SMART Cities Cardiff Speaker Bios


cardiff-infoSpeaker Bios

Professor Calvin Jones, Cardiff University

‘Calvin Jones is Professor of Economics and Director of Public Value Delivery at Cardiff Business School. He has over 25 years experience of analysing the Welsh Economy and has published extensively on sustainable regional development, and on the economics of energy, and on the economic impact of tourism and sports events. He is a member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Working Group on Sustainable Tourism, and a failed novelist and rock star.

Rhodri Thomas, Cynall Cymru

Rhodri joined Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales in September 2008.

He has a BSc. (Hons.) in Environmental Biology, an MSc. in Environmental Management and a PGCE in Adult Education & Training. Previously, he has worked for Forum for the Future where he was a Senior Sustainability Advisor with public sector clients, for Environment Agency Wales where he supported the executive on public relations and managed the Pride In Our Communities anti-flytipping project in the south west, and The University of Glamorgan where he was a lecturer and researcher in life sciences anevelopment. For thirteen years he worked freelance in the performing arts as an actor, writer and producer. He worked extensively on radio, theatre, film and TV.

For Cynnal Cymru he has developed the Emergence initiative – our work with the arts sector, and Strong Roots – our support for community and town councils. He is currently co-ordinating and developing our professional development  and consultancy service, specialising in developing the sustainability skills of managers and the integrated reporting approach of organisations. He also manages external partnerships, develops new projects, writes case studies and conducts research.

Pat Laughlin, UK Business Council for Sustainable Development

Pat Laughlin has been the CEO of UK BCSD since 2013.  Pat trained as a Plant Biochemist and Information Scientist and has worked extensively within management, holding senior management posts in the mining industry, Toyota UK and the BBC. She moved into Economic Development as Business Development Director at the West Midlands Regional Development Agency. In 2003 she established an independent research and facilitation company which has supported projects for business and the public and voluntary sectors across the UK. Pat has specialised in supply chain development and most recently in promoting sustainable development and holds a number of non-Executive Director positions in both business and the voluntary sector.  She became CEO of UK BCSD in 2013.

Alan Hendry, JACOBS 

Alan is Jacobs Director of Sustainability and has 29 years of experience in the field. Alan has a wide appreciation of the application of sustainability within both the public and private sectors having worked in both and supported a wide range of organisations with their embedding of sustainability, including the energy sector.

Alan is a Director of the Industrial and Power Association he is also currently the Chair of the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development in Scotland, and is a former Regional Board Member of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency as well as the former vice chair of the Sustainable Scotland Network.

Alan manages Jacobs Global Community of Practice on Sustainability and runs the Jacobs Global Sustainability Call which features senior presenters from leading businesses and business organisations, such as Unilever, Coca Cola, O2, McCains and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Through this Alan has developed excellent networking capabilities and build a network of contacts across the UK in Government, Government Agencies, NGO’s, businesses, business organisations and local authorities

Dr Crispin Cooper, Cardiff University

Dr Crispin Cooper is a Research Associate at the Sustainable Places Research Institute and is currently working on sDNA (Spatial Design Network Analysis). His primary role is to create the next generation of spatial network analysis software, and look for new ways to apply it in research.  To date, he has used sDNA to investigate health, pollution, accessibility, community cohesion, carbon footprinting and economic geography. Currently he is focusing on modelling cycle flows for sustainable transport and health.

Crispin’s interests lie in the application of information technology to sustainability problems, whether from the perspective of traditional modelling, or through creating tools for networking and public engagement.  He has played an active role in PLACE’s external partnerships with Cardiff Council, the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and the Canal and Rivers Trust.

Brian McGuigan – Silver Spring Networks

Brian has worked in the development and deployment of innovative services and technologies for over 15 years, across the Smart City, Energy and Medical sectors, with a focus on harnessing technology to deliver meaningful end user benefits.

At Silver Spring Networks Brian has worked with many leading global cities to explore how flexible communication and data platforms can accelerate service innovation across the city – in areas such as traffic management, intelligent lighting, electric mobility & renewables.

Silver Spring Networks are a leading global provider of smart energy and future city platforms, with over 25m homes and businesses connected globally, in over 500 cities such as Bristol, Copenhagen, San Francisco, Chicago, Melbourne, Paris and Singapore.

Tom Baker – BT

Tom is a fierce advocate of the development of smarter communities. It is people and communities that shape our cities and regions. The infrastructure, fabric and services of our conurbations needs to be intelligent and built around the needs of citizens.

Tom has a significant insight into elements of the UK’s transport infrastructure and underpinning systems having worked with Virgin Trains, Eurostar, VOSA and the Highways Agency. However it is his later experience where he has worked in a number of Technology and Information leadership roles with Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Norfolk Councils that have shaped his views on the future of public services. A common theme in these roles has been partnership, digital inclusion, a focus on economic regeneration and through a raft of activities to link and join services across the public service spectrum.

The increasingly complex challenges faced by society which need to be addressed by public services, businesses, academia, schools and communities working together.

It is this insight and experience that has demonstrated to Tom that a the journey to becoming a Smarter Community starts with its people, that empowering a community is dependent on incubating innovation and fostering collaboration.

Creating the environment for collaboration, for innovation and for doing the right thing is a massive challenge even in today’s digital age, however through their partnerships with a number of leading UK cities BT are doing just that.  BT have a range of truly transformative capabilities, not only do they have deep and strategic insight into the workings government and health services in the UK they also have many millions of UK customers.

Eleanor Knight MBA, MA (Chartered Marketer), ACCA

Eleanor has worked for public and private organisations throughout her career and been involved in fundamental step changes in a variety of different areas in Wales including nurse prescribing, embedding primary health care teams in the community, State Aid, Equity Release Scheme, Finance Wales Plc and its inauguration funds, first INTERREG programme with Republic of Ireland and initiating the first programme of LEADER Groups in Wales.  Her current role is assisting the Welsh Government Energy Advisor to develop the Smart Living Initiative to create a portfolio of innovative demonstrators which will influence and provide learning opportunities to help shape future thinking in this area.

Fflur Lawton – Smart Energy GB

Fflur heads up the policy and communications work of Smart Energy GB across Wales.  She is responsible for stakeholder engagement and public affairs work as well as developing our media presence.

Prior to joining Smart Energy GB, Fflur developed her career at the Big Lottery Fund.  Working there for over 10 years she held a variety of roles including Head of Communications and Senior Head of Corporate Management.

She started her career working in the third sector developing environmental projects with communities across Wales.

She is fluent in Welsh and an experienced public speaker.