Judging Panel

Anita Nadkarni - Chair of the MKBAA Judging Panel
 

New Chair of the judging panel, Anita Nadkarni, Supply Chain and Operations Growth Driver at PwC, UK takes over from veteran head judge, Sir John Southby Bt, following his successful seven-year reign. Anita is a great addition to the panel. With more than 15 years’ experience in defining and driving large transformations to completion, Anita is a champion of helping businesses achieve their objectives through the implementation of strategies, which are underpinned by technology.  

With such a high level of business experience across both the public and private sectors, Anita’s appointment to the judging panel marks an important step forward for MKBAA. Having built strong relationships across the region with businesses, educational institutes, charity organisations and professional bodies, Anita is also a brand ambassador for MK College and MK Hospital Charity.

Tracey Aldworth
 

Tracey is the deputy Chief Executive of Milton Keynes Council and also the Managing Director of the Council owned Limited Liability Partnership, Milton Keynes Development Partnership (MKDP).

Tracey has been at Milton Keynes since September 2019 and is an experienced local government professional and qualified town planner, now operating at an executive level dealing with the range of issues that a growing local authority needs to manage and respond to.  

She oversees a wide range of services at the Council including Planning, Transport, Property, Environmental and Legal and
Governance activities of the Council, as well as leading the MKDP Executive team.  Tracey previously worked at neighbouring Aylesbury Vale District Council and has also held positions in local Government in London and also Sydney, Australia.  

Outside of work her time is taken up with looking after her son and also their ‘lock down’ puppy, who is now the self-proclaimed head of the household.  

Tracey is proud to represent the Council on the MK Business Awards judging panel and has been impressed with the quality and range of all the applications and has enjoyed working with fellow Judges to make the very difficult decisions about all of the high quality entries, that highlight the excellence here in MK.  Good luck to all the entrants.

Steve Eccles
 

Steve is a director with mixed-use developer Socius Development Limited. For two decades, Steve has been responsible for several high-profile schemes across London and the South-East, ranging from estate regeneration to large mixed-use town centre redevelopments.   
 
All schemes have had a strong focus on placemaking, ensuring long-term success through seamless integration of development into an urban area.  Steve’s particular focus is the impact of social and economic value and how it should be fully considered in the development process.
 
Steve is responsible for the redevelopment of Saxon Court in central Milton Keynes.  The £190m project, known as MK Gateway will transform the former MK Council office into much-needed modern workspace, by sympathetically extending the existing the under-utilised building.  This will help to support the post Covid recovery of MK and ensuring that businesses remain in MK whilst attracting new ones.


The scheme also includes a building called ‘The Shed’ which will provide high-quality incubator workshop spaces for SMEs to start in, grow and make MK their home. MK lacks the repurposed buildings and railway arches of other cities, and as such those businesses are generally pushed out of the central business district. Bringing them back into MK will be essential in contributing the social and economic development of the city.

Finally, MK Gateway also includes a 288-home build to rent residential building which will set a new standard for the future of urban living, and includes a UK first, with shared vertical amenity spaces to give residents access to high-quality social space.  Furthermore, the building is genuinely tenure blind, with 31% affordable homes being distributed throughout the building.

The MK Gateway project recently secured planning permission and will start on site in 2022.

Jo Lewington

Jo Lewington is the Chief Environment & Sustainability Officer at Network Rail, based at the company’s national centre, The Quadrant in Milton Keynes. Jo is also a member of the My Milton Keynes BID Board and is committed to supporting the work of the BID making Milton Keynes an amazing place to work.

Jo is a Chartered Surveyor and with 25 years professional experience, has a solid understanding of the land and property industry. Jo has spent her career to date working within the private practice property sector and also within the property sector of the rail industry before moving into the Technical Authority in Network Rail to lead on the delivery of the organisation’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy which was published in September 2020.

