Lord David Triesman was the guest speaker at this year’s Somerset Chamber of Commerce AGM, sharing insight and anecdotes from his varied career in business, politics and sport with around 60 of Somerset’s business people.
Held at the Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton on Wednesday 21 November, the AGM is a popular event with Chamber members, providing an opportunity to celebrate the year’s successes and network with other business people from across the county.
Lord Triesman gave an animated and entertaining speech, sharing some of the knowledge he has gained through his commercial experience in finance and real estate, his ministerial roles in government and his time as Chairman of the Football Association. From working with world leaders to England football managers, he said his approach has always been to develop positive working relationships, to prepare carefully and explore all the alternatives, and to focus on the positives which are the things that really drive you forward.
He also spoke to delegates about the commercial development of Huntspill Energy Park on the site of the former Royal Ordnance Factory in Bridgwater. Lord Triesman is Executive Director of Salamanca Group, which has acquired the 635 acre site and is developing it as an enterprise zone. The new development will bring exciting business and inward investment opportunities for the county, and he highlighted that some important announcements about the vision are due to be made over the coming weeks.
Stephen Henagulph, the new CEO of Somerset Chamber, updated members on the Chamber’s activities and key successes from the past 12 months. Highlights included welcoming almost 3,000 members to Somerset Chamber events; reaching 4,000 registrations on the Hinkley Supply Chain portal; working closely with Somerset County Council to launch the Somerset Education Business Partnership; and receiving confirmation just last week that the Chamber has been re-accredited to the British Chambers of Commerce following a rigorous assessment process.
He spoke about his first 57 days in the role and his plans to run the Chamber as an efficient, effective business so it can continue to grow, develop and provide support for members and patrons across the county.
Reports from the Chairman and Finance Director were followed by presentations to member companies that had achieved ten years of continual Chamber membership.
A vote was held to appoint two new directors to the Chamber board, with Graeme Crosbie from Level Up (South West) and Suzanne Roper from Somerset County Cricket Club elected for a period of three years.
Summing up the event, Greg Saunders, Chairman of Somerset Chamber, said, “What a fantastic evening. Lord Triesman gave a fascinating talk covering his impressive and varied CV through to the exciting opportunities that will be created by Salamanca Group and the development site at Hunstpilll.
“It was a pleasure to congratulate those organisations that have been members for 10 years and to introduce our new CEO, Stephen Henagulph, to the wider Chamber audience. As always, applications to join the Board became a close fought battle for votes and I am delighted to welcome Graeme Crosbie and Suzanne Roper to the Board. I look forward to working closely with them as we continue the excellent work undertaken by Somerset Chamber of Commerce.”
Tom Marks from Vodafone South West, which sponsored the event, commented, “The Somerset Chamber of Commerce AGM was a great event attended by a warm and friendly group of local business owners and leaders. The evening was expertly hosted by Chamber Chairman Greg Saunders and we were treated to a very engaging talk by Lord Triesman who shared stories and learnings from his impressive career. Vodafone South West was proud to support the AGM and we’re looking forward to next year’s event already.”
Somerset Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based business support organisation that promotes and lobbies for business development in Somerset in order to encourage a vibrant local economy. Accredited to the British Chambers of Commerce, Somerset Chamber ensures that member businesses stay well connected at a local, regional and national level, and that the voice of the Somerset business community is heard at all levels of government.