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Solent LEP Team

Portsmouth City Council are the Accountable Body for the Solent LEP and details of staff salaries are published in line with Portsmouth City Council's policy and can be viewed here. The Scheme of Delegation for the Solent LEP Executive Team can be found here.

Alison Hesselberth

Local Growth Project Manager

Alison joined the Solent LEP in December 2018, having previously worked in the Economic Growth team at Portsmouth City Council where she was the account manager for fast-growing SMEs and delivered a range of business support initiatives. Alison has held a number of economic regeneration and project management roles within local authorities and for both urban and rural regeneration partnerships.  Prior to joining Portsmouth, Alison worked for the North East Rural Growth Network, where she launched and managed a new funding programme to stimulate enterprise development in rural locations across Northumberland and County Durham. Alison has a MBA from Durham University, a Masters in Urban Policy and Regeneration from University of Northumbria and is a Member of the Association for Project Management.

Anne-Marie Mountifield

Chief Executive

Register of Interest Return

Anne-Marie Mountifield's Register of Interest Return is available here.


Anne-Marie Mountifield is the Chief Executive of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership an organisation which works collaboratively with partners across the 12 Solent Local councils, businesses, colleges and the Universities to help shape the region’s future economic growth. Her role is to lead the Solent LEP towards its objective to make Solent a £30 billion economy by 2020, whilst working to deliver an investment plan for the area worth £1.51 billion over the same period.

For more than 20 years of her career, Anne-Marie has held senior executive leadership posts in Further Education, the Civil Service (for the Department of Business Innovation an Skills) and Local government before taking up the role at Solent LEP as Chief Executive in 2012.

Her professional background started in industry, moving on to further education and skills and local government before taking up her current role where she leads on the roll out of the Solent £1bn Capital & Infrastructure programme.

Anne-Marie is a member of the Institute of Directors and is also a member of the Web Science Institute Advisory Board. In 2017 Anne-Marie was also appointed to the Board of Maritime UK which is a body that brings together the UK’s shipping, ports, services, engineering and leisure marine industries to promote the maritime sector.

Becky Lawler

Solent Growth Hub Admin Co-ordinator

Chloe Giles

Enterprise Coordinator

Chloe joined the Solent LEP in November 2018 coming from a background of working with education and employers.  Chloe started her career undertaking an Apprenticeship in Business and has now worked within the careers and education sector for over 7 years.

Chloe will be using her knowledge and experience to engage with a number of schools and colleges across the Solent area to help build relationships between education and employers to support the skills gap and help prepare young people for the world of work.

Chris Heath

Local Growth Project Manager (Capital and Infrastructure)

Chris joined Solent LEP in April 2017 as Programme Officer responsible for European Funding.

Prior to joining the Solent LEP, Chris had worked for a number of years in the Civil Service at the Land Registry. His more recent roles involved working at a local law firm in the Portsmouth area as well as international and local law firms in London. As an Office Manager for a law firm in London Chris took a lead role in business development. Chris's expertise lies in audits and compliance to ensure exacting legislative standards and scheme requirements, for example Law Society Quality Standards, Investors in People, are met whilst identifying areas and actions for improvement to improve business efficiency.

Chris has lived in the Solent area since 1989.

Chris took up the position of Local Growth Project Manager (Capital and Infrastructure) in October 2018

Elisha Martin

Business Support Apprentice

Elisha joined the Solent LEP in November 2017 as a Business Support Assistant and is currently completing her Level 4 Business Administration apprenticeship.

Prior to joining the LEP Team, Elisha completed a Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship with a regional firm of solicitors. Previously Elisha studied at Peter Symonds College in Winchester and achieved 3 A Levels in French, Spanish and Human Biology.

Elisha was born in and has lived in the Portsmouth area all her life.

Jade Fuller

Local Growth Project Manager: Employment and Skills

Jade joined the Solent LEP on secondment from EBP South in December 2015. Working on behalf of The Careers and Enterprise Company as an Enterprise Coordinator she will be recruiting 25 Enterprise Advisers from businesses across the region to work in partnership with local schools to support in enterprise and careers education for young people. 

Drawing on her previous experience within local Education Business Partnerships (EBPs), Jade will continue to work closely with schools and organisations across the Solent area, looking to bridge the skills gaps and promote a sustainable enterprise provision within schools.

Jade became the Local Growth Project Manager Employment and Skills in April 2018.

James Fitzgerald

Corporate Finance Specialist, Portsmouth City Council (Accountable Body to Solent LEP)

Register of Interest

James Fitzgerald's Register of Interest Return can be found here.


