Speaker biographies

Speakers are shown in the order they confirmed. View the programme to find out more

Sir Peter Soulsby Jon Orcutt Brian Deegan

Sir Peter Soulsby 

Mayor of Leicester 
Leicester City Council 

In 1981 Sir Peter Soulsby became Leader of the Council – a position he held almost continuously for the next 17 years.
During this time he oversaw the council’s transition from district council to a unitary authority, taking on responsibility for all local government services in Leicester.
In 1999, he was proud to be knighted by the Queen for services to the City of Leicester.
In 2005, Sir Peter Soulsby contested, and won, the parliamentary seat of Leicester South and remained as a Member of Parliament for that constituency until April 2011, when he resigned the seat in order to stand for election as Leicester’s first directly elected City Mayor.
On May 5th 2011, he won that election against ten other candidates, polling almost 47,000 votes – 55% of the votes cast. He  is privileged to have been re-elected to serve as Leicester’s City Mayor for a second term, polling just over 71,500 votes – 55% of the votes cast.   


Jon Orcutt

Director of Communication & Advocacy
Transit Centre, NYC

Jon Orcutt has nearly 30 years experience advocating and implementing sustainable transportation in cities.  Before joining Transit Center in January 2016, he was a consultant working with governments, organisations and companies on urban transportation strategies, traffic safety, bike share systems and bicycle transportation improvements. Jon was Director of Policy at the NYC Dept of Transportation from 2007 to 2014.

He oversaw development of NYCDOT’s strategic plan and was a leader of the team that delivered major design innovations to New York City streets. Jon managed the creation of the bike share system and development of the ambitious Vision Zero approach to traffic safety. Jon had previously served as executive director of both Transportation Alternatives and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, two leading civic organizations. The Campaign’s research and advocacy led to reduced spending on highway expansion across the NY metro region.  At Transportation Alternatives, he oversaw development of the organization from a volunteer base into a professional voice promoting bicycle transportation and traffic calming policies.

Brian Deegan

Design Engineer
Urban Movement 

Brian is one of the UK’s leading street design engineers and was co-author of the London Cycling Design Standards. With a background in engineering, he has also led high-profile policy and planning projects. He helped develop Transport for London’s Healthy Street Check, a key tool in designing for ‘Healthy Streets’, and helped ensure the design quality of all projects associated with the London Mayor’s £1billion Cycling and Healthy Streets programme. As a design engineer for Camden Council, Brian introduced the UK to ‘light segregation’ for cycling, and subsequently assisted TfL in the testing of innovative approaches to cycling-friendly signalised junction design, such as ‘hold the left’, two-stage right turns and early release.

As a street design all-rounder, Brian has experience tackling the many and varied demands placed on complex urban streets and spaces: from design engineering, traffic modelling and network strategies through to conducting research to the highest industry standards. He is helpful and pragmatic, and passionate about making better streets.

Steve Melia David McKenna Umesh Desai

Steve Melia 

Senior Lecturer in Transport Planning 
Centre for Transport & Society, UWE

Steve Melia is a Senior Lecturer in Transport and Planning in the Centre for Transport and Society. His research interests focus on behaviour change, shared transport and the interaction between transport and spatial planning.  He has generated original concepts such as ‘filtered permeability’ and the ‘paradox of intensification’ (Melia et al 2011).  His PhD concerned the potential for carfree development in the UK.  This combined observational case studies in a number of European countries with surveys and interviews of potential house movers in the UK.  He has advised UK Government departments on Eco-towns and the Olympic Park Legacy Company on the future development of the London Olympics site.

David McKenna 

Landscape Architect
IBI Group

David works as a Chartered Landscape Architect at IBI Group but is also a Chartered Engineer. He has been a Landscape Architect for over 19 years and now leads the Landscape team at IBI Group. David draws on his engineering knowledge and experience to take a bold, creative, yet practical approach to design. He has developed particular experience in the design of streets and spaces for people whilst accommodating vehicles. David is an avid fan of outdoor sports and enjoys running, snowboarding, and mountain biking.

Umesh Desai 

Director of Estates and Commercial Services 
De Montfort University 

Qualified as a Chartered Building Surveyor, Umesh has worked in the Higher Education sector for over 27 years in the estates and property field. He is an experienced professional working at strategic and operational levels with a track record of managing large, complex campus development programmes and a directorate of over 300 staff. He has experience in managing multi-site campuses and all aspects of estate matters from major capital development, maintenance, facilities management through to student accommodation, leisure, security, energy and sustainability. At De Montfort University he is a member of a number of strategic boards that cut across all aspects of university business. He has recently been selected to take on the role of Secretary for the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE).

