Constructing Excellence in the North East (CENE) has announced a plethora of new appointments to its board, further strengthening its position as the voice for construction in the region.

The appointments are, Susan Dawson, senior lecturer, architecture and built environment, at Northumbria University, Lee Francis, CEO, RE:GEN Group, Alex Rayner, senior partner, Sintons LLP and Richard Farrey, director, Silverstone Building Consultancy.

Eve Wilson, associate director, Gleeds, will become an observer on the board as a representative from Generation for Change (G4C) having won the G4C Future Leader Award in 2020.

The new board members come with a variety of skillsets and experience, which will help to add value and drive continuous improvement within the sector.

They join existing board members, Tim Bailey, xsite architecture and chair of CENE, Jeff Alexander, representing Northern Counties Builders Federation, Carol Cairns, strategic planning manager, Northumbrian Water Group, vice chair CENE and chair of the North East Construction Clients Group, David Pearson, managing partner, Elliott Associates, Nik Turner, executive director of communities and customer service, believe Housing and Fred Hood, managing director, McNally and Thompson.

CENE is a business support organisation, dedicated to delivering improved industry performance to achieve a better built environment. It is committed to working with the industry, its customers and the government to make change happen and to deliver prosperity.

Susan Dawson, senior lecturer, architecture and built environment, at Northumbria University, said: “Within my role on the board, I see myself as an interface between education and industry. I value the importance of developing communities of practice across these culturally different sectors for mutual and long-term gain.  The built environment has well documented barriers to innovation and recruitment and the development of an effective infrastructure to addresses these challenges is essential.

“My aim is to help build a sustainable long-term dialogue to help improve the built environment and to align industry and education, by helping the sector get to grips with the people agenda when it comes to attracting, retaining and developing workforce. Degree apprenticeships are a key example of how to combine university study and workplace learning. At Northumbria University we have over 250 students currently studying for a surveying degree apprenticeship and we need to harness this way of learning as a true partnership.  Together we can deliver a new kind of workforce of the future.”

Lee Francis, CEO, RE:GEN Group, said: “I am looking forward to joining the board and want to play my part to support continuous improvement, create networking opportunities and provide a strategic input, whilst also challenging the organisation, by being innovative in the way we address and adopt new ways of working, so that we think differently and can put forward new solutions.

“In a very challenging time, we need to be more collaborative and innovative to address some of the issues our industry faces, including our journey to zero carbon, tackling the climate emergency, fuel poverty and the development of the younger workforce. The CENE board provides an ideal platform to support the great work the team has already done to drive change and improvement.”

Tim Bailey, chair of CENE, said: “The new appointments come at a time of acceleration for the industry, particularly as we race towards carbon neutrality and supercharge our voice in the region as a leader for net zero.

“Each of our new board members is armed with a wealth of experience within their respective fields and we look forward to blending new and experienced ideas as we move forward as a team to the benefit of our members.”