People on the move: Mercia Technologies; CIM; Irwin Mitchell; Story Homes; Building Surveyors

Hannah Barnao and Jen Lau

Investment group Mercia Technologies has expanded its marketing team with two new appointments at its Manchester office.

Jen Lau has joined as PR Executive, having previously been a reporter with publications including the Manchester Evening News and held PR and communications roles with the LGBT Foundation and PR Agency One.

Hannah Barnao will manage the group’s events programme. Barnao joins from The Manchester College and previously ran her own events business in China.

Mercia is one of the UK’s major technology investors while its subsidiary Enterprise Ventures is one of the most active providers of debt and equity finance to SMEs.

Katy Horrocks, the group’s Marketing Director, said: “The group is growing rapidly following the recent appointment of Enterprise Ventures as fund manager for two of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Funds in Yorkshire, and Mercia’s success in raising a further £40m investment from the stock market.

“Jen and Hannah will help to raise awareness of our role as a key force in developing high-growth businesses in the UK, and will also provide marketing support to the companies in which we invest.”


The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has appointed Helen Hanratty FCIM and chartered marketer, as its new medical ambassador for the North West.

Hanratty, who is director of marketing at UK Hearing Care, has taken over from Margaret Hyde, following two years’ service.

Diane Earles, network manager for CIM, said: “Although we are all sorry to see Margaret stand down, we are very excited to welcome Helen into the role and I am sure we will continue to develop and grow the Medical Sector in the region with her on board.”

Helen has 25 years’ experience in marketing, both on client and agency side, and was awarded fellowship of CIM in 2016.

She said: “I am really pleased to be appointed to this position. I have developed my professional marketing career with the CIM alongside most of the way and see it as an opportunity for me to give something back to the organisation and to help those who are earlier on in their own marketing careers.

“I am excited to be taking on the regional role and supporting the broader CIM objectives, including enhancing the reputation of marketing as one of the most important business disciplines.”


The Manchester office of national law firm Irwin Mitchell has unveiled Emily Williams, Paul Barnard, Nathaniel Groarke and Glen Walker have been promoted to partner.

Williams has extensive experience in all aspects of planning law with a focus on planning litigation, both instigating and defending.

Barnard  alsohas considerable experience in all aspects of non-contentious real estate providing a full range of advice on property portfolio management to a wide variety of landowners/occupiers.

Family lawyer Groarke joined Irwin Mitchell in 2011 when he came across with Ros Bever to assist her in expanding the Manchester family team.  His practice focuses on high net worth divorce cases and private children work.

Walker of Irwin Mitchell subsidiary Ascent has been promoted to associate director – the partner-level equivalent for non-lawyers at Irwin Mitchell.

He joined Ascent in 2016 having worked in the debt recovery industry for 15 years and currently leads the conduct and risk teams within Ascent looking after regulatory compliance, audit, risk and quality management.

Roy Beckett, regional managing partner of Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office, said: “These promotions are deserved recognition of the talent  each of them bring to our business and the contribution we are sure they will make in continuing to drive forward our Manchester based offering.”

Andrew Tucker, group chief executive at Irwin Mitchell, added: “Promotion to partner level is a huge achievement which demonstrates the incredible hard work and dedication that each of these people has shown across their time at Irwin Mitchell. Each and every one of our new partners thoroughly deserves their promotion and I am proud to congratulate all of them on their success.”


Carlisle-based housebuilder Story Homes has appointed its first land and planning director in the North West as it continues with its expansion in the region.

The housebuilder, which has schemes across the North East, Cumbria and Scotland has promoted David O’Reilly who will head up land acquisition and planning viability in his new role.

Having previously worked as head of land and planning at Story Homes, O’Reilly has more than 10 years’ experience in the housebuilding industry, with particular expertise in identifying new immediate and strategic sites and developing planning applications and strategies.

He said: “This is an extremely exciting time for Story Homes as we continue to expand across the North West and develop our reputation within the region.

“We work extremely hard to create sought-after and desirable developments that fit in with the surrounding area and benefit local residents, and I’m looking forward to heading up that area of the company.

“Our team is very well placed to grow the business in a competitive market, including our recent recruitment of Adam Galleymore as senior land manager. I’m confident that our team’s experience in planning and passion for the business’ future will equip the department with the tools needed to develop Story Homes’ position in the region.”

Story Homes’ current growth, the developer is also recruiting for a new managing director to take the helm of the North West region. Covering Lancashire and Cheshire, the successful candidate will lead a team of more than 70 and work with heads of various departments within the business to compile innovative strategies that will help propel Story Homes into its next chapter.

Story Homes currently has 10 developments in the North West, including Kirkham, Preston and Lancaster, with a number of new developments in the pipeline across the region.

Steve Errington, chief exeuctive at Story Homes, said: “Expanding further into the North West has been part of our ongoing plans for some time, but we’re now stepping it up a gear, so promoting David to land and planning director seemed the natural path to help get us where we want to be.

“He has extensive experience across all departments and the region, specifically in land and planning, so is perfectly placed for this role.”


A multi-disciplinary chartered surveyors’ firm has hired a new senior chartered surveyor as part of its UK expansion plans.

Building Surveyors, which is headquartered in Newcastle and has just opened a new office in Manchester, has taken on Gareth Holmes to help establish the business and manage its client portfolio across the North West and Northern regions.
Holmes will be responsible for providing building consultancy and project services as well as developing and maintaining client relationships.

A member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Holmes’ experience spans both the public and private sectors and he has worked for a university, a local authority and large construction consultancies.

He was also involved in surveying the piers at Blackpool and has worked on an office fit out on a site in a significant and historically sensitive conservation area adjacent the Durham Cathedral & Castle World Heritage Site.

Established in 2003, Building Surveyors offers a range of commercial and residential services such as party wall advice, expert witness, dilapidation advice, project services, and building surveys.

Holmes said: “Building Surveyors Ltd has a fantastic reputation across the industry and they have a professional yet personal approach which really appeals to me.

“To be part of establishing the business across the North West is a brilliant opportunity and I’m looking forward to growing the client portfolio and further cementing its reputation for delivering a high-quality service.”

Chris Jude, managing director at Building Surveyors added: “We’re delighted to welcome Gareth to the team. We’re experiencing a high demand for both our commercial and residential services and he is joining us at an exciting period of growth in our business.”