Keith Aitken, Journalist & Broadcaster (Master of Ceremonies)

Keith Aitken is a writer and broadcaster. Born and educated in Edinburgh, he spent 15 years in senior editorial posts at the Scottish and Fleet Street offices of the Scotsman. Starting as a graduate trainee, he rose swiftly to be, in succession, parliamentary correspondent, labour correspondent, industrial editor, economics editor and chief leader writer.

Since turning freelance in 1995, Keith has been a columnist for The Scotsman, the Herald, Holyrood Magazine and Scotland on Sunday. He currently writes a long-running weekly column in the Scottish Daily Express, for which he also compiles a hugely popular weekly prize crossword and reviews opera.

He is known to radio listeners as a presenter of such long-running programmes as BBC Scotland’s Head Lines and Newsweek Scotland, and has written and presented numerous documentary programmes and series for Radio Scotland, Radio Four, and the BBC World Service.


Nick Shields, Director, Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service

Nick Shields has 30 years’ experience working in both SME and multinational manufacturing businesses such as Polaroid and Digital Equipment Corporation and smaller Scottish engineering businesses.

Nick’s experience has been gained through senior management roles in areas such as: operations management of high volume FMCG responsible for restructuring the global manufacturing operation across US, UK and Far East; engineering manager in a capital equipment manufacturer responsible for new product development and product development within the electronics industry.

Nick was appointed Director of SMAS in June 2011. SMAS work directly with manufacturing firms to increase productivity through targeted improvement projects which deliver quantifiable change whilst embedding a culture of change. With the demand to ever increase business productivity accelerating, the digital age offers great opportunities to manufacturing business, enhancing their competitive edge and driving new value streams.


Richard Hill, Head of Manufacturing and Automotive, Natwest

Richard Hill is Head of Automotive and Manufacturing at NatWest, responsible for developing strategic partnerships with customers and driving sector growth.

He is a prominent figurehead in industry, representing the RBS Group and the banking sector on key bodies such as the UK Automotive Council, Innovate UK and The ScaleUp Institute, and provides thought leadership across a number of channels including academia, trade and Government.

Richard is passionate about the critical need for a globally competitive manufacturing base. Graduating in Business Studies, his career has revolved around the Auto and Manufacturing sectors.

He joined the RBS Group in 2005 as Head of Sales at Lombard Vehicle Management; and subsequently led the Automotive Corporate Sectors team from 2010.  Prior to this, he headed up Group Sales for Manheim Europe, the world’s largest provider of vehicle remarketing solutions.  He has also held various senior sales and marketing positions with BMW Financial Services Group and Rover Group.


Alan Norbury – Industrial CTO, Siemens PLC

Alan Norbury is the CTO for Siemens UK industrial activities – a leading global supplier of industrial plant and software, manufacturing automation and drive technologies to industrial customers across the UK and Ireland.

Alan started his career as an apprentice in Siemens Congleton in 1978 moving into the role of Technical Specialist for Siemens automation and low voltage products.

In 1992 Alan spent time in Germany acting as Global Account Manager for key accounts such as Philip Morris & ICI.

He later became the UK Product Specialist for a number of advanced automation technologies, developing into the role of Applications Specialist primarily focusing on the UK OEM market.

Alan established a team of Application Specialists in 1997, a team of pre-sales technical consultants positioned across UK and Ireland their main focus being to provide advice on the best use of Siemens Industrial technologies to optimise processes, reduce costs and increase productivity.

Since 2011 Alan has worked closely with the High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centres.

He is now Siemens Industrial CTO dedicating his time to developing leading technology innovation to benefit Siemens UK manufacturing facilities and Siemens industrial customers.

Alan is a regular Industry 4.0 keynote speaker, sits on the IET Design and Production Sector Executive Board, Digital4Industry Leadership Group, Northern Robotics Network Advisory Board and the LCR4.0 Advisory Board.


Sarah Jardine, Senior Director of Manufacturing, Optos Plc

Sarah is Senior Director of Manufacturing at Optos Plc, a UK based company which designs, develops and manufactures its core ultra-widefield retinal imaging devices.  She is responsible for providing leadership and direction for staff in the manufacturing facility and has a strong understanding of cGMP and LEAN philosophies and methodologies.

