Some of the best known names from the region’s business and professional community have been lined up as judges for the second Birmingham Post Business Awards.

The panel of five independent judges plus the Birmingham Post editor Alun Thorne as chair will decide the winners of 11 categories who will then be announced at a glittering awards night at the ICC in Birmingham on October 12.

Joining Alun on the judging panel will be former Post editor Fiona Alexander and leading economist and Post blogger Professor David Bailey – both of whom were judges last year – the new head of Business Birmingham, Marketing Birmingham’s inward investment arm, Wouter Schuitemaker, AE Harris chairman Russell Luckock and the head of Birmingham Science Park Aston, Dr David Hardman.

Fiona Alexander: Ms Alexander joined the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust as director of communications following 20 years in the media, most recently as editor of the the Birmingham Post when it was still a daily broadsheet.

As well as communications, her current portfolio also includes marketing and patient and public involvement.

Prior to this she was business development director (Midlands) for Trinity Mirror plc, the largest publisher in Europe; editor of the Sunday Mercury; editor of the Leicestershire Herald and Post newspaper series; assistant editor of MATCH football magazine and reporter on the Reading Chronicle.

In 2002 Fiona graduated from the University of Central England with a Chartered Institute of Marketing Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing. She is a Trustee of the Birmingham Hippodrome theatre and the National Institute of Conductive Education.

Professor David Bailey: 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 Birmingham Post blogger, 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.

A collection of his and John Clancy’s Birmingham Post blogs were recently published in a book called Blogs From The Blackstuff.

Dr David Hardman: Dr David Hardman is chief executive officer of Birmingham Science Park Aston (BSPA). Since arriving in late 2008 he has led the rebranding of the park and developed and led the implementation of a new strategy of integrating BSPA’s activities into Birmingham’s economic development plans, generating a new business support infrastructure directed at the low carbon economy covering innovation in ICT and clean technologies products and services.

As a PhD microbiologist, his research interests were directed towards the application of microbes in what is now called clean technology and as part of this work he co-founded a start-up biotech venture based on the application of biocatalysts to the paper industry.

Dr Hardman spent 10 years based in Cambridge leading the commercial development of the Babraham Research Campus focused on support for healthcare and biotech translation and bio-ventures and was awarded an MBE for services to science in 2009.

In Birmingham the focus is on ICT, digital media and clean technologies, reflecting the strengths of the city region and in embracing the opportunities offered by the latest ICT collaboration platforms he has been driving the concept of the “science park without walls” bring in global support to drive Birmingham’s knowledge economy.

Russell Luckock: Russell Luckock is one of the best known industrialists in the city where he has built his reputation at the helm of pressings firm A E Harris in the Jewellery Quarter.

The company was founded by Mr Luckock’s great-grandfather not far from where it stands today and Mr Luckock has been in charge of the firm for more than five decades since he was 21-years old.

The company has battled through ten recessions with Mr Luckock at the helm for a number of them, and while the firm has had to fight hard in recent years against competition from the Far East, the business remains in rude health having weathered the most recent downturn, which he puts down to strong cost management.

As well as being a regular contributor to the Birmingham Post, Mr Luckock can often be seen on Sky sharing his expert views on business.

Wouter Schuitemaker: Wouter Schuitemaker joined Business Birmingham as Investment Director in January 2011. Prior to joining, Wouter was responsible for leading operations for the Asia Pacific region at Think London, the official foreign direct investment agency for the capital.

As Head of Asia Pacific, Wouter was responsible for managing overseas offices in India and China as well as a delivery team in London. The Asia Pacific region constitutes the largest number of investments of any region into London.

During Wouter’s term as Head of Sales for the region, notable projects include high profile investments by financial institutions such as China International Capital Corporation, China Merchants Bank and Religare Securities, and strong investment from ICT companies including; Wipro Infotech, Panasonic, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and the relocation of Canon Europe’s headquarters from Amsterdam.

The promotion of the London 2012 Olympics has also been a significant focus of Wouter’s work in recent years, with clients such as Samsung Electronics, Crystal Digital and Australian architects BVN making the decision to invest in London in order to capitalise on the opportunities surrounding the Games.

Prior to joining Think London, Wouter spent 10 years in the media communications and marketing industry in Japan. Former posts include INTAGE Inc., Japan’s largest Market Research company, where Wouter was International Account Director for; P&G, Tesco, Gillette and Unilever.

Wouter first developed his international career at leading brand consultancies Enterprise IG (WPP Group) and Interbrand (Omnicom Group) in Tokyo as a Corporate Identity Consultant working with clients including Hitachi, Nissan and Sharp among others.

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