Jo is passionate about the positive environmental impact that the rail industry can bring to the communities it serves and the wider economy and is an advocate of embedding sustainability throughout the organisation as it prepares the railway infrastructure to achieve net zero carbon emissions and minimise the impacts of climate change by 2050.

Viren Patel

Viren started his career in accountancy before moving into the commercial world 20 years ago. He has worked across diverse sectors including education, telecommunications, healthcare, and retail and joined The Open University (OU) in 2015. Now in his role as Director of the Business Development Unit, Viren works with employers to understand their business challenges, and provide flexible learning and development solutions.

For over 50 years, The Open University has led the way in innovative distance-learning and has a proven track record and rich heritage of providing workplace education solutions for employers across a range of sectors, which help employees fulfil their potential.


The Open University’s flexible and adaptable approach enables consistent educational programmes to be delivered at scale, across geographically dispersed workforces. Through minimising the time needed in the classroom, The Open University’s blended delivery model is shaped around the needs of the employer and the role and responsibilities of the learner. This gives employees new skills and knowledge they can apply immediately to the workplace – increasing engagement and maximising return on investment.

During Viren’s time at The Open University, the OU has become the largest provider of degree apprenticeships in England – offering programmes in healthcare, social work, policing, systems thinking, digital management and leadership. The OU also offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, vocational qualifications, microcredentials, short courses and free learning and now works with more than 2,400 organisations across a wide range of sectors.

Jason Sinclair
 

Jason is a Commercial Director and Management Consultant, Fellow at the Chartered Management Institute with a background in HR Management, currently Chief Operating Officer at Profile Resourcing, an Inclusive Recruitment Specialist.

An Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Transformation Lead, with a focus on Executive D&I Strategy Development, Governance and D&I best practices
in Recruitment, Attraction and Staff Development, Jason also delivers modules for Cranfield Universities Executive Management Programmes in the School of Management.
Jason was an NUE Awards Finalist - Outstanding Contribution to Student Work Experience 2020 and sits as a Strategic Advisor, Director and Trustee
on a number of Boards, as well as volunteering as an Aleto Foundation Mentor on the Leadership Programme.

Having had a wealth of Strategic and Operational experience over the last 24 years in Blue Chip, SME, Public Sector and Higher Education, Jason is a proud vocal supporter of Diversity and Inclusion and other initiatives designed to give all the chance of success.

Robin Webb
 

Robin is a highly experienced commercial lawyer. He joined Shoosmiths in 2006, becoming a partner in 2010 and now leads the firm’s mobility sector.

Robin has a depth of experience and insight, particularly in the automotive, financial and retail markets. He is valued by clients for his strategic input on issues and is often viewed as an extension to clients’ in-house legal teams - advising on projects, including business process and technology outsourcings, business critical systems procurements and integration, telecoms network roll-outs, as well as software development and licensing.

Robin is also head of Shoosmiths’ Milton Keynes office and is responsible for the firm’s contribution to the local business community. Shoosmiths is a leading law firm with a network of offices across the UK. In 2020, it signed up to become one of the four main sponsors of the Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards (MKBAA), joining at a pivotal point in the awards’ history.

Robin believes that the MKBAA plays a vital role in spotlighting the region’s most innovative, impactful and ambitious companies, with important recognition also of charities and entrepreneurs.

It is this belief in the success of the Milton Keynes business community that has led to Robin overseeing Shoosmiths’ expansion in the region - providing quality legal services to the area’s firms, while also utilising Milton Keynes as a strategic base when supporting clients nationally.

 

Francesca Skelton
 

Francesca moved to Milton Keynes in 1977 and spent the first 14 years commuting to London. She worked at first in the advertising department of The Guardian newspaper, moving to IPC magazines to join the team launching a new women’s magazine OPTIONS, and later became publisher of Ideal Home magazine. On the birth of her second child she decided to work locally and left the private sector for a job in the voluntary sector and was Manager of Relate MK for ten years.  

