Speakers

PROF MOHAMMED ARIF

Head of School, Architecture and Built Environment University of Wolverhampton and Director, Brownfield Research and Innovation Centre

Prof Mohammed Arif is the Head of School for Architecture and Built Environment and a Professor of Sustainability and Construction Futures at the University of Wolverhampton in the UK. He started his career for Walt Disney World in project management in Florida. He then moved to academia and since then has worked in the university sector in USA, UAE, and the UK. He has two areas of research interest. The first one is offsite construction. Prof Arif has been doing research in this area for more than 20 year. Currently, he is the coordinator for W121 which is an international working commission looking at future of offsite research and applications in the world. His other area of research is sustainability. He has also worked in the area of process and productivity management as well. Over his career that spans more than 2 decades published extensively in the area of sustainability and green building guidelines. He has more than 110 refereed articles to his credit published in top journals and conferences. He has also brought in millions of pounds in research funding and has supervised 22 PhD students to completion. His research has been funded by a range of sources such as QNRF, Innovate UK, Highways England, European Union and Higher Education Academy. For his contributions in research he was recently awarded with Hind Rattan (Jewel of India) award. Prior to that he has received awards for his research from Government of Salengor, Malaysia for his contributions in the area of energy efficient affordable housing. 

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HELEN BENNETT

Technical Team Leader, The Coal Authority

Helen studied Applied and Environmental Geology at the University of Leicester with research and work in the fields of mineral exploration, environmental monitoring and the socio-economic challenges of resource extraction.

 

Helen joined the Coal Authority in 2014 and spent three years managing permit applications for works which intersected or disturbed the Coal Authority’s sub-surface property. Now leading on consultancy work in the Authority’s Development team, with a focus on safe and sustainable development on the coal field.

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PAUL GASCOINE

Head of Urban Regeneration, Homes England

Paul has 16 years of property development experience working across the public sector having worked at English Partnership, The Homes and Communities Agency and now Homes England. As a Senior project manager, he delivered brownfield regeneration schemes across the Midlands including projects in the Black Country and more recently in North Staffordshire. As a result, Paul has gained significant experience of working in partnership to overcome the issues surrounding difficult ground conditions. Prior to his public sector roles, he gained extensive commercial experience from working in the Automotive industry for Bentley Motor cars.

More recently Paul has been responsible for sourcing new business and managing significant funding programmes on behalf of Homes England including the Housing Infrastructure fund designed to unlock housing growth through the provision of investment into infrastructure and ground conditions. Paul has a degree in Civil Engineering and an MSc in Urban Regeneration and Development.

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VICTORIA LEESAM

Senior Partnership and Business Manager, Homes England

Victoria has been working in the field of new build development for 18 years. Victoria has a wealth of development experience in the housing sector. She started delivering affordable homes for Aster Group covering the South West region. She joined a disability charity in Hampshire as Executive Director linking Care Services and New homes for independent living. She led a team to Win the Housing Design Awards 2015, bringing together a pan disability group of individuals who co-designed independent living in an Urban setting. The following year she was also highly commended for a master plan to extend a rural village, doubling its size in a cohesive manner with the support of the whole community.

 

Victoria joined Homes England in 2018 working in the field of Investment supporting SMEs applying for the Home Building Fund loan finance. Victoria is currently Cornwall’s key Partnership manager taking the lead delivery role to enable and influence the market in an innovative way to make more homes happen.

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DR PAUL NATHANAIL

Technical Director - Contaminated Land, GHD

Dr Paul Nathanail took up his role as Technical Director of Contamination Assessment and Remediation with GHD in July. GHD is one of the world's leading professional services companies operating in the global market sectors of water, energy and resources, environment, property and buildings, and transportation. 

 

Paul is excited to be working with a team of over 10,000 colleagues across the world – One GHD!  He has already worked on projects in Australia, Middle East, Ireland and the West Indies – as well as the Lake District, Northumberland and Fulham!  He has also been working to help organisations understand and better manage their liabilities from PFAS – the forever chemicals.

He has recently been working on how to ensure innovative remediation integrates with sustainable remediation and maintains a social licence to operate.  He chaired the ISO working group that wrote BS ISO 18504:2017 and has published on operating windows and regularly teaches on remediation in British universities and audiences around the world – though not in person for the past few months.

Paul currently chairs the National Brownfield Forum and is deputy chair of the board of directors of SILC Register.  He is a director of CABERNET and chairs his local neighbourhood forum. 

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DONNA PICKERSGILL

Senior Regeneration Officer, City of Wolverhampton Council

Donna has over 13 years experience of working in the property industry, all of which in regeneration. She has worked for both public and private sectors, including WMCA, Sandwell’s former URC RegenCo, GVA Grimley (now Avison Young) and more recently spent 8 years at CBRE working as part of the Regeneration and Development Advisory Team based in Birmingham, advising a significant number of Local Authority clients. A chartered Planning and Development Surveyor, Donna’s experience includes feasibility and options analysis, development appraisals and viability, commercial input into the masterplanning process, route to market advice, site marketing and developer procurement, as well as preparing and reviewing bids for public sector funding.

 

Donna has recently joined City of Wolverhampton Council’s Development Team and is currently working on a number of brownfield residential and commercial sites within the City Centre. She is developing options and strategies to ensure the sites are ready for marketing and development ready to maximise the opportunity for Wolverhampton and allow it to achieve its true potential.

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MARK SCHNEIDER

Manager, Brownfield Research and Innovation Centre

Mark Schneider has 23 years of experience in the area of business support and technology transfer, particularly in the Higher Education sector. Mark also spent a number of years working in Luxembourg and Brussels delivering and managing European networks focused on SME support and improving the business focused activities of European universities. More recently, he set up a consultancy company to support the development of economic links between the West Midlands and China. He has a strong environment background, having worked in both the waste and water industries. He has a degree in geology and MScs in Mining Geology and Environment Monitoring and Assessment.

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PATRICIA WILLOUGHBY

Head of Policy - Housing and Regeneration, West Midlands Combined Authority

Pat Willoughby has extensive experience working in strategic planning, housing and regeneration for a variety of public and private sector organisations.  She was a planning director of David Lock Associates leading multi-disciplinary teams in the preparation of master plans, development frameworks and strategic planning strategies.  As planning partner at Wei Yang & Partners, she was the principal author on their shortlisted submission for the Wolfson Prize on garden cities.  Most recently, she led the local authority and LEP partnership preparing the strategic growth plan for Leicester & Leicestershire.  At the West Midlands Combined authority, she works with local authorities and LEPS to support the delivery of new homes and jobs.  Place-making and inclusive growth lie at the heart of this work and remediating and re-using brownfield land is critical to its success.

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