Teesside-based digital innovation product studio, Alt Labs, has strengthened its programming, marketing and innovation departments.

The trio of hires are Innovation Lead Russell Mills, Marketing Manager Samantha Wilcox, and Developer Janaid Hanif. Together they bring over 41 years of combined business experience across a variety of fields, including tech, e-commerce, and transport.

Speaking about the new appointments, Alt Labs Founder and CEO, Imran Anwar, said: “It’s great to welcome new talent into the business during such a period of sustained growth. We are an ambitious company and the addition of Russell, Samantha and Janaid provides strength and depth in key areas to support Alt Labs future plans.

“The experience they bring will allow us to further diversify our client base, expanding the range of services we offer, including web development, social media and design thinking.”

The expansion follows an exciting period of growth for Alt Labs, including a contract extension with rail operator Transport for Wales to nurture innovation in the sector. Plans are also being finalised to launch a new reporting app for Cleveland Police and to open a multi-functional, co-working space in Middlesbrough, aimed at tech start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Innovation Lead, Russell Mills, said: “I’m excited to have joined. I am looking forward to working between the worlds of start-up and corporate organisations - facilitating tangible improvements through creative thinking.”


Northern housing association Karbon Homes has made two new senior appointments to help push forward with the delivery of its five-year strategic plan.

Jonathan Fletcher has been appointed as Director of Pre-Tenancy and Property Services and Andy Kennedy as Assistant Director of Customer and Building Safety.

Formerly the group’s Assistant Director of Responsive Repairs and Voids, Jonathan has a wealth of experience in property maintenance and support services.

Jonathan said: “I am really looking forward to this new challenge within Karbon. It’s an exciting time for the organisation, having just refreshed our Stronger Foundations Strategy, and I hope to play a key role in delivering our strategic aims and helping provide customers with a strong foundation for life.”

Andy Kennedy has stepped into the newly created role within Karbon’s senior management structure, after four years as Karbon’s Head of Compliance.


Louis Taylor has been appointed CEO of the British Business Bank, the UK’s economic development bank, which has helped firms across the North East.

He is currently CEO of UK Export Finance, the UK government's export credit agency.

Louis, who was educated at the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle, joined UK Export Finance in 2015, enjoying a high-profile career which saw the department provide its highest level of support for UK exporters in 30 years and end its financial support for overseas fossil fuel projects – all while operating at no net cost to the UK taxpayer.

Before joining UK Export Finance, Louis Taylor had a career in banking and corporate finance, most recently with Standard Chartered Bank where he held positions as Chief Operating Officer for Group Treasury and also as CEO, Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia.


UKSE, the Tata Steel business-support subsidiary, has appointed Joan Cook to the new role of Workspace Manager in the North.

She will be responsible for managing UKSE’s two flagship Innovation Centres at Hartlepool’s Queens Meadow Business Park and on the Kirkleatham Business Park at Redcar. Both centres were purpose-built in the early 2000s, proving so popular that multi-million pound extensions were soon added.

The Northern Echo: Joan CookJoan Cook

Joan, who lives in Hartlepool, joined UKSE in 2012 as an Administrator, helping to ensure the smooth running of the Innovation Centre there and supporting tenants on a daily basis. She will now manage both centres where around 100 businesses currently occupy offices and workshop units.

“I have really enjoyed working in a busy centre where there is such a friendly and supportive community,” she said. “Starting and growing a business, especially in recent times, demands hard work, time and commitment and our aim is to leave our tenants free to concentrate on their own businesses. I know that tenants appreciate having a team from UKSE always on-site. I am looking forward to taking on the additional challenges of this new role.”

Sarah Thorpe, UKSE Regional Manager said: “Demand for space at our centres continues to grow and we have additional plans in the pipeline too, so we recognised the need for a designated Workspace Manager. Joan has built up invaluable experience since joining UKSE and working so closely with our business tenants. We are delighted she is taking on this important new role,” she added.

The provision of premises is an important part of UKSE’s support for businesses in steel areas, alongside a range of financial packages of up to £1m, all aimed at helping them to boost growth and create jobs,

UKSE has now invested more than £22m in businesses in the Northern region with a further £12m invested in business premises and a Community Support Fund to help local projects.


TGA, an expert provider of consulting engineering services, has expanded with seven new recruits in line with its ambitious expansion plans.

The firm, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, provides design and consulting services across building performance, building services engineering and low carbon design, and has made the appointments across key areas of the business to support its business development strategy.

Will Powis, a Senior Electrical Engineer, has joined TGA to work across several key projects while Emma Marshall, has been appointed Mechanical Associate in Newcastle and Russell Entwistle, has taken up a Technical Director post in the Leeds office.

Both Emma and Russell will also support Durham and Newcastle office staff across a wide range of multi-sector projects currently underway throughout the company.

In addition to these appointments, Deacon Tuck and Tommy Mosley join the team as Graduate Mechanical Engineers and Sufyan Ali as Graduate Building Performance Consultant, all operating from the Durham office, whilst Meghana Kothakonda joins the Newcastle office as a Graduate Electrical Engineer.

Headquartered in Durham with regional offices in Newcastle, Leeds, Stevenage and Central London, the firm works on projects typically between £6m and £60m. Recent projects of note include a £16m public sector decarbonisation scheme for Newcastle City Council, the £8.3m Morrison Busty Low Carbon Facility for Durham County Council and the Durham Custody Suite for Durham Constabulary.

Jason Jobes, Director at TGA said: “This round of recruitment is incredibly important for TGA. We have already outperformed our targets for the current year and are looking forward to this trend continuing. We are very much dedicated to recruiting future talent, bringing in graduates and retaining skills in the region. We benefit from great team retention rates and long service and are busy formalising our hybrid working policy.

“We have seen an uplift across all areas of the business, especially healthcare, leisure and historic property and with the Net Carbon Zero deadline approaching, we are looking forward to developing the next generation of low carbon and building performance engineers."