The community of Milton Keynes became her focus and she also took on voluntary roles. She served as a  trustee of the Milton Keynes Community Foundation, including a three year term as Chair, and is now one of the Foundation’s Vice Presidents. She joined the Board of Governors of MK College and  served as Chair for six years from 2008-2013, and is now one of the MK College’s Ambassadors.

She is a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) of Buckinghamshire and was High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire 2015/16. In 2016 she took on the role of Chair of the Arts and Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes, which has over 35 members and stakeholders. In its advocacy for culture at the heart of placemaking, AHA-MK champions the rich heritage and creative future of Milton Keynes. It is also the lead partner for MAKE, the Milton Keynes Cultural Education Partnership, which works with its partners in schools and MK College and the cultural sector to enhance the lives of children and young people in Milton Keynes through outstanding and inclusive cultural education and creative enrichment.   

In 2020 AHA-MK produced a report ‘Rethinking Cultural Inclusion and Diversity: A Call to Action for Milton Keynes’. AHA-MK was delighted to be nominated for a MK Black History Month Award for ‘an organisation which actively reaches out to black communities’ and was very proud to win the award in this category at the Gala Awards Dinner October 2021.

Ruth Devine
 

Ruth Devine is the Managing Director and owner of SJD Associates Ltd, a local building services contractor. The business was established in 1996 by her father, Stephen Devine, an electrical engineer and former Clerk of Works for MK Development Corporation. Ruth joined ten years later to help build the business, following a career in supply chain management with global chemical manufacturer Chemetall Plc. Stephen happily retired five years ago and SJD continues to scale, working directly for many prestigious local companies and on regional construction projects.

SJD were delighted to win the MKBAA Small Business award in 2019 in recognition of their high growth, commitment to their people and support for the MK community.

Ruth is an advocate of technical education, especially apprenticeships, and strongly supports improving the culture and diversity of the Construction industry.

She is Chair of two electrotechnical industry skills groups - ECA's Skills Committee and The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership. She’s part of the Construction Leadership Council's People and Skills Network and attends the cross-government and industry Construction Skills Delivery Group. She contributed to the development of the pilot trailblazer Electrician apprenticeship standard, then joined the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Educations as a Construction Route Panel member in 2017.

Ruth supports MK College and local secondary schools as a SEMLEP/CEC Enterprise Adviser and is a trustee of the Lighthouse Club Construction Industry Charity, providing assistance with physical, mental and financial wellbeing for the whole construction workforce and their families.

Ian Revell
 
Ian has worked in the Voluntary and Community Sector for over 30 years throughout that time Ian has served on a number of Boards both business and charitable and has a track record of public service work with local, regional and national bodies throughout his career.
 
As CEO of MK Community Foundation he leads a team which promotes philanthropy, manages 50+ charitable funds that enable the Community Foundation to give grant to over 180 community organisations totally over £2M each year.
 
Since joining the MK Community Foundation Ian has led the adoption of a new Strategic Plan, and engaged in a series of “city?making” activities.  MK Community Foundation seeks to support the growth and development of the MK voluntary, community and cultural sector, to inspire giving to our communities through philanthropy and other social action and to take a lead in connecting and growing sustainable communities. Ian’s speciality is to facilitate great outcomes by getting the community to work together to deliver cross-community impact. 
 
Ian is passionate about the Voluntary Community and Cultural Sector and is an activist by nature, he serves as a Trustee with Camphill Communities MK, as Board member of MK College Group, is a member of the Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Towns Deal Board and as a Board member of My Milton Keynes.
 
Previously, Ian led the YMCA locally, bringing forward its redevelopment project in CMK. Before moving to Milton Keynes, Ian worked in the Brixton area of South London developing and running numerous community programmes for young people, children and families. He also led on developing engagement and education initiatives for what was at the time the UK’s largest refugee and asylum-seeker hostel. Ian is said to be very much a glass half?full person
 
Ian describes himself as a true Milton Keynian, living with his family in MK for over 25 years, fully engaging in all the city and borough has to offer.