Speakers

Cllr Raymond Bremner

Leader of the Council - Highland Council

Raymond Bremner was elected Leader of the Highland Council in May 2022, having first been elected six years ago, and was Leader of the opposition in the last administration. He is also a member of the Convention of the Highlands & Islands and a member of the Scottish Cities Alliance. He originally trained to become a piano technician at college in Edinburgh, but qualified in Business Management after becoming a manager at Caithness Glass. He is also the former General Manager of Geddes Window Systems Ltd and the former Director of Caithness Chamber of Commerce. Raymond then moved into politics just before the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum.
Music is one of his main passions and he is choirmaster and conductor with the Melvich Gaelic Choir. He is also a fluent Gaelic speaker.

Malcolm MacLeod

Depute Chief Executive - The Highland Council

Malcolm is the Interim Depute Chief Executive of The Highland Council, whose current remit covers economic development, transformation, climate change and energy, change management and ICT. Previous roles have included the Executive Chief Officer responsible for the Infrastructure, Environment and Economy Service in Highland Council. His responsibilities covered Roads and Infrastructure, Planning, Environment and Low Carbon Transport and Economic Development and Regeneration.

Recently, he has been responsible for driving forward significant economic development and transformational projects such as Opportunity Cromarty Firth, the £315m Highland City Region Deal (including inverness Castle project), Uig Harbour redevelopment, the Council’s in-house bus operations, the Wick Airport Public Service Obligation and the Levelling Up Fund bids and project delivery. He has also helped established groups such as the Highland Economic Recovery Partnership, the Regional Economic Partnership as well as contributed to other externally facing initiatives such as the Scottish Cities Alliance, the Northern Territory Programme Board, Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership, HITRANS and a national Visitor Management Group.

Morven Fancey

Head of Universities, Skills & Population - Highlands & Islands Enterprise

Morven Fancey is Head of Universities, Skills & Population at Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) - the regional economic development agency for the northern half of Scotland - where she has over 30 years’ experience of economic and regional development. Her current responsibilities include developing the university and skills system in line with regional needs and developing HIE’s approach to addressing depopulation, with a strong emphasis on housing.

Christianna Logan

Director of Customers and Stakeholders - Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Transmission

Christianna is the Director of Customers and Stakeholders at Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Transmission. Christianna and her team work to deliver a net zero future by connecting low carbon generators across the north of Scotland and supporting those already connected. They also work with Stakeholders to deliver best outcomes for customers and society from the energy system. Christianna has spent over fourteen years in the energy industry working on strategy and business development, futures and innovation. She moved into electricity transmission in 2016 to help deliver a smart sustainable system.

Nicola McAlley

News Reporter, Highlands and Island Region - STV

Nicola McAlley is a broadcaster and journalist who has been the Highlands, Islands & Moray reporter for STV News for 24 years, covering an area larger than Belgium. Her remit sees her cover everything from breaking news to sport to the occasional 'And Finally' and highlights include spending a week on uninhabited St Kilda, boarding a nuclear submarine and being dangled from a helicopter onto a moving lifeboat on the Sound of Raasay.

She was recently appointed Chair of the Highlands & Islands Media Awards and also regularly hosts corporate and charity events.

Nicola is an Ambassador for charities Highland Hospice and Keiran's Legacy and also fundraises for Dream, Believe, Achieve Highland, helping fund therapies for children with additional support needs. She also organises events for Step Up For Sam which facilitates treatment for her young nephew who has multiple complex needs.

Frank Elsworth

UK Development Director for Onshore Wind - Vattenfall Wind Power Ltd

Frank started in renewables 18 years ago, working for Nuon and then Vattenfall. Frank has performed in various parts of the business, primarily as a Project Manager. He began his renewables career in Onshore Development, before moving into Offshore Development on the East Anglia zone and then subsequently moving into the Offshore Construction team of the project. From Offshore Construction he moved into Onshore Construction and became the Construction Manager for Pen-y-Cymoedd Wind Farm, the largest wind farm in England and Wales. Following the completion of the project Frank moved into management as Head of Construction Management and in 2019 he completed the circle back into development to head up the Market Development team for Onshore Wind. Frank currently leads a team of project managers working on a broad portfolio of Onshore Wind projects across Scotland, and the rest of the UK, in various stages of development.

Stuart McAuley

Project Director - The West of Orkney Windfarm

Stuart’s role is to lead the contracting and build-out of the proposed £multi-billion West of Orkney offshore wind project which has now submitted its offshore consent applications to Scottish Ministers and its onshore planning application to The Highland Council. With an expected capacity of around 2GW, and first power scheduled for 2029, the project will be capable of powering the equivalent of more than two million homes.

