MKBAA Reveals 2016 Judging Panel

With more than 100 entries for this year’s Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards (MKBAA), that’s almost double last year’s total entries, the expert panel of judges have already started the marking process to determine a shortlist for MKBAA 2016.

Thought-leaders from finance to social enterprises, engineers to CEOs, are combining their years of experience to select the very best in MK business.

Sir John Southby Bt, Head of Judging MKBAA 2016

Having graduated and trained as an electrical distribution engineer, and holding various engineering posts throughout the East Midlands, Sir John Southby Bt came to Milton Keynes in 1991 as District Manager. He quickly became involved in the business community. This led to the formation of the Large Employers Association (LEA) which he chaired until 1998. The LEA represented large businesses both locally and internationally, and has now evolved into Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership (MKBLP).

Whilst also being involved with Rotary International, both in Milton Keynes and at a wider district level, Sir John continues to support MKBLP and attends as many events as possible. Throughout his time in Milton Keynes Sir John has been committed to supporting businesses of all sizes and is delighted to be able to help recognise their achievements with the Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards. 

Jon Corbett, Director, Corporate Banking, Barclays 

Jon joined Barclays, Milton Keynes in 1987 and has worked across a variety of roles ever since. Predominantly Jon’s career has been within the corporate environment where he has led various teams across the Northern Home Counties and South-Midlands and more recently for the Northampton and Milton Keynes team as Head of Larger Corporate Banking. 

An avid sports fan Jon is a passionate Derby County supporter whilst he also played football to a semi-professional level up until his retirement and is also a UEFA B Qualified football coach. More recently Jon has become a committed runner, having completed several marathons.

Julia Upton, Chief Executive, MK Community Foundation

Julia is Chief Executive of the MK Community Foundation, an independent charity working for and at the heart of Milton Keynes. Julia leads a team that works to connect people and resources to projects and ideas to create positive change and long term solutions for the community. Julia’s strategic role includes developing philanthropy, community engagement, leadership and creating opportunities for developing the property portfolio. The Community Foundation’s work of providing grants and subsidised rents benefitted the local community by £1.6M in the last financial year.

Originally from the West Country, Julia previously worked in Somerset and then London prior to moving to Milton Keynes. She spent many years in education, including as Head Teacher and has worked within a number of deprived communities. She has also been involved in a number of arts organisations and initiatives. 

Steve Hill, Chief Executive Officer, Open University

Steve is Chief Executive Officer of the Open University and is responsible for driving the implementation and development of the University’s international strategy. Leading the Business Development Unit, Steve provides commercial insight to grow UK business-to-business activity and manage relationships with both private and public sector organisations and customers. Steve is also responsible for building and improving communication channels and relationships with local and international audiences to deliver financially viable and strategic partnerships.

Steve started his career at National Westminster Bank, where he worked for 11 years in corporate banking and held various senior management positions. He joined Lipper, a Reuters company as Head of EMEA, Business Development and after eight years became their Global Head of Commercial and Business Management. During his time at Reuters he grew the multi-million pound business Lipper, and developed an international business development and client services team covering Europe, Asia and the US. 

Dr Gordon Mellor, Director, University Campus Milton Keynes

Dr Gordon Mellor is the Director of University Campus Milton Keynes, having formerly led the University of Bedfordshire’s Business School. He started his academic career as a historian- philosopher with roots in education and sport. He has lectured on a broad range of topics both nationally and internationally. As an Olympic scholar he was closely involved in the media coverage of the London Olympic Games in 2012. He has also written and presented on the development of sporting clubs and field sports between 1760 and 1914. A champion of the student experience, Gordon is an advocate of high quality, vocationally relevant and accessible higher education provision.  

The awards, which will return for the third consecutive year on 10 March 2016, are organised by MKBLP, in collaboration with full service marketing agency Interdirect and event management experts Evolution Live.