Some of the best known names from the region’s business and professional community have been lined up to judge the inaugural Birmingham Post Business Awards.
The panel of five judges will decide the winners of 11 categories representing the broad range of business excellence in the West Midlands who will then be announced at a glittering awards night at the ICC in Birmingham on September 20.
Joining Birmingham Post editor Alun Thorne – who will chair the judging panel – will be one of his predecessors Fiona Alexander, leading economist Professor David Bailey, the new head of the Birmingham Law Society Dean Parnell and head of policy at the Birmingham and Solihull Chamber of Commerce Katie Teasdale.
Fiona Alexander spent more than 20 years in the media where she worked in a variety of roles from assistant editor of MATCH to editor of the Sunday Mercury before she became the first female editor of the Birmingham Post.
In 2006 she left the paper to become Director of Communications at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust where her portfolio ranges from patient and public involvement to GP liaison as well as playing a key role in managing the hugely challenging ‘Super Hospital’ project. In 2002 she graduated from the University of Central England with a Chartered Institute of Marketing Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing and she is a development trustee at Birmingham Hippodrome theatre.
“This has been quite a year for many organisations – ourselves and the Birmingham Post included – and I am really looking forward to celebrating those businesses in the region that stood up to the challenges thrown at them and continued to prosper,” she said.
Professor David Bailey has worked at Coventry University Business School since May 2009, having previously been director of the Birmingham Business School.
Beyond the university, Prof Bailey is an active media commentator, a business blogger at birminghampost.net, and is chair of the Regional Studies Association.
Prof Bailey played a key role in helping the region through the recession, by advocating support for the auto industry – most notably in making the case for auto scrappage (earning him the nickname ‘Professor Scrappage’), and in his calls for institutional capacity to deal with downturns and closures, which in turn contributed to the creation of regional task forces across England.
Most recently he has led calls for reform to takeover rules before and after the Kraft takeover of Cadbury.
He said: “I’m delighted to be part of the panel for the business awards and am excited by the opportunity to see what great firms we have in the Midlands.
‘‘We don’t highlight or praise our region’s business success enough – this is a great way to do just that.”
Dean Parnell is President of Birmingham Law Society, chair of the organisation’s Dispute Resolution Committee and a partner at West Midlands law firm Sydney Mitchell.
Between 1995 and 2000 Dean worked at Hammond Suddards (now known as Hammonds) and before that he worked at Pinsent Curtis Biddle (Pinsent Masons) before taking up a partnership role with Sydney Mitchell.
He specialises in complex high value commercial disputes, as well as injunctive relief.
He is a qualified mediator (having undertaken more than 45 commercial mediations) and he is able to act as a Supervising Solicitor in relation to Search Orders.
“In an economic downturn it’s more important than ever to recognise and celebrate the achievements of the region’s business community,” said Mr Purnell. “I am delighted that the Post is championing business with these awards, and it is a privilege to be involved with the judging.”
Katie Teasdale has worked at the chamber for the past three years having graduated from Birmingham University in 2006.
Having started as a policy advisor looking after initiatives such as the chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey, Ms Teasdale was made a senior policy advisor after a year before last summer being appointed as head of policy.
Her role now involves developing departmental strategy as well as lobbying and campaigning on behalf of the chamber’s members.
Birmingham Post editor Alun Thorne said he was delighted with the calibre of the judging panel.
He said: “We launched this event with a view to making them the premier business awards in the region and I think you will have to go a long way to find a judging panel with the kind of expertise offered by those who will be casting their eyes over the entries for the Birmingham Post Business Awards.”