Our board

Our Board have a broad range of knowledge and experience and, alongside the Chair Professor Russel Griggs OBE, will drive forward the vision of SOSE to establish the South of Scotland as a centre of opportunity, innovation and growth.

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair

Professor Russel Griggs OBE started his business life in marketing in the pharmaceutical industry and then moved to the consumer flooring industry before becoming CEO of an industrial textile company in England in the 1980s. In 1990 he joined Scottish Enterprise in a business development role and became an Executive Director of Scottish Enterprise where he ran the investment banking and business development arms, as well as spending some years in the USA looking at outward investment for Scottish companies.

Since then he has had a number of non-executive positions in the private, public and third sector, as well as undertaking a variety of strategic work for public bodies and private companies. From 2007 to 2010, he was Chair of the CBI’s UK SME Council and of various other government committees. He was also until recently a Board member and Chair of the Audit Committee of VisitScotland, a Board member of Scottish Enterprise, a Non-Executive Director of the Scottish Government, and a Board member and Chair of the Audit Committee of the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland.

He currently chairs the Scottish Government’s independent Regulatory Review Group who advise and work on better regulation in Scotland. In 2011 he was appointed jointly by the banks, industry, and UK Government as the Independent External Reviewer to the task force for clearing banks in the UK to ‘audit’ their new appeals process for businesses appealing against credit being declined.

He is honorary Professor of the University of Glasgow, an associate Professor at Boston University, and a member of the board of the Business School at Georgia Southern University. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2008 for services to Scottish industry.

Photo de Russel Griggs

Nick Halfhide, Interim CEO

Nick Halfhide, previously Director of Sustainable Growth at Scottish Natural Heritage, has taken on the interim CEO South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) role from 3 February 2020 until a permanent appointment is made.

Alistair Cameron

Alistair has built his career in the Life and Chemical sciences sector, growing a 2 person, home based business to becoming a major local employer, exporting to 32 countries Worldwide. Alistair strongly believes that investment in innovation, advanced manufacturing technologies and people development can lead to sustainable economic growth in the region.

Alistair was previously the skills lead for Life & Chemical Sciences Scotland, helping to design new university and apprenticeship programs, and also served on the advisory board of Interface, helping to develop increased collaboration between Scottish Universities and SMEs.

Professor Sara Carter, OBE, FRSE

Professor Sara Carter, OBE, FRSE, is Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow. A Professor of Entrepreneurship, Sara’s academic work examines the effects of business ownership on households and the consequences of structural inequalities in resource access, particularly finance, on the SME sector. Her research encompasses the agriculture, rural and food sectors; the experiences of women as business owners; and the economic well-being of entrepreneurial households.

Sara has served extensively on national and international boards. She is a member of the Council of Economic Advisers to the First Minister of Scotland; the Enterprise & Skills Strategic Board; the Women in Enterprise Action Group; and is Non-Executive Director of Women's Enterprise Scotland. In 2008 she was awarded an OBE for services to women entrepreneurs.

Formerly, she chaired the British Bankers’ Association Diversity and Inclusions Business Council, served on the Scottish Government Strategic Group on Women and Work, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Research Committee and the Chartered Association of Business Schools Delivering Value Taskforce. She holds international appointments on the Flemish Research Council (FWO) Social Sciences and Humanities Expert Panel, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Science, International Scientific Advisory Board.

Prior to her appointment at the University of Glasgow, Sara was Head of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Associate Principal at the University of Strathclyde. She served on the Leverhulme Trust Research Awards Advisory Committee, as Senior Editor of Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, and as a member of the UK Government's Women's Enterprise Taskforce.

Alan Daubney

Alan Daubney is Managing Director and owner of ADCA Chartered Accountants, a modern firm of accountants which he set up in 2011 to provide varied services to a number of clients. Alan has a degree in Economics and Finance from Strathclyde University and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2006 after completing his training with Carson and Trotter, Dumfries. He was admitted to membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland in 2007. Alan worked in practice until 2008 when he moved in to industry and worked as Financial Controller for Browns Food Group looking after a number of its subsidiaries. Alan held this role until he set up his own business in 2011. Alan is involved in a number of businesses and charities providing accounting and Financial Director roles.

Helen Forsyth

Helen Forsyth has been the Chief Executive of Berwickshire Housing Association for over 12 years during which time Helen has inspired staff to become number 9 in the Sunday Times Best Companies not for profit section and provided the innovation in order to solve the problem of how to keep building new homes, at a time when funding was in decline with the ground breaking “Fisherman Three” Community Windfarm, near Cockburnspath.

Helen joined Berwickshire Housing Association from Places for People in 2007 in which her role was Regeneration Director and previously to this role Helen was the Chief Executive at Edinvar Housing Association.

