacle race

Age: 25

As an individual who has had entrepreneurial ambitions since a child, being my own boss has always been my ambition.

What makes you stand out? Bringing an entrepreneurial approach to an industry predominantly led by racing enthusiasts. I hope I bring fresh thinking and innovation.

Your life’s ambition? I would have previously answered ‘to own and run my own business’ but now it’s to grow Night Games into a global brand!

6. Abigail Breary, producer, Lockton Companies

Age: 28

After graduating I spent a year working for an insurer in Spain. I enjoyed the variety of work, so pursued a career in broking, acting for clients in complex risk classes.

What makes you stand out? Experience in dealing with international clients in a complex field of insurance; the ability to learn quickly and apply my understanding to a range of situations.

Your life’s ambition? To go paragliding off Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio.

7. Ian Saxelby, new business producer, Lockton Companies

Age: 26

I retired from cricket at 25 with an interest in financial services. An undeniable opportunity arose to work for a top 10 broker.

What makes you stand out? A strong professional network, awareness of and access to specialist global resources, relationship builder, deal enabler.

Your life’s ambition? To derive personal satisfaction and achievement while working professionally, provide for family and close friends.

8. Ruth Baker, associate solicitor, Willans LLP

Age: 34

I wanted to do something I hadn’t studied before when I chose my A-levels, so I picked law to supplement languages. I didn’t purposely choose private client work, but wanted to act for people rather than corporate entities.

What makes you stand out? I work hard to cement my reputation as one of the leading private client lawyers in the Cotswolds. I have been recognised as a ‘rising star’ in national independent legal directories.

Your life’s ambition? Aside from a lottery win resulting in early retirement, I hope to pass on my enthusiasm as I progress in my career (as my mentor did for me when I began).

9. John Lucas, partner, Hazlewoods

Age: 35

I knew a Chartered Accountancy qualification would give me an understanding of business, and I wanted to work with a varied client base.

What makes you stand out? I work in corporate finance and need to quickly gain the trust of business owners who I represent in business sales or acquisitions.

Your life’s ambition? To take part on TV programme The Secret Millionaire.

10. Jonathan Claridge, manager Crowe Clark Whitehill

Age: 32

Everyone said that a career in Accountancy was boring, so I set out to prove them wrong. It’s dynamic, interesting and motivating.

What makes you stand out? My passion for unique Gloucestershire businesses and my dedication getting to know the people behind the companies I work with.

Your life’s ambition? To be respected within Gloucestershire as a business advisor, to become a Partner, and marry my girlfriend, Christina.

11. Jennifer Allen, associate solicitor, Hughes Paddison

Age: 32

I was ‘gently’ persuaded by my wonderful parents to follow the academic route rather than an arts foundation course I favoured. The morning of my graduation I met Jane Brothwood (MD of Hughes Paddison) at the hairdressers. She continues to inspire me.

What makes you stand out? I am a family lawyer, so probably because of the service I provide to my clients who are often going through the worst time of their lives.

Your life’s ambition? To become a director of the firm by the time I was 30, which I did. Now it’s to become the firm’s managing director in the future.

12. Doug Armstrong, associate solicitor, BPE Solicitors

Age: 33

I wanted to join a profession where I could use my communication skills and love of a good debate. I also wanted to help people, personally and in their business.

What makes you stand out? I expect this applies to most young people in my sector but I pride myself on working hard and a dedication to my clients.

Your life’s ambition? To make the most of life and be a good role model for my child(ren).

13. Freddie Noble, patent attorney, Albright IP Limited

Age: 28

I wanted to work in a small business, and liked the idea of working on a wide range of new inventions in different technical areas.

What makes you stand out? A modern approach to working commensurate with a client base at the cutting edge of technology.

Your life’s ambition? Live in a hammock for a year.

14. Charles Purves, associate investment director, Investec Wealth & Investment Cheltenham

Age: 32

I’ve always been interested in global economics, particularly behavioural finance. Using this knowledge to advise clients is rewarding.

What makes you stand out? I don’t feel I do, but my enthusiasm and interest in global stock markets is a strength.

Your life’s ambition? To be successful through honesty, pride and determination, inside and out of work.

15. Jeremy Taylor, associate solicitor, Tanners

Age: 33

I love words and have the desire to use them to help people.