Phil Havenhand Professor Cathey Parker Ojay MacDonald

Phil Havenhand

Growth Deal Programme Manager
Transport for Greater Manchester

Phil is TfGM’s Growth Deal Programme Manager, responsible for Greater Manchester's £350 million Growth Deal Programme which is being delivered in partnership with the ten Greater Manchester Local Authorities. With a background in civil engineering and project management, he has over 25 years’ experience of delivering Bus Priority, Cycling, Highway and Local Safety Schemes in partnership with key stakeholders.

This included the £54 million Greater Manchester Cross City Bus Package, incorporating the flagship Oxford Road bus priority and segregated cycling scheme. The Oxford Road scheme involved working closely with the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester City Council to design and deliver a scheme that reallocated roadspace to provide benefits for pedestrians, cyclists and bus passengers. Daily cycling trips have now more than doubled through the introduction of the kerb segregated cycle lanes on the Oxford Road/Wilmslow Road corridor.


Professor Cathy Parker 

Professor of Marketing and Retail Enterprise and Director, Institute of Place Management
Manchester Metropolitan University 

Cathy is Professor of Marketing and Retail Enterprise at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, where she leads and contributes to a number of commercial and research projects, in the areas of retailing, marketing and place management. She is also Director for the Institute of Place Management (IPM) , the professional institute for all those involved in making places better. Cathy is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Place Management and Development, published by Emerald Group Publishing Ltd and is Visiting Professor of Retailing and Place Management at the University of the Arts, London and Visiting Professor of Marketing at University of Glamorgan.

Ojay MacDonald 

Executive Director 
Association of Town Centre Management 

Ojay McDonald is the Acting Chief Executive of ATCM. In this role he works with Government ministers, parliamentarians, economic development professionals, business leaders and place-makers across the UK and Ireland to support town and city centres. He works on a range of policy issues including tax reform, local government finance, the EU and UN Urban Agenda, devolution, the Northern Powerhouse, transport, housing, planning, retail and urban regeneration.

Ojay has sat on the retail policy group for the Federation of Small Businesses, the Top Issues Council of the International Downtown Association, has contributed to the outputs of both the Portas Review and the Future High Street Forum, was lead author of the non-judicial parliamentary inquiry ‘High Street Britain 2015’, coordinates the secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Town Centres, lectures at the Manchester Metropolitan University, is a former Director of the Institute of Place Management and has a Masters Degree in Politics.

Professor Kim Cassidy Tracy Harwood Tim Burns

Professor Kim Cassidy 

Professor of Services Marketing
Edge Hill Univesrity 

Kim is Professor of Services (Retail) Marketing at Edge Hill University. She is also Academic Director of the National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Centre (NRRKEC) at Nottingham Business School. Kim is passionate about all activities which maximise the impact of academic research on retailing and has worked closely with the Economic and Social Research Council on this agenda. Her personal research focuses on customer engagement in retail. 

Tracy Harwood

Reader in Digital Marketing and Consumer Culture
De Montfort University 

Tracy’s areas of interest focus on consumer behaviour/usability and the impact and potential of technology in emerging contexts (smart cities, internet of things, retail), especially usability. She also researches and teaches in the areas of  virtual/online commerce, e-communities/tribes, marketing, creative technologies and e-commerce interface, qualitative research methods, and transdisciplinary research. Tracy is Area Editor, European Alliance for Innovation’s Transactions on Creative Technologies.


Tim Burns

Senior Policy & Partnerships Adviser 

Tim has over 15 years of experience working in the charity sector in travel, sustainable food, resource management and conservation. Tim currently provides policy advice and support to Sustrans and is passionate about social innovation.

Allison Dutoit Rebecca McDonald Jonathan Naughton

Allison Dutoit 

Urban Space Expert
Gehl Architects

Allison has practiced and taught in the United States, Denmark and the United Kingdom. Her broad experience encompasses small to large scales, from interior design and spatial planning to architecture and the urban scale, and private and public sector work. She has been responsible for the delivery of complex teams and remits, from inception to implementation. A dedicated collaborator and respected teacher, she treasures bringing the right people and components together, crafting processes and dialogues that elicit delight and deliver better places for people.