James is the nominated Value for Money Officer and lead for Risk Management at Portsmouth City Council in their role as accountable body to the Solent LEP.

James Ford

Business Engagement and Growth Hub Manager

James was appointed to the role of Business Engagement and Growth hub Manager at the Solent LEP in April 2018. Before joining the LEP James was Business development Manager at Southampton Football Club and was responsible for sourcing and activating new partnerships with both small and large employers. James`s Previous roles included Project Manager & Mobilisation Manager and Head of Apprenticeships and Employability, whereby James was responsible for the implementation of new contracts, Business engagement and operational delivery across numerous regions throughout England.


Prior to this James was a professional football player with AFC Bournemouth and Personal trainer, having set up and created his own business.

Jayne Sime

Solent Growth Hub Navigator

Jayne joined the Solent LEP in 2018 after 3 years working with the Solent Growth Hub to assist SME’s in the region to access funding and support.  Previously, Jayne has held business development roles within both the publishing and recruitment industries.

Jayne holds a degree in English Literature and Philosophy from the University of Hertfordshire, and has gained valuable experience creating and running her own business.

Jess Fleming

Office Administrator Apprentice

Jess joined the Solent LEP in November 2017, as Apprentice Office Administrator.

Prior to joining the LEP team, Jess worked in the customer service industry and has 5 years customer service and reception experience.

Jess completed her A-Levels at Farnborough 6th Form College in 2015 and holds qualifications in Business Studies, Sociology and English Literature. Jess has a passion for supporting people, both professionally in her role and personally. Jess previously lived in Surrey and moved to the area in 2014.

Kate Cloud

Programme Manager: Capital and Infrastructure

Kate joined the team as Local Growth Programme Manager: Capital and Infrastructure in September 2018. Kate is seconded from Winchester City Council and led their Economy and Arts team supporting businesses directly as well as providing a voice for businesses within the Council structure. This included managing European funding streams, developing the Council’s economic strategy, and pioneering new approaches for the Council to engage with its business community. Prior to this Kate had spent time in other economic development and regeneration roles in local government.

Kate has a degree in Geography and Rural Planning from the University of Gloucestershire, and is a Member of the Institute of Economic Development.  She has lived in Hampshire for much of her life and enjoys spending leisure time in the Solent region with her young family.

Nicki Craven

Enterprise Coordinator

Nicki joined the Solent LEP in October 2018 bringing 15 years experience of secondary education.

Drawing on her knowledge of enterprise, careers and work related learning Nicki works closely with schools and organisations across the region, supporting schools within the Solent East Careers Hub to meet the Gatsby benchmarks. Through the Enterprise Adviser Network, Nicki builds effective relationships to bridge the skills gap and help transform careers education for young people in the Solent.

Nicki has a BA (Hons) in Leadership, Business and Management from the University of Portsmouth and has lived across the Solent region from the New Forest to East Hants.

Nicola Twiddy

Office Manager and PA

Nicola joined the Solent LEP in February 2013, as Personal Assistant to Anne-Marie Mountifield, Chief Executive of the Solent LEP. In 2015 Nicola became the Solent LEP's Office Manager and PA to Anne-Marie Mountifield.

Prior to joining the LEP team, Nicola held a number of roles in the Financial Service Industry, including supporting a team of Independent Financial Advisers and Regional Managers at The Royal Bank of Scotland for the previous 10 years.  Nicola holds a degree in Business Studies.

Paris Brown

Programme Officer

Paris joined the Solent LEP in January 2018 as a Programme Officer.

Before joining the LEP team, Paris lived in Kent and worked at Swale Borough Council within the Commissioning & Open Spaces Team as an apprentice and then moved on into the Housing team working primarily with homeless 16 & 17 year olds.  Paris moved to Portsmouth and began working for BAE based in Portsmouth Naval Base within a contractor management department.

Paris holds a Level 3 Business Diploma and is currently completing a part-time BSc Hons degree whilst in full-time employment.

Richard Jones

Head of Policy, Communications and Partner Engagement

Richard joined the Solent LEP in February 2011, with the board still in shadow form, and provided executive and communications support to the board in relation to development of all major areas of work. Richard is now Head of Policy, Communications and Partner Engagement at the Solent LEP.

Before joining the LEP team, Richard held a number of communication based roles in a variety of organisations; including Portsmouth City Council and the Labour Party. Richard holds two degrees; a BA in Media and Sociology from the University of London and an MA in Political Communications from Cardiff University. With the exception of time spent away at University, Richard has lived in the Solent region his entire life and is currently based in the Portsmouth area.