What makes you stand out? My bedside manner. I love to dispel anxiety and confusion through kind, confident and straightforward communication.

Your life’s ambition? To pilot a small plane out of Oban (Connel) airport. To excel as a husband and father, and as a lawyer in a close-knit team.

16. Paul Murphy, chief financial officer, Tayabali Tomlin: Accounting for Entrepreneurs,

Age: 32

I’ve always loved numbers and finding solutions to problems. I wanted to be a professional that people trust and turn to first.

What makes you stand out? Helping Tayabali Tomlin grow to a national award winning firm. Understanding what makes entrepreneurs tick. Using innovation and new technology to the fullest.

Your life’s ambition? To make a difference to my clients, my growing team and those less fortunate. While also mastering the work/life balance.

17. Louise Igoe, equity partner Lodders Solicitors

Age: 34

My mother tells me I always wanted to be a lawyer but my early interest appears to have stemmed from being able to wear a ‘smart suit’ to work.

What makes you stand out? I was the youngest ever partner at Lodders when I was promoted at age 30, and this year I was asked to join the firm as an equity partner. I specialise in wills, probate and inheritance tax planning.

Your life’s ambition? In career terms, I’ve made it! Aside from work, I am trying to master the art of golf and I’ve recently inherited a piano.

18. Rosie Blacker, personal injury and clinical negligence solicitor, Withy King

Age: 30

I chose a career allowing me to develop my passion for law and medicine while making a real difference to individuals lives.

What makes you stand out? I’ve been privileged to assist on several complex personal injury and clinical negligence claims where I’ve develop my knowledge and skill.

Your life’s ambition? To work on a case which helps redefine the law for people injured through no fault of their own.

19. Laura Bloomfield, customer care team leader, Total Ltd

Age: 23

I wanted a career in the customer service sector and an apprenticeship seemed perfect.

What makes you stand out? I am a hardworking and determined individual who strives to achieve the best results

Your life’s ambition? To continue embracing challenges and be happy in everything I do.

20. Hayley Bullock, estimator, Britannia Construction Ltd

Age: 30

Estimating suits my skillset. I’m good with numbers, assessing risks and opportunities, working in a team. It helped that I already had family in the industry.

What makes you stand out? Being a female estimator is still rather unusual. That certainly makes me stand out on site.

Your life’s ambition? To be successful in my career and earn respect from my peers, have a happy and healthy family, and one day complete the London Marathon!

21. Kris Smith, recruitment team leader, Omega Resource

Age: 23

My interest in sales and people-focused jobs was confirmed during work experience at Omega, one of the best recruitment agencies in Gloucestershire.

What makes you stand out? Strong, long standing relationships with clients and colleagues, and a comprehensive understanding of the technical and engineering sectors we recruit for.

Your life’s ambition? To run my own business one day.

22. Ben Gatley, head of trading, Ecotricity

Age: 27

My career is a great fit between my passion for the environment and my interest in data analytics, maths and financials. I’m a numbers geek at heart!

What makes you stand out? Ecotricity is a unique and innovative company so I’ve developed bespoke skills here, which are relied upon to make key business decisions

Your life’s ambition? I always strive to be the best at what I do, and make a positive difference to the people around me. If I can do this, I’ll die a happy man.

23. Hannah Bush, managing consultant, temps division, Allen Associates

Age: 27

I was so inspired by the recruitment consultant at Allen Associates who interviewed me as a potential job candidate that when a role came up within the agency, I jumped at the chance to join them.

What makes you stand out ? I have worked exclusively in temporary recruitment within Oxfordshire for the last six years.

Your life’s ambition? I haven’t managed to settle on one yet but fortunately time is on my side.

24. Alastair Boyes, technical support engineer, Advanced Insulation Limited

Age: 31

I chose to be an engineer within the oil and gas sector as there are constant new challenges to overcome in the exploration for oil.

What makes you stand out? Advanced Insulation is a dynamic company where we provide effective solutions for our client’s applications; staff are the key to facilitate this.

Your life’s ambition? I would like to become a recognised industry expert in subsea insulation and passive blast and fire protection, and maybe technical director one day.

25. Oliver Bain, business development manager AGD Systems Ltd

Age: 31

Marketing, sales, business, economics, politics, creativity and engineering are all things I love. Doing what I do doesn’t feel like a job.