Rebecca McDonald 

Centre for Cities 

Rebecca’s recent research explores the drivers of private sector investment in UK cities, looking at what cities can do to best attract this much-needed investment. Her work has also explored the competing demands for city centre space and considered how policy can ensure commercial property is prioritised in these central areas.

 Rebecca joined the Centre in September 2016 from PwC’s Economics and Policy team. As an economic consultant her work explored the relationship between agglomeration and productivity, and investigated trends in housing tenure, such as the rise in private rental. She also wrote research comparing the performance of city economies across the UK.

 She holds a BA in Economics from the University of Cambridge.

Jonathan Naughton

Partner, Trustee and Director
Urban Futures, Cycling UK and Conservative Co-Op Movement 

As a Chartered Surveyor, I seek to balance the issues caused by my profession with public benefit. The economic anarchy of the 1970s, the issues that led to ‘It Took a Riot’ and sustainability in its true sense provide a focus to my work across urban and rural land and the viability of occupier businesses. Pleased to still be described as ‘an agitator’ by a friendly senior Treasury official!

Work by my RICS policy panel includes Transport development areas, Land Value capture and Locational Investment. Roles include Director of a Development Corporation, after generating the projects that led to its formation; Trustee of Birmingham Settlement; UK Director of 400 staff and 192 P&L’s for a US business. PPL was created to mitigate the demands of the car; the Farm Fund to secure small family farms, and Garden Cities to promote rail-based Garden Cities. The challenge of Social Investment is now, as usual, back with Local Authorities.

Peter Stonham Ali Clabburn Michael O

Peter Stonham 

Landor LINKS

Peter Stonham holds a degree in transport and has studied and written about the subject for more than 30 years. He is editorial director of Landor LINKS, which he founded, and has led the development of Local Transport Today and its other specialist magazines and on online networks.

Ali Clabburn

Founder and CEO 

Ali was one of the first sharing economy pioneers and has spent the last 20 years dedicated to helping improve mobility options for everyone. In 1998 whilst in his final year at University, 2 weeks before Google was born, he set up liftshare.com - a clever website which helps people find others travelling the same way as them so they can share their journey.

What started in a university bedsit has grown fast and now he and his expert team of 24 run the UK's national network of over 700 liftshare schemes for communities and businesses. At the time of writing over 800,000 people had joined the network and Liftshare is saving well over 1 million shared trips in the UK each month.

He is sure that if we make better use of what we have by sharing then we can make huge reductions in the resources we need.

Ali and his team have been awarded the:

  • Queen's Award for Innovation through Technology,
  • Ashden Environment Award,
  • Business in the Community National Award for Excellence, and
  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.


His goal is to have saved 1 billion car miles by 2020.

Michael O'Doherty

Regional Programme Manager
Local Government Association 

Michael is Regional Programme Manager for the Cabinet Office/LGA One Public Estate Programme, with responsibility for developing and supporting public sector transformation partnerships across the North East, Yorkshire and Humber and the East Midlands.

Michael has previously held a number of senior housing and local government roles over the last 20 years in the South West and North West of England, including Assistant Director of Housing at Manchester City Council where he was responsible for private sector housing investment and renewal. As Assistant Director of Environment for the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) he was responsible for driving low carbon investment in domestic and non-domestic buildings across Greater Manchester, including the Green Deal housing retrofit programme. He is currently a Non-Executive Director for Regenda Homes, sitting also on the Chartered Institute of Housing North West Board, having held professional membership for over 20 years.


Xavier Brice Diane Wehrle Hana Sutch

Xavier Brice


Xavier has a wealth of experience in public transport, working for the past ten years in a number of roles for Transport for London. This most recently involves leading the Fit for the Future Stations programme, the biggest change to London Underground for a generation.

He also designed a new cycling strategy for London, which led to the introduction of the Cycle Superhighways and Cycle Hire Scheme.

Passionately committed to sustainable transport Xavier is a lifelong cyclist and public-transport aficionado. He is a long-term Sustrans supporter with a garage full of bikes of various shapes and sizes.

Diane Wehrle

Marketing & Insights Director
Springboard Research Ltd 

Diane is regarded as one of the leading experts on the high street and retail intelligence and insights. She is frequently called upon to comment on the performance of retail destinations across the national media such as BBC, Sky News and The Times.  With 26 years of experience in the retail and property industries, Diane has significant experience in understanding trends and events on locational performance and is experienced in network and location planning. Diane holds an MSc in Property Investment, she sits on the Advisory Council of the ATCM (Association of Town Centre Management) and is a fellow of the Institute of Place Management.

