MacKay Hannah

Scottish Engineering Conference 2019: Supporting Scotland's engineering and manufacturing industry


Jamie Hepburn MSP

Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Scottish Government

Jamie Hepburn was educated at Hyndland Secondary and the University of Glasgow, graduating with a degree in Politics and History.

He served as National Convener of the SNP's student and youth wings, was MSP for Central Scotland between 2007 and 2011 and has been MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth since 2011. He was appointed Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health in November 2014, Minister for Employability and Training in May 2016 and Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills in June 2018.


Carolyn Currie

Chief Executive, Women's Enterprise Scotland

Carolyn has enjoyed an extensive career at a senior level in financial services working with a variety of client groups from large corporates to the SME and not for profit sector. Roles undertaken include Head of Business Lending at RBS where she managed the multi-billion pound lending book and delivered new digital operating platforms. An advocate of continuous improvement, she achieved industry recognition and awards for work on new product development.

Now the Chief Executive of Women’s Enterprise Scotland, Carolyn has guided the development of global-leading standards for gender-equality in business advisor training and digital platform content. She has given evidence to Parliamentary Committees on economic matters and is a founding member of the UK Women’s Enterprise Policy Group. Carolyn has contributed policy papers to the World Economic Forum in Davos and is a member of the T20, the think tank of the G20.


Paul Sheerin

Chief Executive, Scottish Engineering

Paul Sheerin joined Scottish Engineering from Diamond Power Specialty Ltd in February 2018.

Originally from Thurso in the north of Scotland, Paul studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering at The University of Glasgow and joined Nuclear Electric in 1990 as part of the Sizewell ‘B’ project team. After a period of working based in the USA, he returned to Scotland and joined Polaroid at its Dumbarton base in 1996 and became Managing Director from 2005 until March 2017. Paul has been a keen volunteer and supporter of Young Enterprise Scotland, acting as Schools Business Adviser and Dunbartonshire Area Team Chair, and enjoys opportunities to promote Enterprise, Engineering and Manufacturing within schools.


Roy Henderson

Director, SP Technology

Roy Henderson is Co-Director of SP Technology (Automation & Robotics), having been with the company for over 30 years, initially starting out as the first ever apprentice before developing into many roles, including design engineer.  Prior to completing an MBO in 2017, Roy has witnessed many advances within the automation industry. 

Winners of Manufacturer of the Year, SP Technology are a team of diverse engineers who design, build and install bespoke automated machines for the enhancement of processes and productions in an ever growing range of industries.

The advances in technology and Industry 4.0 have meant that their machines can now interconnect and provide users with key data to allow for more productive manufacturing. Each machine is built to exact requirements and over the years systems have included high speed assembly, semi-automated processes, vision inspection machines, testing systems, robotic palletisers, materials handling, welding, packaging, automatic labelling machines and pad printing systems.


Dr Stephen Harwood

Lecturer - Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, University of Edinburgh Business School

Dr Stephen Harwood lectures in Operations Management and The Management of Technology at the University of Edinburgh.

Prior to being awarded an MBA (University of Aston) in 1987, he was an exploration geophysicist in the oil industry as well as a researcher into rock deformation in coal mines. Since then he has held numerous roles, from that of line manager, to change agent, business mentor and researcher, as well as director of a geotechnical engineering consultancy. Stephen’s experience spans a variety of sectors (eg aerospace, electronics and tourism) and organisational functions (eg Strategy, SCM, Marketing, Accounting and Operations). He published a book on ERP implementation practices (2003), which has been translated into Turkish and Chinese. His research is grounded in concepts from organisational cybernetics and systems thinking, with application to ‘messy’ situations, thus addressing such issues as strategy development, organisational change, technology uptake, operational resilience and sustainability. This research is presented in high quality journals, international conferences, book chapters and working papers.

Charles Hammond

Chief Executive Officer, Forth Ports Limited

Charles Hammond has been Chief Executive Officer of Forth Ports Limited (previously Forth Ports PLC) since 2001 and actively involved in the ports industry for over 25 years.

He is a Director of The United Kingdom Major Ports Group (Chairman from 2010 to 2014) and is currently a member of The Scottish Energy Advisory Board and a member of the Cabinet Secretary’s 2020 Vision for Health & Social Care.

