Bristol bosses line up against rivals from across the South West in region’s Director of the Year Awards

May 16, 2018

Three recruitment firm bosses, a university pro vice-chancellor and the founder of a tech business that harnesses under-utilised computer power for financial services and animation clients are among the Bristol directors hoping to win one of the region’s top awards for boardroom excellence.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has named the shortlist for its annual South West Director of the Year Awards having received the highest-ever number of nominations – with the diverse shortlist reflecting the breadth of talent and leadership in the region.

The awards will be presented at a high-profile dinner and ceremony in Exeter next month with Christine Ourmières-Widener, CEO of Devon-based airline Flybe, as guest speaker.       

Three new categories have been added this year recognising Inclusivity, Innovation and the Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice.

Existing categories include Family Business, Public Sector, Not for Profit/Third Sector, Global, Emerging and Corporate Responsibility.  

While the IoD has named the shortlist, it not revealed which category they have been selected for as one category has just a single individual in it.

Bristol directors on the shortlist are:

Chris Holland of business waste advisory service Waste Source. Chris founded and developed the Waste Source model five years ago while he was procurement manager for Pieminister and realised the company was being overcharged for the removal of waste. Waste Source has no vehicles of its own but operates a brokerage model across multiple sectors including hospitality, retail and construction.

James Kingston, founder and managing director of construction recruitment specialists Kingston Barnes. James launched the company after 12 years in construction recruitment.

David Kirkpatrick of Tria Recruitment, which specialises in IT and business transformation staffing. David co-founded the business with two other experienced recruiters in 2013. It has worked with clients ranging from the Body Shop to Primark and Whitbread.

James Monk, director of commercial services at GWE Business West, the region’s largest business support and lobbying group. James leads on commercial activities supporting the business community. GWE recently launched an International Trade Centre which has been was instrumental in helping Business West to achieve a 40% increase in website traffic, and 250% more potential first-time exporters using our services.

Steve Preston, managing director of professional services, engineering and IT recruiters Heat Recruitment.  It recently became the first recruitment agency in Bristol to be accredited for the Workplace Wellbeing Charter as supported by Public Health England.

Rob Vivian, CEO of Pure Comms, a telecoms provider with offices in Clevedon and Cornwall. Rob is a business ambassador for North Somerset Council and also works with North Somerset Enterprise Agency to support up-and-coming business people.

Donna Whitehead, pro vice chancellor and executive dean of the Faculty of Business and Law at UWE. Donna leads a team of nearly 300 staff and more than 6,000 students and manages a budget of £55m. She also leads the work on enterprise across the university.

Gareth Williams, founder of YellowDog, which helps businesses access large amounts of computer processing resources. The firm is based at Bristol’s Engine Shed innovation hub.

IoD South West chairman Nick Sturge, who as director of Engine Shed won in 2014, said: “We had a record number of entries this year so to be even shortlisted is an achievement.  

“The South West has a well-deserved reputation for creativity and entrepreneurship and the diversity of the entries really showcases this fact.

“The awards recognise individuals who have made a significant difference in their field, be they start ups or established organisations across both the private and public sectors.  The hard task now will be to choose the winners from such an eclectic and impressive shortlist.”

The awards ceremony and dinner are on June 14 at Sandy Park Stadium, Exeter.

The awards are sponsored by regional accountancy firm Bishop Fleming, which has the largest of its seven offices in Bristol.

Bristol Business News and its sister titles Swindon Business News and Bath Business News are once again media partners for these coveted awards and will carry full details of the winners following the ceremony.

Tickets are available for the event by visiting

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