TEAM

Directors

Our board of directors combines a high level of expertise and vast experience to ensure the effective management and development of the strategic direction of BEC. Together they bring core skills to the BEC board – finance, accountancy, strategic planning, project management, and business management and administration. These skills have been gained from high level posts in a diverse range of sectors – medicine, architecture, public sector, local government, property, further and higher education, telecommunications and renewables. As well as their individual expertise, each brings a passion for and a well-informed interest about renewable energy and sustainability.

Peter Thompson

Peter Thompson

CHAIR AND NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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Helen Martin

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
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Andy O’Brien

CO-FOUNDER AND DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
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Naomi Collins

FINANCE DIRECTOR
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Paul Chandler Clarke

OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
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Bola Adebanjo

NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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Kat Blacklaws

NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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Thayammal Soorianarayanan

NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Jessica Burston

Jessica Burston

NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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David Jenkins

NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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Joanne Ragdale

NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
TEAM

Staff

We are a small, dedicated team at BEC, working closely with our directors, coop members, community partners, community fund recipients, and the wider Bristol community. You can find us at our offices on Brunswick Square or out and about, growing the community-owned energy movement, and helping to build a power station on Bristol’s roofs. We’re always open to working with like-minded people, so get in touch, and join the energy revolution!

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Will Houghton

SENIOR PROJECT DEVELOPER
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Jonquil Panting

DEPUTY OPERATIONS MANAGER
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Marianne Brown

COMMUNICATIONS & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
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Tanne Spielman

CAMPAIGNS MANAGER

Peter Thompson

Chair and Non-Executive Director

Peter brings a wealth of experience from high level appointments in the telecommunications sector to the role of chair of Bristol Energy Cooperative in order to ensure good governance and set its strategic direction.

Such roles include:

  • Chief Executive Director of Degree2 Innovations Limited
  • Chief Executive of U4EA Limited
  • Chair of the 1355 Association for over three years

Currently Peter is a consultant in the telecommunications sector.
From 2012 he has been chief technical officer at Predictable Network Solutions. In this role, he uses his expertise to link the technical and commercial aspects of the company, and provides advice, assistance and technology to the telecommunications industry

Academic background

With an academic background in Mathematics and Physics, including a first from University of Warwick and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Mathematics from University of Cambridge, Peter also successfully completed a qualification in sustainability from the Schumacher Centre.

His interest in renewables carries over to his personal life, and he has heavily insulated his loft and installed solar PV on his roof. But he sees community energy as bringing the significant change the environment needs.

Helen Martin

Chief Executive Officer

Helen joins BEC in 2024 as CEO. She is a huge believer in the power of community energy to tackle the climate crisis head on by harnessing people power to shift how we generate and use energy, while making sure the benefits of that shift stay local. She is excited to join the BEC family with that mission: to help steer BEC into its next phase of growth and continue to scale up its impact for the people of Bristol and the planet.

Helen brings to BEC extensive international experience in infrastructure policy and finance. She has spent more than fifteen years working with governments and multilateral investors to deliver sustainable infrastructure: reforming policies and institutions, developing investment pipelines, and bringing bankable projects to market.

Since returning to the UK with a view to making a difference in her own community, Helen has been leading the staff team of a local Bristol MP. She has a background in strategy consulting in the UK, New Zealand, and the USA and is a graduate in Physics and Economics. Outside the office she enjoys adventuring in the great outdoors and playing with her young kids.

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Andy O’Brien

Co-Founder and Development Director

Andy is a founder director of Bristol Energy Cooperative. He has 15 years’ experience in IT and project management, including work for Triodos Bank and Bristol City Council.

For the past 6 years, in addition to being an active Board member and Company Secretary, he has been the Coop lead for project development and management. During this time he has built considerable expertise in the financial, regulatory and legal aspects of the renewable and community energy sectors, as well as the management of a successful community energy business.

He is PRINCE2 trained, has a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, and a degree in modern languages. He previously taught for 10 years in the secondary and FE sectors, and overseas. He also founded Sustainable Westbury-on-Trym.

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Andy O’Brien

Co-Founder and Development Director

Andy is a founder director of Bristol Energy Cooperative. He has 15 years’ experience in IT and project management, including work for Triodos Bank and Bristol City Council.

For the past 6 years, in addition to being an active Board member and Company Secretary, he has been the Coop lead for project development and management. During this time he has built considerable expertise in the financial, regulatory and legal aspects of the renewable and community energy sectors, as well as the management of a successful community energy business.

He is PRINCE2 trained, has a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, and a degree in modern languages. He previously taught for 10 years in the secondary and FE sectors, and overseas. He also founded Sustainable Westbury-on-Trym.

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Naomi Collins

Finance Director

Naomi joins BEC having trained as an accountant on a finance graduate scheme in the energy sector, and since specialised in energy and environmental investment.  She is passionate about ‘greening’ the finance sector.  In previous roles, she supported policy development to encourage greater private investment into responding to climate change and nature degradation. Outside of work, Naomi is kept busy looking after a toddler and also enjoys art, piano and running. She is an active member of her local church.

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Paul Chandler Clarke

Operations Director

Paul has 20 years of experience working as a renewable energy engineer and manager. He worked as a director of a worker-owned renewable energy consultancy and installation business for the last 15 years and led the installation of solar and battery systems. Paul’s expertise includes system design, modelling, installation, commissioning and maintenance.

Paul has Postgraduate qualifications in Renewable Energy Systems, and Distributed Generation and has contributed to the writing of the Codes Of Practice for PV and Battery systems. Paul’s experience includes energy efficiency and renewable energy feasibility studies for community groups looking at wind, hydro and biomass as well as solar.

