Vision people

Sedgefield Racecourse has a new general manager in Jill Williamson.

Sedgefield Racecourse has a new general manager in Jill Williamson.

Just a few months after taking over the commercial management of the County Durham track - at the same time as being business development manager at Newcastle Racecourse - she has stepped up to the top job.

Jill, who married earlier this year in the Caribbean, said: "I jumped at the chance to become general manager at a racecourse that I believe has so much potential. I am thoroughly looking forward to developing the business with the strong team that is in place at Sedgefield."

The 36-year-old joined Northern Racing just under four years ago as commercial executive at Newcastle Racecourse.

Previously, she had worked for DFDS Seaways as conference sales co-ordinator on the Newcastle to Amsterdam route.

She became business development manager at Gosforth Park last year.

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TEESSIDE University has strengthened its top team to support the vice-chancellor, Professor Graham Henderson. Professor Cliff Hardcastle, left, has been appointed deputy vice-chancellor (Research and Enterprise), and Professor Cliff Allan, deputy vice-chancellor (Development).

Professor Allan, from Harrogate, was formerly deputy chief executive of the Higher Education Academy, based in York.

Professor Hardcastle, from Blyth, Northumberland, was previously dean of the School of Built and Natural Environment at Glasgow Caledonian University.

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KATY Storie, tighthead prop for the England women's rugby squad and Six Nations Grand Slam champion, on right of picture, has been appointed regional development manager for the North-East Women's Sports Foundation (WSF). Katy will be the driving force behind initiatives to encourage women's participation in sport. Formerly a member of the British weightlifting Team, Katy said: "Every year, women's sport successes and developments are massively improving and, leading up to London 2012, we have a very exciting opportunity for everyone involved in sport to capture the interest and backing of the British public and business community."

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JOHN WRIGHT, a management and training consultant from Teesside, has been elected by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) membership as the new national chairman. Formerly a branch chairman, he is a member of the Northern Business Forum and is involved in the voluntary sector, including being vice chairman of the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust.

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MAGGIE PAVLOU has stepped up to chair culture change programme Aspire as it continues its campaign to counteract the impending skills shortage in the North-East. Maggie is already familiar with the work of Aspire through her role as president of the North-East Chamber of Commerce, which, along with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) North East, co-owns the campaign.

She takes over the rotational post from former CBI chairman Jamie Martin and will retain the position for 12 months before it returns to the CBI.

Aspire is entering the third year of its five-year programme, with the vision by 2010 to make every single employer in the region aware that the solution to the impending skills shortage lies in investing in the region's young people.

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Former Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) North-East chairman, Professor Barry Clarke, has been appointed as a vice president of the institution.

A professor of geotechnical engineering at Newcastle University, he will take up his new post in November.

A member of the institution for more than 20 years, Barry was nominated for the post by the ICE North-East's regional executive and selected for his knowledge, skills and contribution to the organisation.

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The Recruitment and Employment Confederation - the trade association for the UK's £24.8bn private recruitment and employment industry - has appointed two additional directors to serve the North-East.

Ian Storer, right, is managing director of Corepeople Recruitment, a two-branch multi-disciplinary recruitment agency with a head office in Durham that was formed as a result of a de-merger in 1999.

Gary Deans, above - a former accountant - runs Sunderland-based RLS, which supplies temporary labour to logistics and industrial companies.

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A BUSINESS school has launched a new department to focus on engaging with regional employers and international partners. Tracey Wallis Million has been recruited to Durham Business School's International and External Relations department as corporate relations manager.

Tracey has a wealth of experience in corporate relations in the region, having previously worked for Business Link and the North-East Chamber of Commerce

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