Sarah holds a BSc(Hons) in Laser Physics and Optoelectronics and an MSc in Laser Engineering. Having started her career as a Laser Engineer with Thales Optronics, she joined Optos as a Senior Optical Engineer in January 2000 and  progressed through  Operations and R&D teams to her current role. Sarah is also currently the Chairperson of the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Board.

People are at the heart of how Sarah runs her manufacturing division and she has managed to create an environment where people have fun and are engaged, open and participative.


Tom Dawes, CEO, Valuechain Technologies Ltd 

Tom Dawes is a self-confessed ‘Recovering Manufacturer’; after studying for a PhD in Supply Chain Collaboration Technologies, Tom faced a crossroads between entering the Technology or Manufacturing sectors. He chose Manufacturing, but after several successful years as an MD within the Aerospace treatments industry, the global downturn in this sector caused him to rethink.

Now armed with in-depth industry insight, Tom formed Valuechain, a provider of Smart Manufacturing Software. He has developed a clear vision of how companies will collaborate in the future as integrated Valuechain’s and the importance of technology to improve productivity, unlock collaboration and build intelligence.


Dr Ali Ziaee Bigdeli, Senior Research Fellow, The Advanced Services Group 

Dr Bigdeli is a Senior Research Fellow at The Advanced Services Group, the centre of excellence in research and practice on servitization and advanced services within Aston Business School, Aston University.

His interests lie in the organisational change and business model innovation brought about when organisations move towards providing capabilities rather than just selling products on a transactional basis. In the past two years, he has been extensively engaged with both multinational and small/medium sized manufacturing firms in order to understand servitization in practice, and help the acceleration of the adoption and implementation of advanced services.


Wayne Thomson, Production Engineering Manager, TechnipFMC

Wayne Thomson is a Production Engineering Manager at TechnipFMC’s Dunfermline facility. TechnipFMC is a global leader in oil and gas projects, technologies, systems and services.

In his current role, Wayne has responsibility for the creation and deployment of the Dunfermline site’s process technology roadmap. He is also a representative on the TechnipFMC Global Production Engineering Council and is the global subject matter expert on the company’s production engineering process.

Wayne has worked in a production environment for over 20 years in various roles and holds apprenticeships in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and Management. He also holds an MSc in Manufacturing Leadership from Lancaster University.

Throughout his career, Wayne has developed an in-depth understanding of production processes and systems in the high-value manufacturing sector. Wayne has a focus on process technology and innovation, which he feels is one of the key areas often overlooked today but believes will largely contribute to sustained success and growth in today’s manufacturing Industry.

Wayne has become involved in the definition of what Industry 4.0 means for TechnipFMC’s Dunfermline facility through his work on the creation of the company’s process technology roadmap. He has also been involved in the development of Scotland’s Industry 4.0 diagnostic tool and is leading the piloting of the diagnostic tool and roadmap within TechnipFMC in Dunfermline.


Linda Hanna, Managing Director, Strategy and Sectors, Scottish Enterprise

Linda Hanna oversees Scottish Enterprise’s evidence gathering, planning and prioritisation in response to both the Government’s Economic Strategy and industry strategies. This helps determine delivery plans to support the growth of opportunities where Scotland has capability and competitive advantages within the global marketplace. These include emerging sub sector opportunities such as Advanced Manufacturing, Sub Sea, Fintech and Data Science.

With over 25 years’ economic development experience, Linda has been part of the Scottish Enterprise team since 1991. Her previous roles have included leading the SE approach to support start-up and growth businesses in Scotland, identifying how to help businesses achieve and accelerate sustainable growth and sector-specific work such as aerospace and food and drink.

Linda works closely with many key partners in public sector agencies as well as through her board membership of Remarkable.

Tim A. Clark, 
Industry Solution Specialist, SAS UK & Ireland

Tim joined SAS UK in the middle of 2015 as an Industry Solution Specialist for the commercial Retail & Manufacturing team. In 2016, Tim became the leader for the Manufacturing & CPG sector for the UK & Ireland. Having worked in the software solution business for over 15 years, he brings a wealth of knowledge from his B2B industry experience helping clients to unlock value in their business and further help grow the SAS business.