As well as working in the industry Paul has been a shareholder of Bristol Energy Co-operative since 2012, has volunteered for organisations such as Greenpeace, and was on the board of Bristol Energy Network.

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Bola Adebanjo

Non-Executive Director

Bola is a transformation subject matter expert with over 20 years of proven track record in delivering complex global transformation programmes and driving improved business performance for multinational companies. She is a trusted advisor offering thought leadership, negotiating change, influencing shared outcomes in leadership teams and acting as a sounding board for executive management and boards.

A proud mum of four children; an ACCA Qualified Chartered Accountant (FCCA), MIT Certified Artificial Intelligence Strategy Professional with an ongoing Doctorate Degree in Data Science with Deep technical background with expertise in delivering strategic priorities, coordinating international teams, ensuring excellent stakeholder management, and leading complex business transformations.

She has successfully led, supported and delivered multiple Mergers; Aqusitions; Separations and business transformation programs across operations in over 70 countries in Europe, Africa, APAC, US, Canada, Australia and Middle East countries.

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Kat Blacklaws

Non-Executive Director

A passion for renewable energy and its social as well as environmental benefits led to Kat completing an MSc in Sustainability at Leeds University, focusing on the community benefits of two wind power projects.

Kat has spent over 5 years working in research roles within energy and environmental consultancy, and also has a passion for waste prevention, volunteering with food-waste prevention charities and writing about the benefits of reusable menstrual products.

Kat joined Bristol Energy Cooperative following a career break spent travelling in Asia, which included completing yoga teacher training in India.

Jessica Burston

Non-Executive Director

Jesscia is an experienced Director, with decades in operational delivery both in the NHS and Legal sectors. Currently she is working with the community care provider in Bristol, Sirona care and health, managing their Estates and Environmental portfolio.  She is also a Trustee for an international development charity SEED, delivering a number of programmes in South Eastern Madagascar.  She is passionate about conservation, and about delivering change to reduce our carbon impact on the planet.  She has four grown up daughters and spends her spare time dog walking, hiking and paddleboarding.  She is delighted to be joining BEC at this time and looking forward to supporting the growth and new projects that are currently planned.

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Thayammal Soorianarayanan

Non-Executive Director

Thayammal is a technology solution architect with an overall 15+ years of experience in the gas, water and electricity industry. She is a strong supporter of building environmentally sustainable solutions, and would love to help in her role towards achieving net zero ambitions. Thayammal encourages and supports women engagement and leadership in STEM. 

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David Jenkins

Non-Executive Director

David is a portfolio manager for the Brunel Pension Partnership, a local government pension pool. He currently manages a number of funds within the pool, notably the Global Sustainable Equity fund. 

He has over 15 years’ experience working within the Investment management industry and is CFA Charterholder. 

He originally graduated university with a degree in Marine Biology and has always had a passion for environmental science. He has a focus on how the investment industry can help support the transition to a greener economy and has recently completed the Certificate in Sustainable Finance from the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, University of Cambridge. 

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Joanne Ragdale

Non-Executive Director

Jo has worked in the Energy Sector in commercial roles for over 25 years. Jo held Director level positions at npower, before moving on as an independent consultant working for both generators and suppliers. In 2015, Jo established The Energy Manager, a consultancy advising businesses on their energy and water consumption, procurement, contract management and sustainability. Jo sold The Energy Manager in March 2022 and is now spending her time between consulting, volunteering and her family.

Jo is passionate about combatting climate change and developing an affordable and sustainable energy system for all. 

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Will Houghton

Senior Project Developer

Will has been designing and managing commercial and domestic-scale renewable energy projects since 2013.  He brings expertise in hydropower, onshore wind and heat pumps, and has a good understanding of a wide range of renewable energy solutions.

His technical skills include feasibility assessments, GIS mapping, engineering design and construction management.  For operational projects, he has carried out system inspections and performance monitoring.

He has led on numerous site-finding, technical sales and business development initiatives, and is experienced with the financial, legal and regulatory aspects of project development.

Will is committed to delivering high-quality projects that are supported by the local community.  He believes that the social change associated with community energy projects is hugely valuable, not only for directly improving people’s lives but also for accelerating our transition to clean energy.

Will first started volunteering with BEC in 2016 and joined as Renewable Energy Project Developer in 2020.

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Jonquil Panting

Deputy Operations Manager

Jonquil has been a BBC Radio 4 producer and drama director for over 25 years, running creative partnerships with organisations from the RSC and Bristol Old Vic, to the Imperial War Museum and the NHS.  As well as continuing to teach and produce, Jonquil is a BEC member who’s delighted to be part of the team.

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Marianne Brown

Communications & Community Engagement Manager

Marianne Brown is an experienced journalist who over the last decade has worked as a bureau chief, freelance radio reporter and as editor of an environmental magazine. She is currently writing a memoir about energy and identity, due to be published in spring 2024 by Borough Press, which explores the story of a large-scale onshore wind project in Shetland. Communicating the urgency of the climate crisis while energising people to take action has never been so important, and Marianne is delighted to be joining the BEC team with this mission.

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Tanne Spielman

Campaigns Manager

Tanne joins BEC from the charity sector, with experience of delivering campaigns and leading communications for a variety of causes. These include fighting for our rights to access the outdoors, campaigning to end mental health stigma and discrimination, and advocating for early intervention policies. She is passionate about powerful storytelling and building movements that contribute to social, political, and environmental change, particularly urgently tackling the climate emergency.

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