Hana Sutch

Co Founder & CEO
Go Jauntly

Hana Sutch is Co-Founder and CEO at Go Jauntly, a platform to help people discover walks, create their own and share outdoor adventures with friends. She has more than 13 years' experience in the interaction design sector, working at award-winning interaction design studio prior to becoming a partner at Furthermore, a digital product and service design consultancy. Previously, Hana led key projects for the likes of Google, Xbox and Nike, some of the world’s most innovative and disruptive brands. She is a strong believer in the power of tech for good. Alongside Go Jauntly, Hana has recently led a project with the University of Derby looking into the positive effects green space has on mental wellbeing.

Romy Rawlings Tim Strong Louise Seymour

Romy Rawlings

UK Business Development Manager
Vestre UK 

Romy Rawlings is a Chartered Landscape Architect and UK Business Development Manager for Vestre, a Norwegian manufacturer of street furniture. Romy’s career has been based in landscape design and consultancy, with the last 10 years spent predominantly with landscape manufacturers.

Romy is a Green Flag judge, Ambassador for the Landscape Institute, and Chair of the Institute’s Diversity & Inclusivity working group. Passionate about the impact of good design (and delivery) upon those using outdoor spaces, Romy strives to promote best practice in every aspect of her work.

Tim Strong 

Transport Innovation Director

Tim is Arcadis’ UK Lead for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV), Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and Electric Vehicles (EV). Tim joined Arcadis in January 2018 and has 19 years’ experience in transport technology research, consultancy, advisory services and software development, across a wide range of rapidly developing, disruptive, cutting edge technologies with a focus on the behavioural and policy implications of transport innovation.

Louise Seymour

Head of Development Projects
Leicester City Council 

Louise has worked in the public sector and quasi public sector for over 27 years, spending time in local authorities in the South of England and in the Midlands, as well as an 8 year period with an Urban Regeneration Company in Nottingham. As a qualified town planner, in her early career she worked in local authorities in both policy and development management roles. She has spent the last 16 years working in the East Midlands taking forward regeneration plans and implementing public sector led regeneration projects. In January 2012 she joined Leicester City Council as Head of Development Projects, establishing a team within the Council facilitating and delivering a range of capital development projects.  In this role she acts as client and lead officer on directly delivered Council projects and in other areas she works alongside development partners to deliver priority projects. Currently she is responsible for leading a team which has secured £25M funding to deliver the first phase of the City’s Waterside Regeneration, involving the acquisition of land interests, the preparation of CPO and the procurement of a development partner.

Shaun Fielding 

Regional Managing Director, East Midlands
Keepmoat Homes

Shaun Fielding is the Regional Managing Director for the East Midlands region of Keepmoat Homes.  Prior to joining Keepmoat Homes, Shaun spent over 13 years delivering affordable housing schemes for Registered Providers across the Midlands. Shaun joined Keepmoat Homes in 2003 and since then has had responsibility for identifying and delivering large scale housing led projects across the Midlands including Coventry, Gedling Colliery and Upton which collectively are delivering over 4,700 new homes valued at £230 million. 

With his extensive experience of working with public sector partners, and having spent five years as the Land and Partnership Director, Shaun was recently promoted to Regional Managing Director and, along with his team, continues to be hands-on to deliver a variety of successful regeneration schemes such as Leicester Waterside. 


Polly Billington 

UK 100

Polly leads UK 100, a highly ambitious network of local government leaders, which seeks to devise and implement plans for the transition to clean energy that are ambitious, cost effective and take the public and business with them. It supports decision-makers in UK towns, cities and rural areas in their transition to 100% clean energy by 2050. It is the only network for UK local authorities focused solely on climate and clean energy policy. UK100 connects local leaders to each other, to business and to national government, enabling them to showcase their achievements and learn from each other. It enables them to speak collectively on how to accelerate the transition to clean energy locally and nationally.

Polly Billington is a former BBC journalist who worked on the Today programme before becoming a special advisor to Ed Miliband. She was the media director for his successful bid in the 2010 Labour leadership election. She was the Party's parliamentary candidate for Thurrock at the 2015 general election and a Labour Party official.

