Principal named as finalist in IoD Director of the Year Awards

Updated 16/05/2017

Mark Jones, Principal of Gower College Swansea, has been shortlisted in the IoD Wales Director of the Year Awards 2017, which honour many of Wales’ most influential and motivational business leaders.

Over 35 directors have been shortlisted across the award’s ten categories which include three new categories in 2017: Finance Director of the Year; Director in Human Resources and Director in a Start-Up Business.

Mark has been shortlisted in the ‘Director of the Year – Public Sector’ category which is sponsored by Academi Wales.

The other finalists in that category are Debra Barber of Cardiff Airport and Gareth Chapman of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough.

“I am absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for this award,” says Mark. “As one of the largest further education colleges in Wales, Gower College Swansea plays a vital role in supporting people from all walks of life in their learning journeys and, in the process, helps to deliver a skilled workforce for the region.

“This past year has been a particularly challenging one but it’s also been very rewarding. We now have an exciting period of growth ahead as we continue to develop in our core business markets as well as our work based learning and commercial activities. We are also making major improvements to our student environments, with an ambitious Capital Estates strategy leading to enhanced facilities across our campus.

“We are always looking to further raise the profile of the college across the sectors and regions in which we operate, so to have been recognised for this award is yet another positive step in the right direction.”

“Since joining Gower College Swansea in 2013, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside a team of highly skilled, dedicated staff and some exceptionally talented students. Together we have celebrated some key successes both in terms of academic attainment – excellent exam results and progression to the UK’s top universities - and vocational achievement – with our students scooping national awards and winning major skills competitions. To be nominated for an award this prestigious is a testament to the college as a whole – a college I’m very proud to be a part of.”

Finalists represent a range of businesses from all parts of the country and will attend the awards final ceremony on Friday 19 May to celebrate their achievements.

The awards, now in their seventh year, have become an established highlight on the Welsh business calendar and celebrate business achievements and inspirational leaders across Wales while bringing all sectors of the business community together, irrespective of size, geography and longevity.

Winners from the Welsh regional awards - which are once again sponsored by Cardiff Business School - are forwarded for the IoD National awards which culminate in an awards lunch in London in the autumn.

Last year Welsh winners - Elin Wyn, business lecturer and Chair of Chapter; Peter Thomas, MD of Contract Services Group; Jeff Farrar, Chief Constable of Gwent Police and David Gray, Managing Director of TB Davies ladders specialists - represented Wales at the UK finals.

Robert Lloyd Griffiths, Director of Institute of Directors in Wales said: “The profile of these awards continues to exceed expectations as they attract entries from the very best in Wales.  

“There are thousands of businesses across Wales with good stories to tell and which are making a positive impact in their communities and to the wider Wales economy and this year’s shortlist certainly reflects this. Well done to all finalists and thank you to all who entered – competition was more rigorous than ever again this year. The number and quality of entries excel year on year and we are very much looking forward to the event and look forward to seeing you there.

“My thanks go to our principal sponsor - Cardiff Business School - and to all our category sponsors.”

Professor Martin Kitchener, Dean of Cardiff Business School said: “As a School, we are proud to participate in this annual celebration of excellence.

“Each year, I am inspired by the innovation, creativity and ambition of the nominees and eagerly await the awards lunch to recognise the achievements and successes of Welsh businesses.

“Since becoming Dean of Cardiff Business School in October 2012, I have worked to enable and extend our contribution to the local economy, to our students, to the creation and development of knowledge, and to society as a whole.

“Our economic contribution is well documented, with recent analysis showing that we contribute over £200million to the local economy. Our teaching excellence has been recognised with a top 100 placement in the 2016-2017 Times Higher Education (THE) World University rankings, and our research output ranked 6th (out of 101 business schools) in the UK.

“We educate almost 3,000 students annually and produce work-ready, diligent and creative graduates who think differently and strive to provoke positive change to business practice and society. This is in line with our distinctive and progressive Public Value strategy, which focuses on promoting economic and social improvement through our teaching, research and governance.”

ITV Wales is media partner for the prestigious event and Effective Communication is PR partner.

Huw Rossiter, Public Affairs Manager at ITV Cymru Wales said:  "ITV Cymru Wales is delighted to once again be media partner to the IoD Director of the Year Awards. Business coverage is an important part of our news mix and we look forward to another successful event celebrating the very best in Welsh business."

There is no shortlist for the Talent & Innovation Award, which is sponsored by ACCA Cymru Wales and awarded at the discretion of the judging panel and sponsor, who announce a winner at the ceremony. 