Sara Denham

Careers Hub Lead

Sara joined the Solent LEP in October 2018 having worked at the University of Portsmouth for 15 years as a widening participation practitioner and manager.

Drawing on her previous experience of Pre-16 outreach in both further and higher education, Sara will continue to work closely with schools, colleges and businesses to establish the Solent East Careers Hub.

Sara holds two degrees from the University of Portsmouth; a BA (Hons) in Business Studies and an MSc in Educational Leadership and Management. Sara has been a Portsmouth school governor since 2001 and represented the British Councils collaborative Governance project with the Russian Ministry of Education and Science at the 2006 Civil G8 for NGOs.

Steve Futter

Head of Capital and Infrastructure

Steve joined the Solent LEP in April 2013 to lead the development of key LEP funding programmes and set up a brand new Account Management function at the LEP. Since joining, Steve has been busy launching, managing and administering more funding programmes as the LEP continues to secure new contracts for delivery across the region.

Prior to joining the LEP, Steve had gained a wealth of experience of grant and programme management, and strategic and partnership development, in a range of charitable, public and private sector organisations. Most recently, he had spent six years at the Football Foundation developing and managing the Mayor of London's £7.5m investment into community sports venues as part of the Olympic Legacy programme. Steve lives in Southampton with his young family and, after six years commuting to London, is really happy to working back in the region.

Steve became the Head of Capital and Infrastructure in April 2018.

Siobhan Flynn

Local Growth Programme Manager: Employment and Skills

Siobhan joined the Solent LEP in April 2014, as the Local Growth Programme Manager: Employment and Skills. Siobhan's key role is to deliver the Skills Plan, in conjunction with the Strategic Economic Plan and European Investment Strategy. Prior to this role Siobhan has held a number of economic regeneration posts across district, unitary and county councils in the sub-region. Siobhan has significant experience both strategic and operational, of projects and programmes ranging from labour market interventions for unemployed residents to SME support and workforce development. Siobhan also has a background in European funding.

Siobhan has a degree in Geography from Portsmouth and a post-graduate diploma in local and regional economic development from Coventry, Sheffield Hallam and Dundee Universities. Siobhan is also a member of the Institute of Economic Development.

Sophie Taylor

Solent Growth Hub Navigator

Sophie joined the Solent LEP in 2018 after working with the Solent Growth Hub for the last 3 years as a business support navigator assisting businesses in the region with their growth plans.

Sophie started her career at the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce where she completed her Level 2 & 3 Apprenticeship in Business Administration.

Throughout Sophie’s career to date she has gained a diverse insight into business support, administration and marketing and is passionate about helping to drive the local economy forward through supporting local business growth.

Sophie was recognised in The Evening News Apprentice of the Year awards in 2014 for her commitment and academic achievements.

Stuart Baker

Head of Local Growth

Stu was appointed to Head of Local Growth in March 2014. Prior to this, Stu had worked for the Solent LEP since July 2013, seconded from Solent Transport for two days per week, providing the LEP Board with strategic transport advice and support. During that time, Stu also managed Solent Transport (formerly TfSHIoW), which is the strategic transport planning partnership of the four Local Transport Authorities of the Solent area. Before taking up the TfSHIoW role, Stu held transport planning posts at Hampshire County Council and at District Councils, so has worked across the local authority spectrum.

Prior to his career in transport, Stu worked as a secondary and sixth-form teacher of Geography at three schools in England and Wales, as a commercial insurance underwriter at Axa, and as a commercial insurance team leader at Aon. Stu has two degrees, a BA in Geography from the University of Portsmouth and an MSc in Transport Planning and Management from the University of Westminster. He was also one of the first in the country to be awarded Transport Planning Professional (TPP) status, the professional qualification for transport planners.

Stu was born in Southampton and has lived in the area for most of his life.

Vicki Soris

Executive Support Officer

Vicki joined the Solent LEP in May 2017, as Executive Support Officer providing governance support.

Prior to joining the LEP Team, Vicki worked within the public sector facilitating Council and Committee meetings.  Previously, Vicki worked at Portsmouth City Council in a PA role to the Head of Customer, Communities and Engagement.    

Vicki has significant experience working in both the public and private sectors providing PA and Executive support. Vicki holds qualifications in Business Administration.

Vicki has lived in the Solent region all her life and is currently based in the Gosport area.