Prior to joining the company, Tim worked at IBM as an Industry Solution Specialist focused on the B2B and Manufacturing markets for eCommerce, Order Management and Supply Chain optimisation. Over the years Tim has worked in many different markets and large organisations like Micros-Oracle and Torex Retail but started his professional career at Rolls Royce aerospace (civil) as an Advanced Mechanical Design Engineer. This really was ‘rocket science’.

Tim holds a BEng (hons) in Mechanical Engineering and HND in applied Physics from Sheffield Hallam University and is focused on delivering business value buy understanding the heart of your problems.


Dr David Stewart, Manager of Circular Economy and Digital Manufacturing, High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute 

Dr. David Stewart is the Manager of Circular Economy and Digital Manufacturing for the High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute (HSSMI) in Scotland. HSSMI are an independent research and innovation institute that collaborates with manufacturers, academic institutes and solution providers to deploy innovative technologies, tools and methods to support the UK manufacturing sector.

He is responsible for growing the HSSMI business unit and team in Scotland through the development and delivery of cross sectoral projects. He joined the organisation 4 years ago and has held various positions within the company including overall manager for HSSMI’s Circular Value Chains, Manufacturing New Technologies and Data Analytics teams in London. David has a PhD in Remanufacture and Reverse Logistics and a First class BSc (hons) degree in Product Design, both from University of Strathclyde. He has been responsible for the successful delivery of a number of Circular Economy, Electric vehicle and industry 4.0 based projects (both commercial and R&D) and is currently leading the development of various business maturity and assessment tools, including: Scottish Enterprise’s Industry 4.0 tool, HSSMI Supply Chain Readiness Level (SCRL) and HSSMI Remanufacturing Readiness Level tools. David’s other industrial experience includes working as a consultant at engineering private equity firm, Clyde Blowers Capital (CBC) in East Kilbride, in which he worked on the development of business operating models for implementing into CBC’s acquired portfolio companies. He also has experience in the life sciences sector, working as a design engineer at Invitrogen (now Thermofisher) in Inchinnan.


John Scott, Engineering Director – New Technology, Johnson & Johnson

John has worked for J&J for the last 12 years based at their Inverness facility, the world’s largest blood glucose monitoring manufacturing site. John’s current role is Engineering Director – New Technology where he is responsible for the development and implementation of new manufacturing techniques (whether for an existing product or new products coming through the R&D product cycle).

John has a team of engineers based in Inverness and in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico who manage product & process development; machine specification; project management and equipment validation. John has an engineering degree from Napier University in Edinburgh and is a fellow of both the IMechE and the IET.


Paul Richardson, Operations Manager, Brand Rex

Paul is the Operations Manager at Brand-Rex a Leviton company, which manufactures data network cabling systems. Fast and reliable internet access has become an essential service — sometimes critical service — and Brand-Rex provides the network infrastructure that keeps people connected. This includes optical fibre and category-rated copper cabling systems.

Paul is responsible for manufacturing and logistics in both a make to stock and make to order high volume manufacturing environment, with customer service at the forefront of the business ethos.

Paul has over 30 years’ experience within various operational environments in the telecommunications and cabling industry, starting as a maintenance engineering apprentice initially with Standard Telephones & Cables where he also held a variety of maintenance and process engineering roles. Following this, he joined Pirelli where after two years of facilitating the implementation of a Lean (TPM) improvement programme he went on to manage the site Engineering and Maintenance teams. He completed his time spent with Pirelli by managing the movement and integration of production processes from a facility in South Wales, to factories in the South of England and Italy.

In 2002, he joined Brand-Rex Ltd where he has held a mixture of both production and engineering roles, until 2005 when, as Program Manager, he oversaw a two year £7M investment to merge two sites into one, in order to increase capacity and efficiency in the production facility. Currently in his role as Operations Manager, he is responsible for a team of circa 130 people and is leading the Operational Excellence programme which is delivering efficiency and productivity improvements aligned to the business performance and growth.