Cllr Matthew Brown 

Cabinet Memberfor Social Justice, Inclusion and Community Engagement
Preston City Council

Cllr Matthew Brown is known as the creator of the 'Preston Model' of new ways to boost the local economy. Brown was inspired by the success of cooperative economies in Mondragón, Spain and Bologna, Italy, and felt that traditional city growth models, based on attracting inward investment for big infrastructure projects, could no longer be relied upon. Nor, under conditions of recession and austerity, could conventional tax-and-spend redistribution. Instead Preston, a small city with a population of 140,000 in England’s northwest Lancashire region, embarked on a remarkable community wealth building program, which aimed to ensure that the large amounts of money leaking out of the local economy were instead invested in local businesses and, in particular, cooperatives. Although still at an early stage, the strategy is generating interest from other regions in Britain and elsewhere in Europe. National politicians are starting to take note too, with Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell recently hailing Preston’s creativity and vision.


Amber Kenyon Adrian Lord Bernie Foulkes

Amber Kenyon

Graduate Consultant
Phil Jones Association

Amber graduated from Newcastle University in July 2016 with a degree in Geographic Information Science BSc (Hons). Within her degree Amber has worked with a variey of GIS software packages and specialises in the use of ArcGIS and data handling.

Outside of work, Amber extends her love of cartography and maps to a love for travel both globally and throughout the UK (via her walking boots). Amber also enjoys music, cooking and reading.

Adrian Lord 

Associate Director
Phil Jones Associates 

Adrian is a member of the DfT cycle proofing working group and is retained as infrastructure advisor to British Cycling. He acts as technical lead for all the work PJA carries out in the design of cycle infrastructure, and the development of cycle strategies.

Bernie Foulkes 

Board Director
LDA Design 

Bernie is a masterplanner, urban designer and landscape architect with nearly 30 years of experience in regeneration, development and environmental planning and design.

His specialisms are whole town and city visioning and large-scale masterplanning for major new urban growth areas. He has worked in most UK cities. He is also a specialist in urban regeneration, looking at how cities and towns adapt to change.

Professional milestones include Millbay Docks in Plymouth and Birmingham Eastside, and work on Yorkshire Forward Urban Renaissance in the noughties.

Bernie has led the growth of the masterplanning capability in LDA Design, and while we know so much more now about making projects happen, one thing has not changed: great projects always start with a great idea. Bernie can see that some of his teams more recent projects are shaping the new world, like Meridian Water, Serp and Molot in Moscow, and University College London East.

Neil Taylor Andy Salkeld Kelvin Campbell

Neil Taylor


Neil Taylor is Director at ITP and has over 14 years’ experience of transport planning and research project delivery.  Drawing on a degree in Human Geography, and deep understanding of social and behavioural research techniques, his professional interests include; transport policy and strategy, research, inclusive mobility for disabled and older people, active travel, and data-driven intelligent mobility.  Away from the office he can be found on a badminton court, riding his bike, or attempting ambitious DIY projects.  

Andy Salkeld

Cycling Lead, Planning, Development & Transportation 
Leicester City Council 

Andy has represented Leicester City Council on all aspects of cycling development since 2004. He recently developed the Cycle City Action Plan to lead on aspects of Infrastructure, Promotions, Training and Engagement. He volunteers for Motion Disabled, Leicester Wheels for All and as a Panel Judge at Leicester Comedy Festival. He also has a season ticket at Middlesbrough FC.

Kelvin Campbell

Chairman & Founder
Smart Urbanism

Kelvin was the founder of Urban Initiatives, an internationally recognised urban design practice based in London. Formerly Visiting Professor in Urban Design at the University of Westminster and now a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at the Bartlett, University College London, he is known as one of the leading figures in his field.

He has written government policy on urban design, published numerous books and articles on the subject, regularly speaks at conferences and has advised a number of cities on design matters.

He has passionate interest in the future of cities and towns, in particular the development of new thinking and processes which unlock good urbanism and effective civic leadership. In 2013 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Urban Design Awards for his contribution to the profession and was later awarded the 1851 Royal Commission Fellowship in the Built Environment.

Lennart Nout Jason Torrance

Lennart Nout

Urban Mobility Specialist

"My mission is to help cities get the most out of their streets. Streets are public spaces, their most valuable asset and they deserve to be designed as such."

Lennart is an urban mobility specialist who joined Mobycon in April 2016. He has over five years of experience in urban design, transport and land-use planning in both New Zealand and The Netherlands. 

He specializes in planning and design of bicycle networks and infrastructure in urban areas. Prior to joining Mobycon, he worked as a consultant in New Zealand, where he was involved in a wide range of projects involving bicycle network design, bicycle safety projects, street design, integrated transport planning, parking management, strategic mobility plans and public transport projects.

Jason Torrance

Clean Air Cities Director
UK 100

Bio to follow...


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Friday 13 April

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