Previously, Stuart was Technical Director Offshore Wind at TotalEnergies, and brings a 25-year track record in the offshore energy sector, having held senior management positions with a number of major operators. Stuart’s responsibilities include working closely with the windfarm’s expert team to crystallise the project design and liaising with the ports, harbours and tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers who will be crucial in bringing this ambitious vision to life.

The West of Orkney Windfarm is targeting 60 percent UK content over its lifetime, with 40 percent in Scotland. This will drive skills development and create opportunities for businesses and organisations in Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney, across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Rachel McEwen

Chief Sustainability Officer - SSE

Rachel joined SSE in 2007 and has been responsible for sustainability, including climate change, since 2013. Rachel is a non-Executive Director of SSEN Transmission, the SSE joint venture that owns and operates the electricity transmission network in the north of Scotland. External to SSE, Rachel pursues a series of social and environmental issues, as a Board member of the Fair Tax Foundation, a Commissioner on the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Commission and Chair of WWF Scotland’s Advisory Council. Prior to working for SSE, Rachel was the Senior Special Adviser to Scotland’s First Minister between 2001 and 2007. She has a first degree in Applied Economics and a Masters in International Political Thought.

Calum MacPherson

Chief Executive Officer - Inverness & Cromarty Firth Green Freeport

Prior to joining the Inverness & Cromarty Firth Green Freeport, Calum was with Robertson Group, laterally in a UK-wide role leading the Capital Project business. He has also previously worked with Highlands & Islands Enterprise in a number of roles including Area Manager for the Moray region where he led a range of business, infrastructure and community development initiatives.

Joanne Allday

Head of Strategy and Business Development - Port of Cromarty Firth

Joanne Allday is Head of Strategy and Business Development at Port of Cromarty Firth, a leading offshore energy port. Joanne led the successful Green Freeport bid for Inverness and the Cromarty Firth. She also sits on the Deep Wind Steering Committee and is a Trustee of Moray Firth Coastal Partnership.

Callum Cruden

Director - RI Cruden Ltd

RI Cruden, established in 2005 has specialised in Renewable energy since 2011, now with a team across Mechanical, Electrical and Renewable Energy Industry.
I am passionate about accelerating the transition to clean and renewable energy sources and training the next generation. As a former apprentice myself, I am extremely proud of the award-winning apprenticeship program we have developed at RI Cruden to help fill our own skills and labour shortage.
I am a Sustainability Ambassador for the Institute of Directors (IOD).

Ian Kinnaird

Scottish Assets & Generation Engineering Director - Drax Hydro

Ian Kinnaird is the Scottish Assets & Generation Engineering Director at Drax Hydro, leading all Drax
Group business activities in Scotland, including the recently announced £80m Cruachan 3&4
upgrade and liaison on the development works associated with Cruachan 2 Pumped Storage
Scheme.
His career has been built on a mixture of key roles within Engineering, Maintenance and Production
which has also given him exposure to all aspects of Health & Safety, Environmental Management
and Compliance. Previous roles in the Energy sector include Engineering Manager for a fleet of
CCGT assets and Production Manager at one of the UK’s largest coal fired power stations, managing
this to closure in 2016.
Ian is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer having graduated in 1996 with a degree in Mechanical
Engineering. In his spare time, Ian enjoys international travel and challenging himself to improve at
golf.

Karel Drastich

Head of Corporate Development - Associated British Ports

Karel is a corporate development executive with over 25 years of international experience across
diverse industries. He has spent the last 15 years in ports and shipping, including APM Terminals and
V.Group, before joining ABP in 2022. At ABP, Karel is responsible for accelerating growth of the
business, with particular emphasis on energy transition. In addition to engagement with Celtic Sea
offshore wind developers and development of commercial strategy for ABP’s Port Talbot floating
offshore wind facility, Karel has led ABP’s entry into Cromarty Firth, the future hub for floating
offshore wind in Scotland.

David Duguid

Operations Director - Aurora Energy Services

David is a Mechanical Engineer, who initially undertook process scopes across new Oil and Gas construction and brownfield projects across Australia and latterly the UKCS.

He transitioned to the offshore wind industry in 2014, initially working on cable route preparation, followed by project management and offshore execution assisting with Foundation Installation for Offshore Wind and Oil & Gas across Europe and the Middle East.

David returned to the Highlands in 2019 to help build the Renewables Service and Training Capability within Aurora.

Derek Cairns

Inward Investment & Growth Manager - Skills Development Scotland

Derek is Growth and Inward Investment Manager at national skills agency Skills Development Scotland, working with employers to provide tailored support around training and funding, workforce development and talent attraction. Derek has supported a broad range of businesses and projects across the region including Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport.

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