Meet the judges

THIS year s panel of judges is once again chaired by John Bridge OBE, chief executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, whose previous working life involved managing large and medium-sized businesses in Cambridgeshire and beyond. He lives in Great S

THIS year's panel of judges is once again chaired by John Bridge OBE, chief executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, whose previous working life involved managing large and medium-sized businesses in Cambridgeshire and beyond. He lives in Great Stukeley.

The panel of judges, many of whom return to the task after several years, is expected to include:

John Bridge has been chief executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce since 2004. He was previously managing director of C W Bridge (Holdings) Ltd, as well as being an extremely accomplished and highly experienced logistics, general management, business planning, financial management and human resource consultant through his Bridge Distribution Services company.

Until March 2002, John headed up the strategic development function for City Logistics. He is also a director of Cambridgeshire Business Limited, Cambridgeshire Horizons Ltd, the Greater Cambridge Partnership and Peterborough Urban Regeneration Company Ltd, chairman of the Greater Peterborough Partnership and East of England Chambers of Commerce Ltd, the East of England Business Group and EERA Regional Planning Panel, vice-chairman of governors of Kimbolton School and director/trustee of the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation.


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John became an OBE in 1997

Stan Taylor was born in Huntingdonshire and has spent most of his working life in and around the area, apart from a period developing companies in Lancashire.

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Following a number of sales, marketing and management jobs in a wide variety of industries in the private and public sectors, Stan's experience in sales and networking resulted in his becoming an integral part of the local business community.

Stan's role as operational sales manager at Inside Business magazine made him the perfect choice for the position of external relations manager with the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, where he has worked for the last four years. Over the same period he has been chairman of the Huntingdon and District Sea Scouts corps, and is a trustee of the Multiple Sclerosis Centre, in Hartford.

Sarah Black, who heads the commercial team of nine managers and support staff at HSBC's Huntingdonshire and Bedford Commercial Centres, is a banking professional with 18 years' experience in front-line leadership, relationship management and lending roles.

After studying at Cambridge, Sarah joined HSBC where she has held various roles in London, Gloucestershire, Surrey and Birmingham before taking the position as Head of Commercial in Bedford.

As well as leading the bank's team of professional business experts, Sarah has overall responsibility for the bank's relationships, strategies and involvement with the local business community. This will be her first year as a judge.

Graham Guy, who retired in 2005, was voted Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Person of the Year in 2004. Graham was so delighted to receive this prestigious award that he agreed to become a judge for subsequent awards.

Before his retirement he was senior vice-president and managing director of Acushnet Europe, part of the largest golf company in the world, Acushnet Company, with total sales exceeding $1.2bn. Graham joined Acushnet Europe, based in St Ives, in 1977 as financial director before being promoted to MD in 1980.

He was responsible for setting up company operations in major golf markets outside North America. He is also a Chartered Management Accountant.

Mike Dearlove is managing director and co-founder of EACS, Kimbolton-based IT solutions and services company.

Mike was educated locally and was The Hunts Post Business Person of the Year in 2005. He also led EACS to Employer of the Year in both 2004 and 2005 in addition to a string of other local and national information technology and business awards.

This will be Mike's third year as a judge.

Dominic O'Sullivan is a business adviser with Business Link East, who was brought up in Huntingdon, educated in the region, and has always worked for locally-based organisations - even during a spell working in France. Most of Dominic's business life has been spent working for small and medium enterprises, with senior roles ranging from business development (sales and marketing) through to operational management.

Dominic's many years of hands-on experience in business, manufacturing, engineering and construction are boosted by his strong and relevant academic background, including a degree in business law and a subsequent MBA degree.

It will be his first year as a judge.

Jennifer Horn has been involved in the judging of The Hunts Post Business Awards for the last four years and is managing director of Index Instruments Limited and Optical Activity Limited, two companies that have been based in Ramsey since 1978.

These companies specialise in the design, development and manufacture of scientific instruments, polarimeters and refractometers, which are used by research and quality control laboratories throughout the world and, on a smaller scale, by local micro-breweries, home jam makers or honey producers.

Optical Activity Ltd and Index Instruments Ltd use as many local companies as possible to carry out subcontract manufacture work on their products and to provide components.

Graham Buck is director of training for BlueTree Specific Skills and has always been fascinated by how things work and how to make them work better.

From an early age he was always trying to improve things. This passion has translated into Graham's speciality - helping businesses achieve growth and excellence in their chosen fields. Working with innovative organisations and getting them focused on being the best they can possibly be is what gets Graham out of bed in the mornings.

He is a long-standing and sometime committee member of the Huntingdonshire Business Network. His company recently received ISO 9001-2000 accreditation, a quality management standard rarely earned by smaller businesses. BlueTree has also achieved Investor in People status since 2001.

Paul Hodson is local adviser manager for Business Link East, running a team of nine business advisers covering Huntingdonshire, Peterborough and Cambridge.

Before the creation of Business Link East in April last year he was a business adviser with Business Link for Cambridgeshire, for the previous four years.

He was previously a manager at Barclays' regional office in Histon, specialising in business turnaround. Paul lives in Great Gidding and is a member of Great & Little Gidding Parish Council.

Peter Mulhall worked in the retail sector until 1966. He managed a number of businesses as a retail operations executive in the fashion sector.

Since then he has been a business adviser, is a member of the Institute of Business Consulting and has worked on a large number of successful business development projects. In the late 1990s he was a business adviser with Peterborough Enterprise Programme, advising pre-start and new businesses. He has worked with Business Link as an adviser since 1997 and until two years ago was an Investors in People assessor.

Peter has worked successfully with a range of business managers as a business coach and mentor. A major element of his work has involved conducting business analysis and diagnostics with clients.

Brian Leeming is a former Downing Street business adviser, planting the seed for what was to become Business Link.

An Oxford natural sciences adviser, he began his career working in industrial research. This was followed by jobs in technical sales, customer service, technical and quality management and sales management, in industries ranging from packaging to robotics.

In 1987, he was invited to revive the dormant Cambridge Technology Association, which he ran as chief executive. Two years later he was asked to put together a business plan to attract government support for the formation of the Eastern Region Technology Centre, which he ran for three years.

In 1991, he went to the Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street to propose a network of one-stop shops to make access to advice easier for businesses. This idea was later taken up by Michael Heseltine and was launched as Business Link.

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