The annual Director’s Award and Chairman’s Award will also be announced on the day.

IoD Wales Director of the Year Finalists 2017:

Director of the Year - Corporate Responsibility – sponsored by Welsh Government

Patrick Nash                                                       Connect Assist                                  (Nantgarw, Cardiff)

Stephen Jones                                                  SANS Institute                                   (Swansea)

Marcia Sinfield                                                  Tai Calon Housing                             (Blaina)

Director in a Family Business - Sponsored by Retail Merchandising Services Ltd

Julian Cruttenden                                            Welsh Hills Bakery Ltd                    (Hirwaun)

Bradley Cummings                                          Tiny Rebel Brewery                         (Rogerstone)

Chris Macnamara                                             The Brogue Trader,                         (Cardiff)

Miriam Warner                                                 Miracle Workers Agency               (Abergavenny)

Finance Director of the Year

Steven Ades                                                      Aerfin Ltd                                            (Bedwas, Caerphilly)

Andrew Gibbs                                                   Bridgend College                              (Bridgend)

Mark Burn                                                           Henry Howard Finance PLC          (Newport)

Director of the Year - Human Resources – sponsored by Acorn Executive Search

Maxine Wiseman                                             Trivallis                                 (Pontypridd)

Corinna Lloyd-Jones                                       Menter a Busnes                             (Aberystwyth)

Gaynor Morris-Davies                                    Pobl Group                                         (Newport)

Donna Howells                                                  United Welsh                                    (Caerphilly) 

Director of the Year - Medium/Large Business

Tony Barry                                                          Brakel Airvent                                   (Cardiff)

Scott Liddle                                                         Acorn Recruitment                          (Newport)

Peter Thomas                                                    Contract Services Group               (Port Talbot)

Director of the Year - Public Sector - sponsored by Academi Wales

Debra Barber                                                     Cardiff Airport                                   (Vale of Glamorgan)

Gareth Chapman                                             Merthyr Tydfil County Borough                 (Merthyr)

Mark Jones                                                         Gower College Swansea                               (Swansea)

Director of the Year - Small Business - Sponsored by Darwin Gray

James Smith                                       DevOpGuys,                                                      (Cardiff)

Liam Giles                                            Spindogs                                                              (Cardiff)

Steve Jones                                        Comparison Creator                                       (Cwmbran)

Craig Palfrey                                       Penguin Wealth LLP                                        (Cardiff)

Gareth Williams                                                Tiny Rebel                                                           (Newport)

Director of the Year - Social Enterprise - sponsored by Legal & General

Matthew Cole                                   Gofal Enterprises Limited                             (Bridgend)

Liz Andrews                                        Cancer Research Wales                                 (Cardiff)

Caroline Phipps                                 Drugaid Cymru,                                                 (Newport)

Director of the Year - Start-Up - sponsored by Airvent

Anita Davies                                       Knotweed Support                                         (Llanelli)

Danni Watts-Jones                          DWJ Wealth Management Ltd                   (Baglan, NPT)

Glyn Jenkins                                       Bastleford Engineering and Consultancy (Pembrokeshire)

Young Director of the Year - Sponsored by Tidal Lagoon

Rob Dance                                          RockIT Ltd                                                           (Pencoed, Bridgend)

Emma Hill                                            Pembrokeshire Falconry LTD                      (Llandissilio)

Anthony Bullick                                 Outwrite PR                                                       (Mold)

Richard Howells                                                JCP Solicitors                                                      (Swansea)


Notes to editors

The Institute of Directors (IoD) was founded in 1903 and obtained a Royal Charter in 1906. The IoD is a non-party political organisation with approximately 35,000 members in the United Kingdom and overseas. Membership includes directors from right across the business spectrum – from media to manufacturing, professional services to the public and voluntary sectors. Members include CEOs of large corporations as well as entrepreneurial directors of start-up companies.

The IoD provides an effective voice to represent the interests of its members to key opinion-formers at the highest levels. These include Government ministers and their shadows, parliamentary committee members, senior civil servants and think-tanks. IoD policies and views are actively promoted to the national, regional and trade media. Follow us on Twitter to get the IoD’s reaction on business and public policy issues.

The IoD offers a wide range of business services which include business centre facilities, with 15 UK centres (including three in London, Reading, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast) and one in Paris, conferences, networking events, virtual offices, issues-led guides and literature, as well as free access to business information and advisory services. The IoD places great emphasis on director development and has established a certified qualification for directors – Chartered Director – as well as running specific board and director-level training and individual career mentoring programmes.

For further information, visit our website:

PR: thanks to IoD