He has also previously been Chairman of Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh, the economic development agency for the East of Scotland, and Chairman of SpaceandPeople Group, the retail, promotional and brand experience specialist.

Forth Ports owns and operates several ports on the east coast of Scotland and also London’s major port, The Port of Tilbury. It is the UK’s third largest ports grouping. It provides integrated handling and distribution services and solutions to a wide variety of customers through its ports, handling a wide range of commodities.

Forth Ports Limited is now in private ownership, and is 67% owned by Arcus, a major UK and European Infrastructure Fund, and 33% owned by Public Sector Pension Investment Board of Canada.

Career Highlights

• Privatisation of Forth Ports by IPO
• Development of Scottish Executive building of 350,000 sq ft
• Acquisition of Port of Tilbury (rights issue and bank funding)
• Largest ever planning consent in Edinburgh for Leith Docks Development
• Market capitalisation growth as PLC Chief Executive – entry into FTSE 250
• Successful takeover defence (2010)
• Implementation of agreed take private bid (2011)
• Significant EBITDA growth since take private through organic growth, acquisition and cost reductions
• Successful long term fundraising and refinancing of up to £575m in American Private Placement markets and Group of Banks

Sector Experience

Ports, logistics, distribution, property, energy/renewables, oil and gas, retail, general industrial, waste and recycling.


Billy Scott

Key Sector Manager: Engineering, Skills Development Scotland

Billy joined SDS in 2013 having spent the early part of his career in curriculum planning, delivery and business development in the Scottish College system.

He oversaw the launch of the Skills Investment Plan (SIP) for Scotland’s Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing sector in August 2014 and has been implementing the SIP’s action plan to address the skills issues and facilitating the Engineering Skills Leadership Group since then.

Billy has been leading on the development of the skills proposition for the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), working as part of a multidisciplinary collaboration team. He is a strong ambassador for work-based learning and is a champion of the Apprenticeship Family in Scotland – from Foundation Apprenticeships through to Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships.

Sector attractiveness and careers awareness for new entrants are high on the agenda, as is the requirement for upskilling and retraining the existing workforce for Industry 4.0.

Julia Brown

Portfolio Director - High Value Manufacturing and Health, Scottish Enterprise

Julia is responsible for setting and ensuring delivery of Scottish Enterprise’s strategies to support the economic growth and development of High Value Manufacturing sectors (Life Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Aerospace, Defence, Marine and Space) in Scotland. She is the lead for SE's engagement on Healthcare and NHS Scotland.

As a member of the SE leadership team she is responsible for a number of key stakeholder management relationships and projects. These include the development of the Edinburgh BioQuarter campus, Grangemouth area and National Manufacturing Institute. The role involves regular engagement with academic institutes, politicians, civil servants, local authorities and public sector partners with the primary focus being on helping Scotland’s business sector grow.

Julia is also a board member at the Knowledge Transfer Network. The KTN helps businesses get the best out of creativity, ideas and the latest discoveries to strengthen the UK economy and improve people's lives. The KTN is a network partner of Innovate UK.


Brian Machray

Head of Manufacturing and Industrials, AIB (GB)


Dr Remi Zante

Head of Strategic Planning, Advanced Research Forming Centre, University of Strathclyde

Dr Remi Zante’s background covers UK manufacturing, academic research and industrially focused applied research and he has extensive experience of industrial, academic collaboration.

With a Masters in Product Design Engineering from Strathclyde University, Remi worked for several years as a design engineer supporting the manufacture of automotive drive trains. He then completed a PhD in Mechatronics at the University of Strathclyde supported by industrial sponsorship from a local SME. Remi then joined the nascent AFRC in 2008 and has led the development and delivery of a wide variety of industrially led manufacturing development projects. As part of the AFRC since its earliest days he has seen the centre grow to 140 people and is now Head of Strategic Planning. He is leading the process of ensuring the AFRCs technical developments target industrial sector challenges and are focused on delivering impact into the UKs manufacturing industry.

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I was keen to get a better understanding/background to the budget and this was met. Well structured event with good and knowledgeable speakers.

Ewan Wylie, Malcolm Hollis LLP,
Fraser of Allander Scotland's Budget Briefing, 26 September 2017

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