What makes you stand out? Maybe my motivation, passion, persistence and positive nature. I try and keep things simple.

Your life’s ambition? A long bucket list but financial independence will allow my family and I to enjoy crossing things off and adding to it.

26. Naomi Hill, head of PR and brand communications, Weird Fish

Age: 29

I started at Weird Fish over seven years ago. My job has been created around me and I love working in a department where everyone can see your direct actions.

What makes you stand out? I have a unique perspective within the company I work for because we are such a small team.

Your life’s ambition? To retire at 40 and go travelling around the world, but I would settle for owning my own successful business.

27. Alex Watson, global transport manager for SuperDry

Age: 31

The movement of goods underpins all commercial activity across the world; it is a great way to experience a wide variety of businesses and international opportunities.

What makes you stand out? I focus on developing our vision of the future.

Your life’s ambition? To have executive control over supply chain operations in a forward thinking and entrepreneurial business.

28. Alex Wood, general manager, Fabric Architecture

Age: 33

I loved the forms and aesthetics of tensile structures before I ever knew of Fabric Architecture. It seemed like fate when a job opportunity came up 8 years ago

What makes you stand out? Over the past 30 years, our industry has been established by dominant individuals. I am determined that the ‘second generation’ achieves the same successes in a more collaborative way

Your life’s ambition: Happiness for me and my family.

29. Craig Baldwin, business development manager, Commercial Office Supplies

Age: 31

Some say I am a natural sales person. After university, one of my best friends Dad gave me my first chance in sales; I’ve never looked back!

What makes you stand out? Hard Work, accountability and laughter. My customers know they can rely on me to do a great job, and I do. I have been fortunate enough to win accounts such as ITV, DAC Beachcroft, Speedo, LeasePlan to name a few.

Your life’s ambition? I’ve been very fortunate in my career and people have given me a small foot up to get where I am. I fully intend to return that favour to as many people as possible.

30. Spencer McPherson, McPherson Stevens photography and video

Age: 33

As a child I collected National Geographic magazines for their imagery. I studied law, worked in the City. Chance led me into photography.

What makes you stand out? The principles we apply to fashion photography, and within the commercial and advertising space to clients.

Your life’s ambition? To work for more major brands and spend more time shooting high profile and well recognised clients. My personal ambition is to shoot for Louis Vuitton.

31. Chris Vagges, product designer, GTech

Age: 34

I have always had an interest in objects, how they work and how they can be made better. As a child I was forever dismantling my toys, (my brother’s toys) and modifying them.

What makes you stand out? I am extremely fortunate to have worked within a business that is driven by exceeding customer expectations.

Your life’s ambition? As I progress I want to make fewer mistakes and pass on the knowledge I have gained while pushing the boundaries of new product design.

32. Annabel Rayer, Partner, Silver Ball PR

Age: 31

I started my career in the dizzy heights of journalism. I fell in love with the thrill of breaking a story and writing copy. It was a natural transition to PR.

What makes you stand out? Our core ethos in everything we do is “did it make a difference?”

Your life’s ambition? To solidify my reputation in the PR industry as one of the top consumer PR experts in the UK.

33. James Cowdale, Third Floor Design, Creative Director at Third Floor Design Ltd

Age: 33

I come from a creative family and at school I had aspirations of being a designer. With no design degree I was turned away from agencies and decided to start my own.

What makes you stand out? Third Floor offers a multi-disciplinary approach to all projects, covering brand, design and digital which makes our proposition unique.

Your life’s ambition? To be a successful entrepreneur known for building one of the South West’s leading creative agencies.

34. Charlie Hill, owner, Artventure

Age: 25

Art brings joy to lots of people, including me. There are so many avenues for artistic ventures and I love exploring and evolving them.

What makes you stand out? I offer a refreshingly different, interesting and fun way of exhibiting art in a range of environments with a wide and stimulating variety of artists and practises.

Your life’s ambition? To create more space for art.

35. Edmund Smith, Carter Jonas

Age: 31

I’m from a farming family and luckily get involved with amazing country properties and people, but I still get to drive tractors at the weekend.

What makes you stand out? Hopefully my open approach and personal understanding of rural property, land and business.

Your life’s ambition? Work hard/play hard, and to manage a country estate of my own… although that might be a while away.

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