Helen’s background has involved working in the public sector, health and social care and not for profit organisations. Helen is the Chair of Resilient Scotland and was appointed to represent the third sector for the new South of Scotland Economic Partnership which will devised a fresh approach to the economic development of Scotland.

Duncan McConchie

Duncan McConchie, from Laggan, near Gatehouse of Fleet worked in the television and media industry in Yorkshire & London for 10 years, before moving back to his family farm in 2007 where he started Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre.

Duncan & his wife Vicki have transformed the business over the last 5 years with the creation of on-site accommodation, GG’s Yard wedding & conference venue and soon to launch, Gather, their hillside kitchen/bistro. Their aim is to create new opportunities and grow the business to sustain future generations on the land.

Duncan is passionate about creating a thriving rural economy and getting the South of Scotland the representation and share of the pie that it deserves.

Lindsay McDowall

Lindsay McDowall has worked across the private and public sectors both in the UK and overseas before moving into the third sector where she has been a senior manager for the past seven years. Currently Lindsay is Head of Services for Visibility Scotland, a charity, where she manages projects and services across Dumfries and Galloway, Borders, and throughout the West of Scotland. Locally, Lindsay has led and developed an award-winning community project in Dumfries and Galloway for Visibility Scotland and has a strong interest in building community resilience as well as improving opportunities for young people across the South of Scotland. Lindsay has spent time overseas working and living across South East Asia and on her return has called Dumfries and Galloway home and has brought her family up in the area.

Kate Rowell

Kate is a fifth generation sheep and suckler cow farmer from a hill and upland farm near Peebles in the Scottish Borders. She trained at the Royal Dick Vet School and graduated as a veterinary surgeon in 1995, and in 2005, along with her husband, took over the farming business from her parents. Kate has been Chair of Quality Meat Scotland since October 2018. She participated in the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme in 2015-16, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

Kate is a past President of Peeblesshire Agricultural Society and has been involved in planning the towns annual Beltane Festival for many years. She frequently volunteers with the Royal Highland Education Trust and also runs a Girl Guide unit in Peebles. She is an active member of the local National Farmers Union of Scotland branch and has previously served on her local Community Council.

Jeremy Sainsbury OBE, FRICS

Jeremy has over 30 years’ experience in the renewable energy sector.  He has been instrumental in the growth of international renewable energy consultancy Natural Power - the company employed just seven people when he joined as a Director, and now has 420 staff across 14 offices in 4 countries; and is still growing at 10% per annum. He is responsible for policy and regulation issues.  Natural Power work in wind, PV, hydro, biomass and renewable heat.

They permit sites, carry out SI works, design sites, manage construction, carry out asset management and operations. Their Galloway based control center is the largest in the UK with the exception of National Grid. Jeremy is based at the international headquarters of Natural Power, Forrest Estate in the heart of rural Dumfries and Galloway.

A serving Director of Energy UK, chairing their Renewable Energy Committee and a member of the Generation Committee; he works closely with The Scottish Government on policy for the renewable sector. He regularly works with Scottish Ministers on industry working groups. Jeremy was a founder member of Scottish Renewables, serving as chairman, vice chairman and chair of the grid group. He served on the SR board from 2000-2019. In 2013 he was awarded an OBE for services to renewable energy and to the community of Dumfries and Galloway. Board member of SOSE specialising in Energy.

Hazel Smith

Starting out in community education almost 30 years ago, Hazel set up, developed & managed organisations and projects combatting exclusion and inequality working with third sector, public sector services and economic development agencies. Much of the work she has been involved in over the years has focused specifically on gender equality; managing Women Onto Work in Edinburgh, working with the European Commission on research, promoting women’s participation in education, enterprise and in the labour market and then more recently, volunteering in Senegal with women’s rural development. In 2016 Hazel moved back to Berwickshire and applied her life’s learning, creating ReTweed, a social enterprise delivering craft, heritage and textiles skills to those who face multiple and complex barriers; breaking cycles of poverty, isolation, ill-health and low aspiration. Hazel’s social enterprise represents excellence in its field: in just over 3 years from start-up ReTweed has gone from an idea to employing 8 staff, becoming a trusted provider with a robust curriculum, delivering 11 courses to over 80 women, whilst also delivering training, commercial workshops and volunteer manufacturing days for over 500 participants. ReTweed has been nominated and won numerous regional and national awards and the training and business model for ReTweed is being adapted and replicated across other areas of Scotland.

David Sulman

David Sulman has over 40 years’ experience in the UK forestry and timber sector, including appointments in industry at an operational management level and in research and development, in addition to senior executive appointments in forestry and timber trade associations. David has been actively involved in several Forestry Commission and Forest Research specialist committees. David has been a member of the Timber Transport Forum, is former Chairman of the Assessment Panel of the Scottish Strategic Timber Transport Scheme and has been involved in education, training and skills development initiatives. David has served on the National Council of Rural Advisers and the South of Scotland Economic Partnership.

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